Monthly newsletter on current information on institutional activities: research and other activities carried on at ISS, conference reports, and publications updatings.

It is in Italian, but all articles have an English abstract.

Issues published before 2020 are available at

Back Volume 34, no. 3, March 2021. Genetic test, a quality. Endocrine disruptors in cosmetics and clothing. Health research in partnership between Italy and Africa: a survey of the RicercaItaliaAfrica Initiative of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità. Let's talk about Smart Working.



Genetic test, a quality test: from guidelines to assessment, the experience of the Italian National Institute of Health

Comparing genetic tests with other laboratory tests reveals how they may be unique since they do not change during a person’s life. Wrong results may have consequences on clinical/therapeutic choices and can also influence parents’ and relatives’ reproductive decisions. It is therefore necessary for any National Health System to ensure the quality of genetic testing. The External Quality Assessment (EQA) is the best system to objectively assess the laboratory performance. Participation is voluntary, but recommended by guidelines and international standards (for example, ISO 15189:2013). The EQA is provided in Italy by the National Centre of Rare Diseases at the Italian National Institute of Health.

Endocrine disruptors in cosmetics and clothing

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that alter the endocrine system, inducing adverse effects on human health and/or the environment. This article provides a review of known (or suspected) endocrine disruptors potentially present in everyday products with particular attention to clothing and cosmetics (personal care products) and the actions taken in the European context to protect human health from possible risks deriving from exposure through these products. In addition to the toxicological properties, risk assessment should consider the levels of exposure, linked to the different uses, as well as the absorption capacity by the skin, taking into account the differences between adults and children. The potential widespread exposure and related health risks motivate the need to replace endocrine disruptors in cosmetics and clothing with substances without important hazardous characteristics.

Health research in partnership between Italy and Africa: a survey of the RicercaItaliaAfrica Initiative of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità

The Italian National Institute of Health launched the RicercaItaliaAfrica Initiative to help create a sustainable network of health research conducted in collaboration between Italian and African researchers in the frame of a broader equity partnership between Italy/Europe and the continent on the other side of the Mediterranean. The first step of this initiative was to conduct a national survey on the ongoing projects, the results of which are summarized in this article and published in full in the document The italian health research in partnership with Africa: a survey on the ongoing projects accessible at the link The RicercaItaliaAfrica 2020 survey reveals that health research in collaboration with Africa is an important activity conducted in various public and private research bodies, foundations and by some civil society organizations. This analysis, the first conducted in the field, captures both the strengths - the quality of the research, the breadth of the themes and the number of African institutions and countries involved - as well as the critical issues - lack of coordination, marginality and discontinuity of the public funding, poor communication with and between national agencies - of Italy-Africa health research.

Let's talk about Smart Working during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown have forced people into a generalized and sudden shift to remote work (in Italian, named smart working). Before the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, remote work was considered to be one of the best tools for achieving a balance between work and life but during pandemic lockdown it has proved to be more effective for male, rather than for female workers. Women, who are often heavily burdened in terms of family care and domestic work, have witnessed an increase in their workload as most of the additional family responsibilities have fallen on them (e.g. having to support at-home learning of their children due to the closure of schools). To discuss both challenges and opportunities of remote work, the Unified Committee of Guarantees for equal opportunities, workers’ valorization and against discriminations (CUG) of Italian National Institute of Health (ISS) organized a dedicated webinar on December 17, 2020.

Published 20/04/2021