• HELP FROM HEORO: HOW TO FIND INDIRECT COSTS OF CANCER CARE IN CHINA | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by amartin on June 29, 2016

    At ISPOR DC, we were asked whether we had any cost and resource use studies from China. Here's how to use heoro.com to find studies reporting indirect costs associated with cancer in China.

    There is a growing need for economic modellers to find dat... (Read more)

  • COST-UTILITY MODELS IN CANCER - GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on June 28, 2016

    The heoro.com database can be used to rapidly identify economic models by geographical location. Here, we show the number of studies reporting cost-utility models in cancer by key jurisdictions, and discuss how well the focus of health economic re... (Read more)

  • PRO INSTRUMENTS ADDED TO THE HEORO.COM DATABASE IN JUNE 2016 | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on June 14, 2016

    The new heoro.com database launched successfully at ISPOR DC with an ontology of the 4,250 PRO tools identified from more than 22,200 PRO study abstracts. In the two weeks since then, we've added another 18 instruments to the ontology.

     
    We...
    (Read more)

  • HELP FROM HEORO.COM: HOW TO FIND ECONOMIC MODELS FOR BARIATRIC SURGERY | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by amartin on June 14, 2016

    At ISPOR DC, we were asked how to find cost-effectiveness studies of bariatric surgery. Here's how to use heoro.com to answer that question.

    Several of the people we spoke to at the recent ISPOR congress were interested in finding economic modellin... (Read more)

  • HEORO.COM HEAD-TO-HEAD: HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO STANDARD SYSTEMATIC REVIEWS? | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on May 30, 2016

    Heoro.com can save time and money in finding studies on the humanistic and economic burden of disease and economic models of interventions. A frequent question we were asked at ISPOR DC was how well heoro.com compares to systematic reviews conduct... (Read more)

  • HEORO.COM HELP: HAS EORTC BEEN MAPPED TO UTILITY VALUES? | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by amartin on May 30, 2016

    At ISPOR DC, we were asked "Has the EORTC tool been mapped to utility values in cancer?" Here's how to use heoro.com to answer that question.

    One of the many questions we were asked at ISPOR DC last week was "Can the database help me find out wheth... (Read more)

  • HEORO.COM PRO INSTRUMENT ONTOLOGY HAS MORE THAN 4,200 ITEMS | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by amartin on May 30, 2016

    The new heoro.com database launched successfully at ISPOR DC last week. We've developed an ontology of the 4,250 PRO tools we identified from more than 22,200 PRO study abstracts in the database.

    Creating a new ontology is time-consuming work. We b... (Read more)

  • M-HEALTH MONITOR: EVIDENCE ON EFFECTS OF MOBILE HEALTH TECHNOLOGY, FEBRUARY 2016 | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on March 4, 2016

    Here, we summarise the studies on the use of mobile health technology (m-Health) that were indexed in PubMed in February 2016.

    Mobile health technology includes the use of smartphones, telemonitoring, mobile apps and similar online tools and device... (Read more)

  • SMOKING RATES IN GREAT BRITAIN CONTINUE TO FALL | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on Feb. 22, 2016

    Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics have shown that smoking rates have continued to fall in Great Britain, and smokers now consume fewer cigarettes per day.

    In the mid-1970s, just under half of British adults smoked, and mean con... (Read more)

  • MHEALTH MONITOR: EVIDENCE ON EFFECTS OF MOBILE HEALTH TECHNOLOGY, JANUARY 2016 | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on Feb. 3, 2016

    Here, we summarise the studies on the use of mobile health technology (m-Health) that were indexed in PubMed in January 2016.

    Mobile health technology includes the use of smartphones, telemonitoring, mobile apps and similar online tools and devices... (Read more)

  • POW: INCREASED RISK OF INFLUENZA-RELATED RESPIRATORY MORTALITY WITH OBESITY | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Jan. 29, 2016

    A recently published study has found that the risk of respiratory mortality is up to 35% higher in elderly Chinese adults who are overweight or obese during seasonal influenza outbreaks, compared with adults with a normal BMI.

    In 1998, a cohort of ... (Read more)

  • US CANCER SURVIVAL TRENDS: COLOUR MATTERS | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on Jan. 25, 2016

    A recent analysis of the trends in 5-year cancer relative survival in the United States since 1975 shows how mortality has fallen for many types of cancer. However, relative survival continues to be substantially higher in white than black people.... (Read more)

  • MHEALTH MONITOR: EVIDENCE ON EFFECTS OF MOBILE HEALTH TECHNOLOGY, DECEMBER 2015 | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on Jan. 20, 2016

    Here, we summarise the studies on the use of mobile health technology (m-Health) that were indexed in PubMed in December 2015.

    Mobile health technology includes the use of smartphones, telemonitoring, mobile apps and similar online tools and device... (Read more)

  • MORTALITY IN 2015: A YEAR OF TWO HALVES | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on Jan. 5, 2016

    2015 started with stories of overcrowded hospitals and unacceptable delays for treatment in the acutely ill. Here, we review how mortality changed across European populations over the year.

    When it comes to mortality, there are few effective bounda... (Read more)

  • ANTIHYPERTENSIVES FOR ALL? | Time to read: 15 minutes

    Published by amartin on Dec. 24, 2015

    A new study has confirmed what we already know - lowering blood pressure reduces the risk of death, with the greatest benefit seen in those at higher risk to begin with. Does this mean that everyone should be taking antihypertensives?

    It is no secr... (Read more)

  • M-HEALTH MONITOR: EVIDENCE ON EFFECTS OF MOBILE HEALTH TECHNOLOGY, NOVEMBER 2015 | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on Dec. 3, 2015

    Here, we summarise the studies on the use of mobile health technology (m-Health) that were indexed in PubMed in November 2015.

    Mobile health technology includes the use of smartphones, telemonitoring, mobile apps and similar online tools and device... (Read more)

  • WEEKEND WARNING: IS MORTALITY REALLY HIGHER FOR PEOPLE ADMITTED TO HOSPITAL OUT OF HOURS? | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Nov. 25, 2015

    The possibility of worse outcomes for people admitted to hospital at weekends and out of hours has triggered calls to rearrange health service staffing levels in the UK. Here, we review the evidence on how mortality rates vary by time of admission... (Read more)

  • THE SEVENTH LONGEVITY BULLETIN FROM THE INSTITUTE AND FACULTY OF ACTUARIES | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Nov. 25, 2015

    About £85 trillion around the World is dedicated to the costs of retirement, and £2 trillion of that is for the UK alone. Little wonder then that a mere one year change in life expectancy will cost about £60 billion, underlining ... (Read more)

  • HEORO.COM: SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH OF THE BETA VERSION AT ISPOR | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by amartin on Nov. 16, 2015

    Crystallise's new HEOR database heoro.com, a collection of pre-screened and indexed studies on the humanistic and economic burden of disease, launched very successfully for beta testing at the ISPOR congress last week.

    The heoro.com(external link) datab... (Read more)

  • PRIVATE ACCESS TO PUBLIC DATA: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by amartin on Nov. 16, 2015

    The public sector is unable to meet the demands of an ageing population for retirement funding and suitable housing, but the private sector faces barriers to accessing national data that is needed to develop and price necessary products.

