For some time, medical experts have relied on a commonly used marker to treat a patient’s risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke. New research recently published in the British Medical Journal by The George Institute for Global Health has clearly shown that this widely used treatment in people with kidney disease is not effective.
Older people comprise a large sector of the driving population and increase by 25% each decade. By 2030, there will be more than half a million drivers, aged 65 years and older, on New South Wales roads. For many older members of the community, driving a car means independence and freedom, particularly in areas that are under-resourced by public transport.
From July this year all Australians will be able to register to have their personal health records made accessible online to the health care professionals they authorise. The promise is that for the first time, Australians will have easy access to information about their medical history, including medications, test results and allergies, and so will their health care providers.
Even patients who undergo non-cardiac surgery are at risk of cardiovascular complications including death. Simply the stress, inflammation and clotting from any number of surgeries could predispose the heart to injury. Across the world, more than one million adults die within months of non-cardiac surgery each year.
The Global Alliance for Chronic Disease (GACD) has announced major funding towards improving heart disease in the Pacific Islands. Over AU$1million dollars will be dedicated towards comprehensive salt reduction programmes in Fiji and Samoa, based on the success of the George Institute’s salt reduction workin Australia and internationally.
Much is made in the Western media of the growing global political and economic importance of China and India. There is also much commentary about personal rights, financial inequalities and social dissidence.
Last year SMS traffic globally was expected to break eight trillion. It is a highly accessible communications channel and one that the George Institute for Global Health has harnessed to test whether simple reminders sent via mobile phone text message can reduce cardiovascular risk.
Vlado Perkovic asks: is appropriate for us to spend several hundred million dollars discovering new treatments, but then only invest a few million on testing whether these treatments work at all or are better than other alternatives?