Dianthus Medical Blog Archive

Index of Healthcare

Do 1 in 3 women really have an abortion?

My attention was recently attracted by an advert for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service in which they claimed that 1 in 3 women will have an abortion.

2014-05-24 15.26.10

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Care for the elderly

The top story I woke up to on the radio this morning was of allegations of mistreatment of elderly patients at a care home. This seems to be part of a disturbing pattern: mistreatment of the elderly (and other vulnerable people) in care homes is far more common than it should be.

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I recently recorded a piece for the Pod Delusion on care.data. If you like listening to podcasts, then you can find it here. The Pod Delusion is well worth a listen: apart from my own occasional contributions, it also unfailingly has a great deal of other interesting material.

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Sponsored dietary advice in the NHS

Someone I know has recently had an NHS health check. The results, I'm happy to say, were largely positive, but one exception was a finding of slightly raised cholesterol. This, it was suggested, could be managed by diet, and given the low overall cardiovascular risk, there was no need to prescribe statins.

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New collaboration for real world evidence

Real World Evidence (RWE) is an emerging powerful trend that has the potential to redefine the basis of value-based pricing, competition and access in the near future. In response to the growing demand, we have joined forces with Dendrite Clinical Systems to offer an innovative service to pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

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Lucentis, Avastin, and the role of licensing

Two drugs for treating age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a disease that can lead to important loss of vision, have recently been much in the news. The drugs are Lucentis (generic name ranibizumab), which is expensive and is licensed for the treatment of AMD, and Avastin (generic name bevacizumab), which is much cheaper, but not licensed for the treatment of AMD.

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Epigenetics for breast cancer screening

A few weeks ago I was at a cancer research seminar, and was chatting to a consultant oncologist over coffee. He explained to me his view that the important advances in cancer over the next decade or so are likely to be in better diagnosis, rather than better treatment.

I don't know if he's right, of course, but what he said certainly makes sense. Cancer is incredibly difficult to treat once it's at an advanced stage, and the sad fact is that despite all the progress we've made in cancer treatment over recent decades, patients with metastatic cancer almost invariably die of their disease, despite the best efforts of the medical profession. However, if caught early, many cancers are treatable. It's therefore logical to think that if we can diagnose cancer more reliably at earlier stages, it's going to result in more people spared a horrible death from cancer than any advances in treatment that we might plausibly make in the next decade or so could do.

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Externalities in vaccination

As you may or may not know, I'm studying economics with the Open University in my spare time. It's a fascinating subject, and I'm enjoying it very much. The latest thing I've been reading about as part of the course is why free market mechanisms generally fail in healthcare, and one of the reasons is an interesting little economic feature of vaccinations that's never occurred to me before. So in case it hadn't occurred to you either, I thought I'd share it with you.

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Why the NHS reforms are like dangerous pseudoscience

This is supposed to be a blog about medical stuff, not about politics, so I hope you'll forgive me writing about the Health and Social Care Bill that's currently going through the UK Parliament on two posts in a row. The bill, if passed, will have a huge impact on the way medicine is practiced here in the UK.

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NHS reforms and Andrew Lansley's conflict of interest

The Health and Social Care Bill, which, if passed, will introduce widespread changes to the way the NHS is run, has been much in the news lately. It's probably fair to say that it's controversial. Doctors don't want it. Nurses don't want it. Given that doctors and nurses between them know quite a bit about how the NHS works, that really ought to be enough to give politicians pause for thought.

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