    An ageing ... (Read more)

  • THE ECONOMIC BURDEN IN MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS: WHAT WAS THE FOCUS OF RESEARCH IN 2014? | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Nov. 4, 2015

    Crystallise's new heoro.com database is a collection of studies relevant to health economics and outcomes research. Here, we summarise studies that were published in 2014 that reported on costs or resource use in mental health disorders.

    Image is a... (Read more)

  • HUMANISTIC BURDEN IN DEMENTIA: HOW WAS QUALITY OF LIFE MEASURED IN STUDIES PUBLISHED IN 2014? | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Nov. 4, 2015

    Crystallise's new heoro.com database is a collection of studies relevant to health economics and outcomes research. Here, we summarise studies that were published in 2014 that measured quality of life and other patient-reported outcomes in dementi... (Read more)

  • THE CANCERS THAT KEEP ON TAKING: WHEN "ALIVE AT 5 YEARS" IS NOT THE SAME AS "CURED" | Time to read: 15 minutes

    Published by amartin on Nov. 4, 2015

    Traditionally, patients who survive 5 years from diagnosis of cancer are considered to be cured. Yet international data on relative survival shows that, for a minority of types of cancer, their negative impact on survival continues for much longer... (Read more)

  • M-HEALTH MONITOR: EVIDENCE ON EFFECTS OF MOBILE HEALTH TECHNOLOGY, SEPTEMBER 2015 | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on Oct. 30, 2015

    Here, we summarise the studies on the use of mobile health technology (m-Health) that were indexed in PubMed in September 2015.

    Mobile health technology includes the use of smartphones, telemonitoring, mobile apps and similar online tools and devic... (Read more)

  • M-HEALTH MONITOR: EVIDENCE ON EFFECTS OF MOBILE HEALTH TECHNOLOGY, OCTOBER 2015 | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on Oct. 28, 2015

    Here, we summarise the studies on the use of mobile health technology (m-Health) that were indexed in PubMed in October 2015.

    Mobile health technology includes the use of smartphones, telemonitoring, mobile apps and similar online tools and devices... (Read more)

  • 85-YEAR-OLD MEN ABLE TO DO HOUSE WORK FOR LONGER THAN 85-YEAR-OLD WOMEN | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Oct. 22, 2015

    You wouldn't think that the ability for 85-year-old men to be able to do housework for longer in life than women of the same age was a subject of discussion at the Autumn Lecture 2014 hosted by the Institute of Actuaries in Scotland recently. But ... (Read more)

  • THEMES FROM THE PUNTER SOUTHALL PENSIONS CONFERENCE 2015: IT'S GOING TO GET TOUGH | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Oct. 2, 2015

    The Punter Southall Pensions Conference 2015 this week provided an excellent overview of the financial status of pensioners and how this is likely to change. As future generations face longer retirements with less income, the message that emerged ... (Read more)

  • UNEMPLOYMENT - HOW'S THAT WORKING OUT FOR EUROPE? | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on Sept. 28, 2015

    It's no secret that unemployment is associated with worse health and higher mortality than having well-paid employment. New data from the WHO allows us to explore the relationship between unemployment levels and various indices of health across th... (Read more)

  • DROWNING YOUR SORROWS? THE LINK BETWEEN ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION AND VIOLENT DEATH IN EUROPE | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Sept. 24, 2015

    The World Health Organization has recently published its report on health in Europe in 2015. The data show some interesting associations between mean alcohol consumption and rates of suicide and homicide.

    The latest edition of the World Health Orga... (Read more)

  • COLLAGEN PATCH MAY BE ABLE TO MEND A BROKEN HEART | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Sept. 21, 2015

    Cardiovascular mortality has been falling in most developed countries, but remains a major cause of death. Now, a new collagen patch that helps damaged heart muscle to regenerate offers hope to survivors of heart attacks.

    Changes in lifestyle facto... (Read more)

  • CLASH OF THE TWO TONS: IS OBESITY REALLY WORSE FOR LONGEVITY THAN SMOKING? | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Sept. 15, 2015

    We all know that smoking and obesity are bad for us. But a new study assessing the global burden of disease has repeated the recent message that obesity is killing more of us than smoking. Is this really true?

    The Global Burden of Disease project, ... (Read more)

  • POW: ALZHEIMER'S DEMENTIA: ANOTHER SLOW INFECTION OF THE BRAIN? | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Sept. 10, 2015

    A new study has found traces of Alzheimer's disease-like amyloid protein in the brains of eight adults who died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). Does this mean Alzheimer's disease might be an infectious disease, and what does it mean for future... (Read more)

  • POW: ASPIRIN AND CANCER RISK - WHAT'S THE EVIDENCE? | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on Aug. 31, 2015

    Aspirin is well established as an effective treatment to reduce cardiovascular events and mortality. But is there enough evidence yet to show whether it reduces the risk of developing, and dying of, certain cancers?

    Aspirin has been used for centur... (Read more)

  • PITY THE POOR PENSIONER | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Aug. 31, 2015

    Pensioners - there are more of them than ever, and they are living longer than before. Great news for individuals and their families - but what does it mean for pensions and overall financial burden?

    It's no secret that the proportion of developed ... (Read more)

  • M-HEALTH MONITOR: EVIDENCE ON EFFECTS OF MOBILE HEALTH TECHNOLOGY, AUGUST 2015 | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on Aug. 30, 2015

    Here, we summarise the studies on the use of mobile health technology (m-Health) that were indexed in PubMed in August 2015.

    Mobile health technology includes the use of smartphones, telemonitoring, mobile apps and similar online tools and devices ... (Read more)

  • DISEASE PROGRESSION IN DEMENTIA: QUANTIFYING THE PROBLEM | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Aug. 27, 2015

    There is understandable concern about the growing burden of dementia in our ageing populations, and the ability of already overstretched health and social care services to cope with future demand. Here, we summarise evidence on how fast the diseas... (Read more)

  • HOW CLOSE ARE WE TO A UNIVERSAL FLU VACCINE? | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Aug. 26, 2015

    Two groups of researchers have recently published results of trials of a universal influenza vaccine in animals, raising hopes that the annual race to develop relevant vaccines may soon be over. What does this mean for the risk of a new pandemic?

    W... (Read more)

  • DALYING WITH DISEASE: TRENDS IN DISABILITY-ADJUSTED LIFE-YEARS IN EUROPE | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Aug. 25, 2015

    Mortality is falling and more adults across the developed world are living to an old age. But is this reflecting an increase in health, or just expanding the number of years spent suffering from disease?

    We have repeatedly blogged about improvement... (Read more)

  • MEDICAL STAFFING DENSITY AND LIFE EXPECTANCY: HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Aug. 24, 2015

    In the face of debate in the UK about safe staffing levels in hospitals, data from the World Health Organization on international levels of physician and nursing densities suggests an upper limit beyond which there are no further gains in life exp... (Read more)

  • NORTH-SOUTH DIVIDE PERSISTS FOR 2014 ENGLAND AND WALES MORTALITY | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Aug. 12, 2015

    Mortality data just released for 2014 in England and Wales shows that the North-South divide shows no sighn of abating. Mortality rates were typically below 100 in the South and East, and above 100 in the North and West of the country.

