MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Death from cardiac disease is a slowly narrowing risk for European patients, but regional disparities are raising eyebrows.
Researchers at Oxford looked at trends in coronary disease related deaths from 1980 to 2008 and found a steady decrease in death rates in both sexes and all age groups, with the biggest dips in countries such as Denmark, Malta, the Netherlands, Sweden and the U.K.
Exceptions to the trend were Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Romania, which actually saw a increase in mortality in men.
"Overall, across the E.U., rates of death from coronary heart disease have continued to fall in most age groups in most countries. There are some exceptions, however, and there remain wide disparities across Europe in both the absolute rates of death from heart disease and the rates of improvement," said 1st author of the study Dr Melanie Nichols.
Researchers were careful not to draw any concrete conclusions correlating the drop to obesity and smoking rates, and even pointed out that some discrepancies might be explained by the way countries code data.
Hypertension on the rise in sub-Saharan Africa
Cardiac disease was responsible for about half of all the deaths recorded at a leading Tanzanian hospital during a 3-year analysis,
suggesting that hypertension is a growing health issue in sub-Saharan Africa.
A Weill Cornell Medical College review found that hypertension-related deaths were 2nd only to HIV, a trend the study authors attribute to rapid urbanization and a possible predisposition to hypertension and stroke in Africa.
White House brings in celebrities to "sell" healthcare reform
The White House is
reaching out to Hollywood stars and sports figures to promote healthcare reform, according to Hollywood insiders. The administration is particularly interested in targeting young men, a key demographic that must to buy into the insurance marketplace exchanges for the new policies to work.
Trevor Neilson, who worked under Clinton and who is now a political advisor for celebrities, told reporters that some of his Hollywood clients are interested in selling reform. In addition, Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is reaching out to the NFL and other sports organizations for possible partnerships.
E-medical records blamed in patient deaths
Scot Silverstein is suing a Pennsylvania hospital over electronic medical record errors he said resulted in his mother’s death. His wrongful-death lawsuit claims that his mother’s ultimate hemorrhage and stroke were caused when her medication was deleted from her electronic file, a mistake that would not have happened with paper records.
The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority cited twice as many medical errors from 2010 to 2011 due to electronic record problems.