Journal: Postgraduate medical journal
Atrial fibrillation, the commonest cardiac arrhythmia, predisposes to thrombus formation and consequently increases risk of ischaemic stroke. Recent years have seen approval of a number of novel oral anticoagulants. Nevertheless, warfarin and aspirin remain the mainstays of therapy. It is widely appreciated that both these agents increase the likelihood of bleeding: there is a popular conception that this risk is greater with warfarin. In fact, well-managed warfarin therapy (INR 2-3) has little effect on bleeding risk and is twice as effective as aspirin at preventing stroke. Patients with atrial fibrillation and a further risk factor for stroke (CHA2DS2-VASc >0) should therefore either receive warfarin or a novel oral agent. The remainder who are at the very lowest risk of stroke are better not prescribed antithrombotic therapy. For stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation; aspirin is rarely the right choice.
Gender disparities in income continue to exist, and many studies have quantified the gap between male and female workers. These studies paint an incomplete picture of gender income disparity because of their reliance on notoriously inaccurate or incomplete surveys. We quantified gender reimbursement disparity between female and male healthcare providers using objective, non-self-reported data and attempted to adjust the disparity against commonly held beliefs as to why it exists.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has emerged as an effective neurosurgical tool to treat a range of conditions. Its use in movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, tremor and dystonia is now well established and has been approved by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE). The NICE does, however, emphasise the need for a multidisciplinary team to manage these patients. Such a team is traditionally composed of neurologists, neurosurgeons and neuropsychologists. Neuropsychiatrists, however, are increasingly recognised as essential members given many psychiatric considerations that may arise in patients undergoing DBS. Patient selection, assessment of competence to consent and treatment of postoperative psychiatric disease are just a few areas where neuropsychiatric input is invaluable. Partly driven by this close team working and partly based on the early history of DBS for psychiatric disorders, there is increasing interest in re-exploring the potential of neurosurgery to treat patients with psychiatric disease, such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Although the clinical experience and evidence with DBS in this group of patients are steadily increasing, many questions remain unanswered. Yet, the characteristics of optimal surgical candidates, the best choice of DBS target, the most effective stimulating parameters and the extent of postoperative improvement are not clear for most psychiatric conditions. Further research is therefore required to define how DBS can be best utilised to improve the quality of life of patients with psychiatric disease.
There is evidence from high quality studies to strongly support the positive association between increased levels of physical activity, exercise participation and improved health in older adults. Worldwide, around 3.2 million deaths per year are being attributed to inactivity. In industrialised countries where people are living longer lives, the levels of chronic health conditions are increasing and the levels of physical activity are declining. Key factors in improving health are exercising at a moderate-to-vigorous level for at least 5 days per week and including both aerobic and strengthening exercises. Few older adults achieve the level of physical activity or exercise that accompanies health improvements. A challenge for health professionals is to increase physical activity and exercise participation in older adults. Some success in this has been reported when physicians have given specific, detailed and localised information to their patients, but more high quality research is needed to continue to address this issue of non-participation in physical activity and exercise of a high enough level to ensure health benefits.
Previous research has shown that >50% of residency programmes indicate that inappropriate Facebook postings could be grounds for rejecting a student applicant. This study sought to understand medical students' views regarding the impact of their Facebook postings on the residency admissions process.
Social media may blur the line between socialisation and professional use. Traditional views on medical professionalism focus on limiting motives and behaviours to avoid situations that may compromise care. It is not surprising that social media are perceived as a threat to professionalism.
Social media are increasingly used in health professions education. How can innovations and research that incorporate social media applications be adjudicated as scholarship?
Obesity in mid-life may increase the risk of subsequent dementia. Our objective was to study this risk, focusing on differences by age at the time of recording of obesity, in a large defined population.
Periodontal disease (PD) is generated by microorganisms. These microbes can enter the general circulation causing a bacteraemia. The result can be adverse systemic effects, which could promote conditions such as cardiovascular disease. Level A evidence supports that PD is independently associated with arterial disease. PD is a common chronic condition affecting the majority of Americans 30 years of age and older. Atherosclerosis remains the largest cause of death and disability. Studies indicate that the adverse cardiovascular effects from PD are due to a few putative or high-risk bacteria: Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Tannerella forsythia, Treponema denticola or Fusobacterium nucleatum There are three accepted essential elements in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis: lipoprotein serum concentration, endothelial permeability and binding of lipoproteins in the arterial intima. There is scientific evidence that PD caused by the high-risk pathogens can influence the pathogenesis triad in an adverse manner. With this appreciation, it is reasonable to state PD, due to high-risk pathogens, is a contributory cause of atherosclerosis. Distinguishing this type of PD as causal provides a significant opportunity to reduce arterial disease.
Quality assurance concerns about social media platforms used for education have arisen within the medical education community. As more trainees and clinicians use resources such as blogs and podcasts for learning, we aimed to identify quality indicators for these resources. A previous study identified 151 potentially relevant quality indicators for these social media resources.