    Mortality da... (Read more)

  • PANDEMICS: WHERE ARE THE RISKS? ARE WE PREPARED? | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Aug. 6, 2015

    With Ebola still killing people in West Africa and a Manchester hospital A&E department briefly closed because of two possible MERS cases, the threat of a pandemic that could decimate the population and devastate the economy remains high. A re... (Read more)

  • SUMMERTIME: WHEN LIVING IS EASY | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by amartin on July 29, 2015

    Early August is a time when UK junior doctors traditionally change jobs and are on a steep learning curve regarding their new hospital's procedures and the management of different diseases. But fear not - data shows that, in England, there are act... (Read more)

  • M-HEALTH MONITOR: EVIDENCE ON EFFECTS OF MOBILE HEALTH TECHNOLOGY, JULY 2015 | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on July 28, 2015

    Mobile health technology (m-Health) is being developed and promoted as a way of improving health care and reducing costs. But evidence of clinical benefit is still sparse. Here, we summarise the evidence newly indexed in PubMed on this topic.

    Mobil... (Read more)

  • THE ACTUARY WEBINAR: WHAT WILL CLIMATE CHANGE MEAN FOR PENSION FUNDS? | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on July 28, 2015

    Attendees at a webinar arranged by The Actuary learned about the possible impact climate change may have for pension fund and other investments. The question remains: are we sleepwalking into disaster?

    Our economy depends substantially on... (Read more)

  • PRESCRIBING TRENDS FOR ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS IN ENGLAND 2010-14 | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on July 21, 2015

    The latest data on prescriptions dispensed in the community in England have recently been published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre. Here, we look at recent trends in prescribing of antimicrobial agents.

    Antibiotic resistance is an... (Read more)

  • CANCER COUNTDOWN: WILL SHORTENING THE TIME FOR TESTS TO BE COMPLETED REDUCE MORTALITY FROM CANCER? | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on July 20, 2015

    The new Cancer Strategy for England has recommended that the time between a patient being referred for testing and receiving either a diagnosis of cancer, or the all-clear, should be no more than four weeks. Here, we discuss what impact achieving ... (Read more)

  • PRESCRIBING TRENDS FOR CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES: ENGLAND 2010-14 | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on July 15, 2015

    The latest data on prescriptions dispensed in the community in England have recently been published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre. Here, we look at recent trends in prescribing of drugs for cardiovascular diseases, and what this... (Read more)

  • POW: MOBILE HEALTH: THE EVIDENCE BEHIND THE MESSAGES | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on July 13, 2015

    Mobile health is being increasingly promoted as a way of engaging with and educating patients to improve health outcomes. In this Paper of the Week, we report the findings of a literature review on the effectiveness of mobile text messaging on chr... (Read more)

  • QUALITY OF HEALTHCARE: DO WE GET WHAT WE PAY FOR? | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on July 6, 2015

    A new report by the Nuffield Trust has compared the health performance of the UK with other OECD countries, and found that, for several metrics, the NHS ranks relatively low. Yet relative expenditure on healthcare varies widely across these jurisd... (Read more)

  • OF FRUIT FLIES, MICE AND MEN: WHY MIRACLE DRUGS IN ANIMALS MAY NOT EXTEND LIFESPAN IN HUMANS | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on June 30, 2015

    Every week, there are stories in the media about new treatments that prolong lifespan in animals, packed with assumptions about what such miracle cures are likely to mean for mortality and lifespan in humans. Here, we discuss how far it is possibl... (Read more)

  • WELCOMING WIMBLEDON: WHY TENNIS, STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM MAY BE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on June 29, 2015

    To welcome the start of the Wimbledon fortnight, we reviewed the evidence on the health benefits (or, at least, the lack of harm) associated with playing tennis and the spectator sport of eating strawberries and cream.

    Tennis may be the sport of ki... (Read more)

  • NICE NEWS FOR CANCER PATIENTS, OR JUST REARRANGING THE DECKCHAIRS ON THE SS NHS? | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on June 23, 2015

    The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has published updated guidelines on the recognition and referral of suspected cancer in England and Wales, with the hope that earlier diagnosis will lead to better survival. One of the recommen... (Read more)

  • POW: LOWER RISKS OF HEART DISEASE AND STROKE WITH REGULAR CHOCOLATE CONSUMPTION | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on June 16, 2015

    Good news for chocaholics: a large study and systematic review finds a significantly lower risk of heart disease and stroke in people who regularly eat chocolate than in those who eat none. Is this justification for a marathon session, or should t... (Read more)

  • MEETING REPORT: SIAS DISCUSSES THE NATURE OF LONGEVITY RISK | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on June 12, 2015

    Sacha Dhamani presented his paper on the nature of longevity risk at the Staple Inn Actuarial Society meeting on 9th June 2015. Here, we comment on his thought-provoking framework.

    With unprecedented improvements in mortality in recent decades, it ... (Read more)

  • MORTALITY IMPROVEMENT WITH STATINS: EVIDENCE OVERVIEW | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on June 8, 2015

    Statins have been widely used to reduce cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular events and have contributed to the substantial improvement in mortality from cardiovascular disease in the last decade or two. But evidence is growing that they may red... (Read more)

  • POW: EXCESS COSTS PER PATIENT IN NEW ZEALAND ARE 12 TIMES HIGHER FOR LEUKAEMIA THAN MELANOMA | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on June 4, 2015

    A new study of direct healthcare costs per patient with cancer in New Zealand has found that excess costs are more than twelve times higher for patients with leukaemia or cancer of bone and connective tissue than they are for patients with maligna... (Read more)

  • POW: DUAL-APPROACH IMMUNOTHERAPY SHOWS PROMISE IN MALIGNANT MELANOMA | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on June 1, 2015

    Malignant melanoma killed 2,100 people in England and Wales in 2013, 11% of whom were under 50 years old. If diagnosed early, it is curable with surgery, but advanced disease has been very resistant to treatment. Now, researchers have published th... (Read more)

  • GLOBAL PENSION ASSETS IN 2015 ARE 6% HIGHER THAN PREVIOUS YEAR | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by amartin on May 22, 2015

    A Towers Watson report shows that global pensions assets are increasing with a trend towards DC instead of DB schemes. In the UK, pensions assets are currently 116% of GDP, and account for 9% of global assets. 

    For their annual report, Towers ... (Read more)

  • GEOGRAPHICAL TRENDS IN GASTRO-INTESTINAL CANCERS IN ENGLAND | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on May 20, 2015

    The Office for National Statistics has published data on net survival in eight common cancers across England. Here, we summarise data on five-year net survival of three gastro-intestinal cancers across the 25 Area Teams. 

    The Office for Nation... (Read more)

  • GEOGRAPHICAL DIFFERENCES IN CANCER MORTALITY IN THE UK: BREAST, CERVICAL AND PROSTATE CANCER | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on May 18, 2015

    The Office for National Statistics has published data on net survival in eight common cancers across England. Here, we summarise data on five-year net survival of breast, cervical and prostate cancer across the 25 Area Teams. 

    The Office for N... (Read more)

  • STROKE OF LUCK? ENCOURAGING TRENDS IN STROKE INCIDENCE AND MORTALITY IN ENGLAND | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on May 12, 2015

    Concerns have been raised that the number of strokes in adults aged 40-55 has increased by 50% in England since 2000. Here, we analyse hospital admission and mortality data for England and Wales to determine the trends for this disabling disease.

