Posts tagged: Public Health

Encouraging walking through changing our surroundings


A study published at the end of July in International Journal of Health Geographics suggests that changes in the built environment can increase how far a person will walk to get somewhere. So why should we be bothered about getting people walking?

Walking is a big part of my life. Not only do I love getting out to the countryside for a good old ramble, I walk as much as I can in the city (which, for me, is usually London). This wasn’t always the case. A few years ago, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to walk to work, for example. I just opted for the quickest journey time – bus, tube, whichever was faster.

That all changed when I …

Read more

Another hurdle for researchers from the EMA?

Image attributed to David Morris

Earlier this week, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) released a draft policy update on access to the data from the EudraVigilance database, which seems to imply they want the right to censor scientific work that uses the data.

Managed by the EMA, EudraVigilance is the European database that holds all information on suspected side effects that have been reported for medicines authorized in Europe. It is one of the greatest resources for adverse drug reaction data, receiving over one million reports of suspected side effects a year, and used in the continuous safety monitoring of medicines in Europe.

Within medical evidence, the importance of analyzing adverse drug reactions cannot be underestimated. New medicines see their way to the public through …

Read more

How do we manage the health impact of the economic crisis in Europe?


An unprecedented economic crisis is affecting Europe, focusing mainly on the southern countries. Improving health and reducing health inequalities in this macro-economic environment is going to be a great challenge, which the new thematic series in International Journal for Equity in Health discusses. In this guest blog, Dr Miguel San Sebastián, one of the series editors, looks at what the first papers can tell us about the challenges faced.

The economic and social crisis that the European population has experienced since 2008 has fuelled interest in the study of its potential health impacts.

With regard to public health, and particularly social epidemiology, the need to deal with the problem of the economic crisis encourages natural experiments. From these it is possible to …

Read more

Real evidence-based medicine: a shift away from GPs’ box-ticking exercise

B0004P 0296

Mr Jones shuffled into the room. “Good morning, Mr Jones, please take a seat.”

Obligingly Mr Smith settled himself in the little wooden armchair beside the desk, as the GP reclaimed his position at the computer.

“So what seems to be the problem” enquired Dr Smith, eyes fixed on the computer screened.

Mr Jones stared down at his lap. His bony hands cradled one another. He slowly rubbed his thumbs in a soothing rhythmic ritual as he hesitated with his response.

“How’s your appetite? Have you had trouble sleeping or difficulty getting to sleep?” The drilling questioning had begun.

“Well, I haven’t been feeling myself lately. It’s hard to describe.” He paused. Shuffled his feet and slumped forward slightly, curling himself “I feel like …

Read more

Football – is it good or bad for your health?

football and advertising

Football might be a sport that gets its players fighting fit, but as it turns out the story isn’t quite so simple for its dedicated fans.

We’ve had the highs and lows, tears and cheers, and now we’re reaching the end of 2014’s World Cup. So I thought this seemed a good opportunity to see what football-related research we’ve published over the years.

Looking back through the articles – some of which refer (wrongly in my British opinion) to ‘soccer’ rather than football – I noticed that there’s an interesting contrast in the research.

On the one hand, we have articles looking at the fitness benefits of football, the fitness levels of both professional players and amateur enthusiasts, and how players can influence …

Read more

Health Services Research conference – Highlights from Day 2


Our Health Services Research conference continues at King’s College London with its second day. What did we learn? And, what were the highlights? Guest bloggers, Jay Shaw and Anita Kothari, round up Day 2 with their key moments.

Three thematic sessions organized the day: Implementation Science, Health Economics, Health Human Resources and Health Systems. Here’s a flavour of how the day unfolded:

Anna Gagliardi, a Scientist with the Toronto General Research Institute, spoke about the problem of translating clinical practice guidelines into practice. In particular, successful implementation in the user setting is difficult to achieve. Since those who produce guidelines may not have the resources to focus on implementation, this task often falls to the user. Tools are …

Read more

Are your sunglasses really protecting your eyes from UV?


Happy sunglasses day!

Not usually the highlight of the year, but sunglasses deserve this day of celebration. Our favourite shades make us instantly photogenic (please see ridiculously cool dog photo on the right) and, most importantly, they protect our eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Sunlight is Earth’s primary source of energy and UV is just one form of this energy. Too much UV exposure has been associated with many long-term eye issues.

The most well known of these is cataracts; over the years, UV rays damage the lens inside the eye, it becomes cloudy as the proteins unravel and tangle. These cloudy lenses have to be removed surgically. Plus we have short term problems like photokeratitus (AKA snow blindness); where …

Read more

Do we need a red card for alcohol advertising in football?

- 1 Comment
Alcohol advertising Warsaw

With the World Cup kicking off today, it’s time to brace ourselves for the highs and lows of a month of football. But disappointment may not be the only danger for fans as the tournament gets underway. In this guest post, Dr Jean Adams, a Senior Lecturer in Public Health at Newcastle University, UK, tells us about her latest research into alcohol advertising in football, published last month in BMC Public Health.

Just like the weather here in the north of England, the summer sport season is hotting up. As I write, it is 19C in Newcastle and Djokovic and Gulbis are playing in the semi-finals of the French Open. Next on court is Andy Murray against Rafa Nadal …

Read more

What is needed to create a tobacco-free world?

Child with cigarette

Abstracts from the latest conference of the International Society for the Prevention of Tobacco Induced Diseases (ISPTID) were published in a supplement for Tobacco Induced Diseases last Friday. The key message of the conference? Education is vital in preventing children and teenagers from becoming the next generation of smokers.

Tobacco is the single most preventable cause of death and disability on the planet, and potentially responsible for more than one billion deaths this century. So say Professor Alan D. Lopez and Sir Richard Peto in their book Tobacco and Public Health: Science and Policy.

At the 11th Annual ISPTID conference, over 250 participants from a variety of disciplines came together to discuss the key issues …

Read more

The devil is in the DEETails


An article published today in the journal Parasites and Vectors reviews the evidence on whether DEET is unsafe. In this guest post Dr James Logan, one of the authors and Senior Lecturer in Medical Entomology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, as well as Director of arctic, tells us about how we assess the dangers of chemicals like DEET, and how their risks should be balanced against their benefits.

As a medical entomologist I get a lot of people, either members of the public or health professionals, asking me about which repellents I recommend for travellers. DEET is always top of the list, particularly when travelling to tropical countries (although there are other repellents, including PMD, Picaradin and …

Read more