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March 2009

The benefits of an open heart

Ami Banerjee
Last edited 10th June 2009
Myocardial infarction (MI) results from a blockage in one or more of the coronary arteries and represents the largest single cause of death worldwide [1]. Even before the introduction of coronary-artery bypass grafting (CABG) in 1968, the focus of treatment and research was opening the blocked artery. Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) was first used in 1977, and includes angioplasty, bare-metal stents and more recently, drug-eluting stents (DES). Heart surgeons and cardiologists have argued for the last 30 years over the best way to open up coronary arteries.

Notes from Tampa

Ami Banerjee
Last edited 10th June 2009
This week, the Florida Gulf coast played host to the world’s largest meeting of chronic disease epidemiologists. This was the 49th meeting of the American Heart Association Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Conference and is combined with the Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism conference over 5 days.

How big is a number?

Carl Heneghan
Last edited 26th May 2009
Over a Coffee in Oxford’s Blackwell’s Bookshop at the weekend I perused a copy of Andrew’ Dilnot’s book on the Tiger that isn’t: seeing through a world of numbers. The section that caught my eye was “How big is a number?”. What Dilnot wants to get over to the reader is an understanding of big numbers that are so large they make you switch off. When he comes across one of these million dollar statements about numbers – or in the case of banks billions if not trillions - he tries to break it down into its constituent components, in order to come up with some overall sense of whether the number is believable and also whether it is likely to make a difference. Or whether it is just trying to impress you with another sensationalist claim.

Conflict as a threat to health

Ami Banerjee
Last edited 10th June 2009
In his first formal Presidential address in 1953, Dwight Eisenhower said, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”

Drop the charge

Ami Banerjee
Last edited 10th June 2009
With NHS prescription charges set to rise to £7.20 next month, the British Medical Association called for their abolition (in line with Wales, Scotland and Ireland), describing the current situation as “outdated, iniquitous and detrimental to the health of many patients by acting as a barrier to their taking necessary medication” [1,2]. A BBC poll last year showed that three quarters of adults in the UK also support an end to the charges in England [3].

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