    T... (Read more)

  • MAPPING THE HISTORY OF MEDICINE: CANCER CODES IN ICD | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on May 11, 2015

    The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is used worldwide to categorise causes of death. Launched in 1901 with 192 causes of death indexed, the current version 10 has more than 10,000 codes. Tracking how these codes have changed over ti... (Read more)

  • SOMETHING TO SAVOUR - WILL REDUCING SALT CONSUMPTION IMPROVE MORTALITY? | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on May 6, 2015

    It was one of the first currencies in the ancient world, used to buy slaves who were "worth their salt", comprised part of the "salary" of Roman soldiers, and many of us won't consider eating food without it. But salt has also been implicated as a... (Read more)

  • PROMISES, PROMISES: WHAT THE PARTY MANIFESTOS SAY ABOUT PENSIONS | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on April 28, 2015

    The UK general election follows fast on the recent change to pensions legislation. Can we expect the new government to stick to the new legislation about pensions, or will it be all change yet again?

    The debate around the general election in the UK... (Read more)

  • DESIGNER GENES IMPROVE OUTLOOK IN WISKOTT-ALDRICH SYNDROME | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on April 22, 2015

    Gene therapy has been used to correct a genetic defect in six out of seven boys with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, raising optimism about the innovative treatment. Here, we discuss the issues and potential for gene therapy to improve longevity in the ... (Read more)

  • POW: HOW USEFUL ARE DIFFERENT UTILITY MEASURES IN DETERMINING COST-EFFECTIVENESS? | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on April 17, 2015

    Health utilities are widely-used measures of quality of life that determine calculations of cost-effectiveness of medical interventions by organisations such as NICE. Yet a recent economic analysis shows that the tool used to calculate utility val... (Read more)

  • WHEN WILL WE BE ABLE TO PREVENT DEMENTIA? | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on April 17, 2015

    There have been a series of news stories recently about new treatments to prevent dementia, and the impact of obesity on the risk of developing the disease. Here, we explore some of the innovative treatments being tested for dementia, and discuss ... (Read more)

  • IS ENGLAND THE SICK OLD LADY OF EUROPE? | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on April 9, 2015

    A recent report by Public Health England showed that mean life expectancy in elderly women in England was low compared with other Western European countries. Here, we summarise the trends in mortality improvement across Europe since 1981 and look ... (Read more)

  • CHANGES IN LIFE EXPECTANCY IN THE ELDERLY - MORTALITY CAN GO UP AS WELL AS DOWN | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on April 8, 2015

     recent report by Public Health England has shown that life expectancy in the elderly fell in 2012 in England and other European countries compared with the previous year. Is this the end of the mortality improvement trend, or just a blip in ... (Read more)

  • POW: COFFEE REDUCES CHRONIC LIVER DISEASE RISK - BUT THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHITE AND BLACK | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on March 25, 2015

    n this Paper of the Week, we see that regular coffee consumption reduces the risk of chronic liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma in White Americans, but with less effect in Blacks and Latinos. 

    Many of us only come alive after our morni... (Read more)

  • PENSIONS - NOWHERE TO HIDE | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by dlanigan on March 25, 2015

    New pensions rules unveiled in the budget by the government allow you to place only £1 million(external link) in a pension fund over your lifetime. A lot of people are not happy.

    The government announced they want to reduce the amount that people ... (Read more)

  • ONS PREDICTS 25% OF WOMEN WILL BE AGED 65 AND OLDER BY 2034 | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on March 24, 2015

    he ONS has just released its most up-to-date projections of ageing in the UK, showing that, by 2035, 25.4% of women and 22.2% of men will be aged 65 and older.

    The Office for National Statistics' data on ageing in the UK(external link) is based on mid-y... (Read more)

  • CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE: RECENT TRENDS AND RELATIVE MORTALITY | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on March 24, 2015

    More than a thousand people in England and Wales died of chronic renal failure(external link) in 2013, 92% of whom were aged 65 and older, and mortality is highest in those who also have diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Here, we explore trends in mo... (Read more)

  • SPARE THE PRICE OF A DRINK, GOV? ECONOMIC EVALUATION OF THE IMPACT OF GOVERNMENTAL STRATEGIES TO REDUCE HARMFUL DRINKING | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on March 24, 2015

    Governmental approaches to minimising harmful drinking in the UK include imposing a substantial tax duty on the sale of alcoholic beverages in addition to 20% VAT. From May 2014, it has also been illegal to sell any alcohol at a price below the to... (Read more)

  • HEALTH SURVEY FOR ENGLAND DATA SHOWS MEAN CIGARETTE CONSUMPTION DECLINES IN OLDER SMOKERS | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on March 23, 2015

    Health Survey for England data on mean cigarette consumption in smokers, measured in pack-years, shows a decline beyond the age of 60. This is most probably due to early mortality in heavier smokers, and also reflects the time when non-fatal event... (Read more)

  • NON-BEER ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION SEPARATES THE MANAGERS FROM THE EMPLOYEES | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on March 23, 2015

    We have previously shown that consumption of beer in England was affected as much by age and gender as by socio-economic class. Analysis of Health Survey for England data from 2012 reveals a very different pattern for non-beer alcohol consumption.... (Read more)

  • NOT SO LONELY AT THE TOP - GREATEST COHABITATION RATES IN HIGHER SOCIO-ECONOMIC CLASS MEN | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by amartin on March 17, 2015

    Health Survey for England data from 2012 shows that cohabitation rates are highest for men in senior managerial and professional groups up to the age of 89, but that most women aged over 70 live alone.

    Data from the Health Survey for England in 201... (Read more)

  • BEER CONSUMPTION IN ENGLAND REFLECTS GENDER AND AGE RATHER THAN SOCIO-ECONOMIC CLASS | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by amartin on March 17, 2015

    Analysis of the Health Survey for England 2012 data shows that consumption of beer depends more on gender and age than on socio-economic status.

    The relationship between alcohol consumption and mortality is a tricky one to unpick. Although studies ... (Read more)

  • SOCIO-ECONOMIC CLASS? IT'S AN AGE THING | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by amartin on March 17, 2015

    Here we publish data on socio-economic status (NSSEC) of men and women in England by age, based on analyses by Crystallise of data from the Health Survey for England 2012.

    The Health Survey for England(external link) is an annual survey that monitors th... (Read more)

  • BMI PERCENTILE CHARTS GENERATED FROM HEALTH SURVEY FOR ENGLAND DATA | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by amartin on March 10, 2015

    Crystallise has analysed detailed data from the Health Survey for England 2012 as part of our mortality modelling work. Here, we publish the BMI percentile charts we have generated from the data.

    The Health Survey for England(external link) is an annual... (Read more)

  • WILL STEM CELLS AND GENE THERAPY BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO LUNG CANCER TREATMENT? | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by amartin on March 7, 2015

    Around 30,000 adults died of lung cancer in 2013 in England and Wales, and the chances remain very low that someone newly diagnosed with the disease will be cured. A clinical trial will soon begin in the UK to test the use of stem cells containing... (Read more)

  • STEVE WEBB SAYS NO TO A SECOND PENSIONS COMMISSION | Time to read: 2 minutes

    Published by dlanigan on March 2, 2015

    Last week, the case for a second pensions commission was supported by the International Longevity Centre(external link) at an event attended by the current pensions minister, Steve Webb. Steve Webb was not in favour of such a project.

    Image 

    There was lo... (Read more)

  • NOVEL ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN DIET AND COLON CANCER | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by dlanigan on Feb. 26, 2015

    We all know that vegetables are good for you. But what is it within them that is good? Scientists developed a systems chemical biology platform(external link) that integrates data from the scientific literature as well as other relevant databases to re... (Read more)

  • POW: IMPACT OF SCREENING FOR LUNG CANCER ON QUALITY OF LIFE | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by amartin on Feb. 25, 2015

    Screening for lung cancer is being assessed in an on-going clinical trial in the UK. If successful, it could reduce mortality from this major cause of death. Yet screening programmes can cause anxiety and distress and may have a negative impact on... (Read more)

  • WILL A MEDICATION THAT PREVENTS HIV INFECTION REDUCE MORTALITY IN HIGH-RISK MEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH MEN? | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Feb. 25, 2015

    News sites this week have reported that an antiretroviral medication used to treat HIV may be effective at preventing the infection in men who have sex with men. But will this approach really be a "game-changer" and make a difference to life expec... (Read more)

  • GROPING IN THE DARK? TESTICULAR CANCER IN PERSPECTIVE | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by amartin on Feb. 20, 2015

    National campaigns have aimed to raise awareness of testicular cancer in young men to speed up diagnosis of this highly curable disease. In 2013 in England and Wales, just 57 men died from cancer of the testis. Here, we explore other causes of dea... (Read more)

  • CATCH ME IF YOU CAN - THE RISE AND FALL - AND RISE AGAIN - OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on Feb. 20, 2015

    Between 1901 and 1910, 40% of all deaths in England and Wales were from infectious disease. In 2013, this had fallen to 0.1%. Yet the current resurgence of measles in the US and scarlet fever in the UK shows that we cannot be complacent about infe... (Read more)

  • POW. BLISTERS, SWEAT AND TEARS: IS EXERCISE REALLY WORTH THE EFFORT? | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Feb. 11, 2015

    There's overwhelming evidence that taking regular exercise reduces mortality, but a recent study suggests that there may be little benefit from overdoing it. In this overview of recent research, we show that being sedentary shortens life expectanc... (Read more)

  • CONFERENCE REPORT: WHY ACTUARIES NEED TO UNDERSTAND THEORIES OF AGEING | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Feb. 2, 2015

    The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries' Mortality and Longevity Seminar showed how central the concepts of ageing are becoming to life insurers and annuity providers. Here, we discuss some of the new theories on the biology of ageing, and how the ... (Read more)

  • IFOA MORTALITY AND LONGEVITY SEMINAR 2015 REPORTS THE BENEFITS OF MODELLING MORTALITY BY CAUSE OF DEATH | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Jan. 30, 2015

    Attendees at the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries' Mortality and Longevity Seminar on 29th January 2015 heard a discussion about the benefits and challenges of modelling mortality by cause of death from leading practitioners in the field, includ... (Read more)

  • SELLING AN ANNUITY IN EXCHANGE FOR CASH COMING SOON | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by dlanigan on Jan. 28, 2015

    In yet another landmark decision by the pension minister, Steve Webb, five million retirees could soon be given the choice to re-sell an annuity they have already purchased. It looks like business as usual when it comes to annuities is really comi... (Read more)

  • FAT CHANCE: OBESITY REDUCES LIFE EXPECTANCY BY AROUND A YEAR | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Jan. 27, 2015

    New research has found that the impact of obesity on mortality is less than the detrimental effect of physical inactivity. Here, we use our Sonata Vivo model to predict the impact of obesity on the likely mean age of death after adjustin... (Read more)

  • PHARMA FOCUS: ARE WE FORGETTING ABOUT DEMENTIA WHILE DYING TO CURE CANCER? | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Jan. 26, 2015

    Tomorrow's new blockbuster drug is today's research topic. Yet the pattern of ongoing clinical and health economics research doesn't reflect the true burden of mortality faced by the world's population overall, or of people living in the US and UK... (Read more)

  • POW: MORE SENSITIVE TEST FOR HEART ATTACKS: WILL IT REALLY REDUCE MORTALITY IN WOMEN? | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on Jan. 22, 2015

    Two studies reported this week in the BMJ have been widely publicised as showing that a new, highly sensitive test may lead to more accurate diagnosis of heart attacks in people with chest pain. Better detection may lead to more effective preventi... (Read more)

  • CRISIS IN A&E: INCREASED LONGEVITY, NOT ENOUGH BEDS, AND IT'S LIKELY TO GET A LOT WORSE | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Jan. 8, 2015

    The extreme pressures on Accident and Emergency departments in the UK have been widely reported. Here, we report on how reduced mortality in the elderly and a decrease in hospital resources have contributed to the problem.

    The start of 2015 has see... (Read more)

  • CANCER MORTALITY TRENDS IN ENGLAND SHOW REGIONAL INEQUALITIES ARE DECLINING | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Jan. 5, 2015

    Data newly released from the Office for National Statistics on trends in cancer mortality by Clinical Commissioning Group area show that mortality for all cancers has improved in every region since 1997. Improvement was greatest in areas with wors... (Read more)

  • ONS DATA SHOWS CONTINUING FALL IN CANCER MORTALITY IN ENGLAND | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Jan. 5, 2015

    Data released in December 2014 from the Office for National Statistics shows that mortality from cancer continues to fall across English regions and Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) areas. One-year survival for breast cancer is now more than 95%... (Read more)

  • POW: WINNERS AND LOSERS IN THE GLOBAL BURDEN OF DISEASE MORTALITY LOTTERY | Time to read: 7 minutes

    Published by amartin on Dec. 31, 2014

    This Paper of the Week blog reviews two new publications on trends in mortality and causes of death: the Global Burden of Disease report on mortality improvement globally from 1990 to 2013, and the CDC report on trends in mortality in the US betwe... (Read more)

  • CONFERENCE REPORT (WESTMINSTER AND CITY) RETHINKING RETIREMENT OPTIONS | Time to read: 6 minutes

    Published by dlanigan on Dec. 29, 2014

    rystallise got to rub shoulders with some of the biggest pension and insurance providers last month when we were invited to speak at the 18th Annual Westminster and City Conference(external link), “Rethinking Retirement Options” in London.

    The pe... (Read more)

  • IBUPROFEN: ANTI-AGEING MIRACLE OR SAME OLD, SAME OLD? | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on Dec. 19, 2014

    A study(external link) in yeast, worms and flies suggesting that ibuprofen may have anti-ageing properties leads to a multitude of press articles claiming it could extend lifespans in humans by 12 years. Yet this drug has been widely used for decades. ... (Read more)

  • CHRISTMAS CONUNDRUM: WHY SMOKING REDUCES YOUR RISK OF DYING OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on Dec. 19, 2014

    We have known for half a century that smoking increases the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Yet the Crystallise cause-of-death model clearly shows that an average smoker has a lower lifetime risk of dying of cardiovascular disease than ... (Read more)

  • POW: SCIENTISTS TAKE HEART FROM POSITIVE GENE THERAPY TRIAL | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Dec. 16, 2014

    Heart failure is still a major cause of death in developed countries, with patients kept alive only by a cocktail of drugs or, for the lucky few, a heart transplant. Now, scientists have published three-year outcomes of a new gene therapy that has... (Read more)

  • RECIPE FOR A LONG AND HEALTHY LIFE? | Time to read: 7 minutes

    Published by amartin on Dec. 14, 2014

    Although Christmas is still 10 days away, we are well into the season of overindulgence. Here, we assess the evidence on the health impact of some traditional Christmas foods, in particular Christmas cake. Our conclusions are that we can all eat, ... (Read more)

  • CORPORATE BULK ANNUITY BUSINESS BENEFITS FROM BUDGET CHANGES | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by dlanigan on Dec. 11, 2014

    The corporate bulk annuity market has benefited from George Osborne's announcement in the budget that people will no longer be forced to buy an annuity when they retire. Some Insurers(external link) are now making up for this lost income in individual ... (Read more)

  • POW: YOU CAN HAVE TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING: U SHAPED RISK OF HEART DISEASE WITH HDL CHOLESTEROL LEVELS | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by amartin on Dec. 1, 2014

    This Paper Of the Week finds that there is a limit to the desired level for "good" or HDL cholesterol, and people with higher levels may be at increased risk of mortality.
    Cholesterol is a necessary part of our diet, but too much can lead to harden... (Read more)

  • FLYING HIGH? COMPARING RELATIVE MORTALITY IN PILOTS, ASTRONAUTS AND CABIN CREW | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by amartin on Dec. 1, 2014

    Fear of flying may affect up to half of adults, and there are real and hypothetical risks associated with spending many hours in the air. Yet a series of studies have concluded that mortality is significantly lower in pilots, astronauts and c... (Read more)

  • QUANTIFIABLE IMPACT OF INTERVENTIONS TO DELAY AGEING | Time to read: 8 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Nov. 18, 2014

    Here in the UK, life expectancy has never been so good. Yet new interventions to delay ageing and increase our lifespan even further are still being actively researched and promoted. With fortunes to be made by the producer of an effective age-del... (Read more)

  • FIVE -YEAR INCREASE IN LIFE EXPECTANCY FOR REGULAR GOLFERS | Time to read: 2 minutes

    Published by dlanigan on Nov. 18, 2014

    Finally for all you golf fanatics, there is justification for you spending time on the golf course. It looks like you are going to live a little longer as a result. A study analysing mortality rates in a cohort of Swedish golf players and followed... (Read more)

  • WHAT'S THE EVIDENCE? BIAS, BREADTH AND BASELINE ESTIMATES | Time to read: 10 minutes

    Published by amartin on Nov. 18, 2014

    Scientific evidence - there's a lot of it about. Each year, more articles about medical research are published in scientific journals than the year before, and the body of knowledge is increasing faster than the human brain can process. When you n... (Read more)

  • POW: MEDITERRANEAN DIET MAY REDUCE MARKERS OF AGEING AS WELL AS CARDIOVASCULAR RISK FACTORS | Time to read: 7 minutes

    Published by amartin on Nov. 18, 2014

    Paper Of the Week (POW) is a new feature on our blog. Each week we will summarise the findings of a recently-published paper on mortality risk and ageing, identified by our continuous evidence surveillance. This week: the Mediterranean diet has be... (Read more)

  • THE BMI PARADOX - WHEN IT COMES TO CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE, MORE IS MORE | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Nov. 18, 2014

    Obesity is a well-recognised risk factor for cardiovascular disease and is associated with increased mortality rates from a number of diseases. Yet evidence synthesised for a new report on trends in ischaemic heart disease(external link) has shown that... (Read more)

  • CARDIOVASCULAR MORTALITY IMPROVEMENT REACHES UP TO 8% PER YEAR IN ENGLAND | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by amartin on Nov. 18, 2014

    It's no secret that cardiovascular disease mortality has been falling internationally since the 1970s. The scale of the improvement and especially the improvement from 2006 onwards in mortality data from England has been highlighted by our innovat... (Read more)

  • 85-YEAR-OLD MEN ABLE TO DO HOUSE WORK FOR LONGER THAN 85-YEAR-OLD WOMEN | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by dlanigan on Oct. 22, 2014

    You wouldn't think that the ability for 85-year-old men to be able to do housework for longer in life than women of the same age was a subject of discussion at the Autumn Lecture 2014 hosted by the Institute of Actuaries in Scotland recently. But ... (Read more)

  • LARGE COHORT STUDY SHOWS ANTIBIOTICS MAY BE CAUSING OBESITY IN CHILDREN | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Oct. 15, 2014

    A new study shows that children who are repeatedly exposed to antibiotics before the age of two are more likely to develop obesity by age five. This new paper adds to a growing body of evidence showing an association between antibiotic use and obe... (Read more)

  • CANCER IMMUNOTHERAPY - THE NEXT BIG THING IN CANCER | Time to read: 6 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Oct. 6, 2014

    6Merck secured regulatory approval from the FDA(external link) for its new targeted cancer immunotherapy drug called pembrolizumab (marketed as Keytruda), for advanced malignant melanoma in patients who are no longer responding to other drugs. The firs... (Read more)

  • 70-YEAR-OLD JAPANESE WOMAN FIRST RECIPIENT OF NEXT GENERATION STEM CELLS | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Sept. 24, 2014

    For the first time ever a Japanese woman with age-related macular degeneration received stem cells, created from her own skin cells(external link), to make retinal tissue, which was then implanted into her eye.

    Age-related macular degeneration is a condition... (Read more)

  • GOOGLE INVESTMENT INTO SERIOUS LIFE EXTENSION | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Sept. 18, 2014

    Late last year, Google announced it was setting up a company called Calico, otherwise known as the California Life Company. From its name it could easily be mistaken for a life insurance company, but it’s not - it’s a biotech company, ... (Read more)

  • TRENDS IN ANNUITY PRICING SINCE BUDGET ANNOUNCEMENT | Time to read: 2 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Sept. 10, 2014

    Since the new pension rule changes announced by George Osborne in the budget last April, annuity rates have been declining (external link)and the gap between the best rate and worst rate for annuities is widening(external link).

    From next April, no one will be co... (Read more)

  • SHOULD THE U.K. BE WORRIED ABOUT EBOLA? | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Sept. 1, 2014

    The WHO has declared an international health emergency(external link) for Ebola and is warning that 20,000 new cases could materialise over the next nine months. The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, who are on the ground treating pat... (Read more)

  • NEW GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE ON PENSIONS COMING - IFAS, DON’T GIVE UP YOUR DAY JOB | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Aug. 11, 2014

    The latest development in the radical shakeup of the pension system was announced by George Osborne last week, where pensioners will be entitled to free impartial advice on how to make the most of their retirement savings. The ‘Guidance Guar... (Read more)

  • HIV INFECTION RE-EMERGES IN MISSISSIPPI BABY THOUGHT CURED | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Aug. 4, 2014

    One of the main topics of discussion at the 2014 International AIDS conference, which took place in Melbourne, Australia last week, was the reappearance of HIV in a toddler from Mississippi who was originally thought to have been cured of the infe... (Read more)

  • WIDER USE OF STATINS EXPECTED AFTER NEW GUIDELINE UPDATE | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Aug. 1, 2014

    The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has finalized changes to its guidance(external link) on who should be offered statins, a move that could mean that most of us over 50 may now qualify for taking statins to prevent heart disea... (Read more)

  • LAB WORKERS ACCIDENTALLY EXPOSED TO ANTHRAX AT THE CDC | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on July 21, 2014

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed(external link) on July 11th that there had been serious accidents in some of its flu and anthrax laboratories in Atlanta over the past month. The affected sites have been shut down temporari... (Read more)

  • THE EVER EVOLVING WORLD OF LONGEVITY SWAPS | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on July 13, 2014

    A U.K. based company BT(external link) offloaded £16 billion of longevity exposure to a company based in the U.S. to protect itself against the costs of its pension plan members living too long. That’s more than the GDP of Cyprus. This is t... (Read more)

  • ASPIRIN SHOWN TO LOWER RISK OF PANCREATIC CANCER BY HALF | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on July 8, 2014

    A new study published last week showed that low dose aspirin was associated with lowering the risk of pancreatic cancer by half. The longer low dose aspirin was used for, the lower the risk of pancreatic cancer. 

    The study, published in C... (Read more)

  • MAKING ANNUITY DECISIONS BASED ON LIFESPAN | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on July 1, 2014

    People with a reduced life-expectancy should consider purchasing enhanced annuities with the lump sum from their pension, and because of this they should seek guidance as to how long they are expected to live. 

    Two months ago the life industry... (Read more)

  • THE MOST IMPRESSIVE KICK SO FAR AT FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on June 14, 2014

    Can you believe it; the FIFA 2014 World Cup is upon us. Some reports claim over 2 billion people around the world watched the opening ceremony last night in Brazil. But before the opening game between Brazil and Croatia, viewers from around the wo... (Read more)

  • CMI COMMITTEE REVIEWS ITS OWN MODEL | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on June 7, 2014

    This week the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) Mortality Projections Committee led a frank discussion about issues(external link) faced when projecting mortality improvements at Staple Inn Hall in London. Using cause of death modeling as an app... (Read more)

  • ARE INSURERS BEHIND THE TIMES WHEN IT COMES TO E-CIGARETTES? | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on May 31, 2014

    In a BBC interview this week, Professor Robert West(external link) from University College London said that e-cigarettes were much safer than tobacco cigarettes and should be regulated appropriately. There is little evidence to date that e-cigarette us... (Read more)

  • NEW CAUSE OF DEATH MODEL BEING DEVELOPED | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on May 23, 2014

    The Mortality Research Steering Committee has set up a Work Group(external link) to create a cause of death model to help the Chief Medical Officer of Scotland, Sir Harry Burns, further explore causes of low life expectancy, particularly in the west co... (Read more)

  • GAMING OUR WAY TO BETTER HEALTH | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on May 16, 2014

    The 11th annual Games for Change(external link) festival took place in New York from April 22-26th, showcasing the way gamers and scientists are joining forces to develop serious games to improve health. One of the games debuted showed that older peopl... (Read more)

  • STAYING AHEAD OF THE ORGANISMS - ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on May 8, 2014

    The World Health Organization (WHO) released its first global report(external link) in April 2014 on the spread of antibiotic resistance. In its most stern warning to date, the WHO said that the world is heading for a post antibiotic era where common i... (Read more)

  • LITTLE PRINCESS | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on July 25, 2013

    Writing this is difficult. 'Princess', the office kitten is trampling over my keyboard and trying to finish of the remnants of my breakfast. I'm fond of cats, and I like to think they are fond of me, but somehow I know it is the breakfast she is a... (Read more)

  • RINGING THE CHANGES WITH DSM-5 | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on May 21, 2013

    In December the American Psychiatric Association(external link) finally agreed their revised definitions of mental illness, and this month the result - the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders version 5(external link) is being officially la... (Read more)

  • MEDICAL MODELLING COMES OF AGE | Time to read: 5 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on May 2, 2013

    Researchers presenting at the 2nd Forum of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) are claiming that computerised mathematical models are better at predicting the outcomes of cancer treatment than humans(external link), and are calling fo... (Read more)

  • THE BIRD-FLU DOUBLE WHAMMY | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on April 11, 2013

    Bird-flu is back in the news with the Chinese authorities slaughtering many thousands of birds around Nanjing after an outbreak of cases in humans. Between the 1st April 2013 when the outbreak was first identified, and the 8th April 2013, the numb... (Read more)

  • THE 7 MILLION EURO MAN? | Time to read: 2 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on April 1, 2013

    Many of us are familiar with bionics thanks to the entertainment frenzy surrounding it that included the television series 'The Six Million Dollar Man', "The Bionic Woman' and the films 'Robocop' and the Disney version - 'Inspector Gadget'. Since ... (Read more)

  • TRANSPLANTATION IS NO LONGER COOL. | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on March 16, 2013

    There has been an apparent breakthrough in liver transplantation. Instead of keeping the liver cold after removal until they can be transplanted into the new host, they can now be kept warm. The current wait for kidney transplants in the UK i... (Read more)

  • A CURE FOR HIV? | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on March 4, 2013

    This week saw the second known cure in HIV infection. A baby born in Mississippi two years ago was treated within 30 hours of birth after the mother was found to be HIV positive during labour. The first case was of an HIV positive man undergoing t... (Read more)

  • THE PENDULUM SWINGS... | Time to read: 2 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Feb. 13, 2013

    The history of medicine is pock-marked with about-faces in what is and is not considered 'safe' or 'healthy'. The pendulum has swung again recently with the publication of a reanalysis of a study of substituting omega-6 linoleic acid (O-6), the mo... (Read more)

  • DOES THE BODY MASS INDEX LIE? | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Jan. 29, 2013

    An interesting thread is developing in the press on the dis-merits of using the standard formula for body mass index (BMI) as a measure of obesity. It was kick-started by a letter in the Economist(external link) on the 5th January by Nick Trefethen, Pr... (Read more)

  • BEING SCARED BY THE BACTERIAL BOGEY-MAN | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Jan. 25, 2013

    The Chief Medical Officer of the NHS in England and Wales, Professor Dame Sally Davies, has given an apocalyptic warning over the dangers of increasing antibiotic resistance. The antibiotic revolution of the mid 20th Century witnessed a dramatic c... (Read more)

  • NICE MAY RECOMMEND TAMOXIFEN FOR WOMEN AT HIGH RISK OF BREAST CANCER. | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Jan. 15, 2013

    NICE have launched a consultation on recommendations to offer tamoxifen for five years to high risk women without breast cancer(external link), and it is widely anticipated that this will be accepted. Is this a breakthrough and will it impact significantly ... (Read more)

  • OBESITY ASSOCIATED WITH LOWER MORTALITY? | Time to read: 2 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Jan. 2, 2013

    A new meta-analysis from a team at the Center for Disease COntrol in the USA has reported that mortality rates are lower in those who are overweight or slightly obese(external link) with a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 35 compared to those BMI i... (Read more)

  • CANCER THERAPY GOING VIRAL | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Dec. 23, 2012

    A team led by Sheffield University have demonstrated a method of practically delivering a viral therapy that abolished prostate cancer in mice(external link). Viral treatments for cancer have been under investigation for decades since the apparently miracul... (Read more)

  • THE RISK OF DYING FROM CANCER RISING IN MEN - GOOD NEWS? | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Dec. 19, 2012

    The risk of of UK men dying from cancer is rising and set to exceed 1 in 2 deaths by 2028 according to Cancer Research UK(external link). So why should this be good news to some, but not to others? 

    Even though cancer mortality rates are now fallin... (Read more)

  • UK LAUNCHES DNA PROFILING OF 100,000 PEOPLE WITH CANCER | Time to read: 2 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Dec. 10, 2012

    The UK prime minister David Cameron is due to annouce a £100M project to work out the DNA profiles of 100,000 people with cancer and rare diseases(external link). It is hoped that the data will accelerate research on the personalisation of treatment, ...
    (Read more)

  • STEM CELLS FROM BLOOD | Time to read: 2 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Dec. 3, 2012

    Stem cells offer a great deal of promise for the future of medicine and mortality reduction. Primitive stem cells called 'induced pluripotent stem cells' (iPSCs), have the remarkable ability to develop into any kind of cell, allowing the body to r... (Read more)

  • GENE SEQUENCING USED TO TRACK AND BLOCK AN OUTBREAK OF THE SUPERBUG MRSA | Time to read: 2 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Nov. 14, 2012

    The 'Superbug' MRSA - short for 'methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus' - is usually harmless. This is just as well as around 1% of people carry it at anyone time, most without being ill, or even knowing about it. However, in the wrong place... (Read more)

  • GENE THERAPY HITS THE SHELVES IN EUROPE | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Nov. 3, 2012

    This week saw the launch of the first gene therapy to be approved in Europe. Glybera(external link), produced by UniQure, is a treatment for lipoprotein lipase deficiency (LPLD), a rare metabolic disorder that results in recurrent attacks of inflammation of... (Read more)

  • RISING MOUTH CANCER IN YOUNG PEOPLE | Time to read: 2 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Nov. 1, 2012

    It is being reported at the start of 'Mouth cancer awareness month' that there is a rise in mouth cancers in young people(external link). Mouth cancers are typically associated with smoking, chewing tobacco or drinking spirits, but there has been an increas... (Read more)

  • IBM'S WATSON SUPERCOMPUTER TO BE APPLIED TO SOLVING MEDICAL PROBLEMS | Time to read: 2 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Nov. 1, 2012

    IBM's Watson supercomputer is to be applied to solve a variety of medical diagnostic and treatment problems(external link), and help in the training of doctors.The Watson supercomputer combines natural language processing with machine learning which enables... (Read more)

  • BACK TO HAMMURABI | Time to read: 2 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Oct. 23, 2012

    The Babylonian King Hammurabi set out a legal framework(external link) in 1772 BC that defined the civil and criminal law of his Kingdom. It included the rewards and punishments that doctors could expect depending on their success or failure, and the s... (Read more)

  • RESEARCHERS SUGGEST TAKING A MULTIVITAMIN TABLET A DAY MAY CUT CANCER RISK. | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Oct. 18, 2012

    The routine vitamin supplementation debate is a bit like the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) debate in that it can seem more theological than scientific at times despite the accumulation of enormous amounts of evidence with no clear answers. Pas... (Read more)

  • A NEW STUDY ON THE USE OF HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY SUGGESTS LOWER MORTALITY | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by amartin on Oct. 10, 2012

    A study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) suggests that women who use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have lower risks of dying from heart attacks and strokes, and with no increase in the risk of dying from breast cancer. This adds ... (Read more)

  • IMPROVEMENT IN TESTING FOR AGGRESSIVE PROSTATE CANCER | Time to read: 2 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Oct. 9, 2012

    Prostate specific antigen (PSA) was a major advance in the management and detection of prostate cancer, but it has performed poorly as a screening test due to its poor specificity and the wide variation in the aggressiveness of prostate cancer. Be... (Read more)

  • NEW DRUG MAY REDUCE THE RISK OF BRAIN INJURY IN STROKE. | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Oct. 8, 2012

    A drug that has been shown to protect the brain in animal studies may also work in humans, a new study suggests(external link). NA-1 (Tat-NR2B9c), is an inhibitor of postsynaptic density-95 protein (PSD-95)(external link) which is found in the synapses of neuron... (Read more)

  • ASPIRIN SLOWS BRAIN DECLINE IN ELDERLY WOMEN AT RISK OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE | Time to read: 2 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Oct. 4, 2012

    Aspirin appears to be the new 'Elixir of Life'. It has contributed to a substantial decline in the mortality rates for stroke and heart disease over the last 20 years. It has also become apparent that it has at least as big an effect in reducing c... (Read more)

  • IS SARS BACK? | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Sept. 30, 2012

    Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS is an infectious disease that causes cough, fever, shortness of breath, and sometimes death, that skipped from animals into humans in November 2002. It was first identified by Dr Carlo Urbani in a 48 year ... (Read more)

  • INDEX MUNDI MAP OF POPULATIONS | Time to read: 1 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Sept. 29, 2012

    This simple but fascinating map from Index Mundi(external link) makes it easy to put populations into perspectives. We hear a lot about the UK being a small and crowded island, but compare the UK, with 62.6 million people squeezed into 243,610 km2, wit...
    (Read more)

  • GLASSES FOR THE BLIND? | Time to read: 1 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Sept. 29, 2012

    It seems odd, but it's true. A French robotics team is working on spectacles for the blind. Edwige Pissaloux and colleagues at the Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris have fitted a couple... (Read more)

  • CANCER DEATH RATES FALLING | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Sept. 25, 2012

    Cancer Research UK (CRUK) has just published it latest analysis on future trends in cancer mortality. About 40% of the improvement is attributed to lifestyle factors such as the reduction in smoking rates. The rest is attributed to better treatmen... (Read more)

  • WHOOPING IT UP. | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Sept. 24, 2012

    I have only diagnosed whooping cough twice. Twenty years ago I visited a baby girl, who I will call Sophie. Not yet one month old, she had a cough, and what I found was a happy, and well looking neonate with no abnormal signs. Mum was te... (Read more)

  • A THIRD OF CANCERS DIAGNOSED IN EMERGENCY ADMISSIONS. | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Sept. 21, 2012

    A recent study(external link) has shown that nearly a third of cancers are diagnosed during emergency admissions. This has been described as shocking by 'experts' and GPs have been criticised(external link) for failing to carry out tests on patients that wo... (Read more)

  • X-RAYS CAUSING BREAST CANCER? | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Sept. 17, 2012

    A study published in the BMJ(external link) last week attempted to quantify the effect of having x-rays before the age of 30 on breast cancer risk in those who are genetically susceptible. This is important, as this group of women are commonly screened... (Read more)

  • ASPIRIN - THE 'ELIXIR OF LIFE'? | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Sept. 13, 2012

    We have known about the benefits of aspirin in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease since the 1970s. It took until the end of the 1980s for evidence to accumulate and for confidence to grow enough for it to become a mainstream recomm... (Read more)

  • ENCODE - THE LATEST ANALYSIS OF THE HUMAN GENOME. | Time to read: 3 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Sept. 6, 2012

    The ENCODE project picked up the encoding of the human genome from where the original Human Genome Project left off(external link). Barely more than 1% of the genetic information relates to the 20,000 or so proteins that are needed to make up the human body. The... (Read more)

  • THE DOCTOR IS DEAD. LONG LIVE THE DOCTOR! | Time to read: 4 minutes

    Published by cjmartin on Sept. 4, 2012

    Vinod Khosla is an interesting man. Born in India, he graduated from Stanford University in 1980 and co-founded Daisy Systems, and then SUN Microsystems in 1982. He left SUN in 1984 after 2 years as their first CEO to become a venture capitalist. ... (Read more)