Month: March 2019

Highlights of the BMC series: February 2019

BMC Cancer:  Breaking silence: a survey of barriers to goals of care discussions from the perspective of oncology practitioners For patients with advanced or terminal cancer, decisions such as whether to be resuscitated or where to receive care at the end of life have a large impact on their quality of life, the cost of their care, and wellbeing of their families. Discussions between patients and clinicians to decide on goals of care can lead to fewer unwanted interventions, better patient outcomes, and lower costs, but few clinicians initiate or encourage these discussions. The barriers that prevent clinicians from having...

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Unsticking malaria

Knobs visible on the surface of a red blood cell infected with Plasmodium falciparum. Electronmicrograph source: wikicommons, authors Rick Fairhurst and Jordan Zuspann, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH One feature of the most virulent species of malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, is its ability to make infected red blood cells stick to the endothelial cells lining blood vessels, including those serving the brain. This process, known as cytoadherence, has been associated with the development of the severe symptoms of the disease known as cerebral malaria. Cerebral malaria is defined by the symptoms of unrousable coma and the...

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How many cigarettes are there in a bottle of wine?

© Photographee.eu / Fotolia Do you drink one small glass of wine a day? Maybe you even have one day off a week? That’s just under the UK low risk drinking guidelines of 14 units a week. You know cigarettes increase your risk of cancer but what about a glass of wine each night? Isn’t that supposed to be good for you? Survey data suggests only 13% of people are aware of a link between alcohol and cancer. Well, unfortunately while moderate drinking is considerably less dangerous than heavy drinking it is certainly not without its risks, particularly for...

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World Bipolar Day – Controversies in bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a severe brain disorder that causes abnormal strong shifts in mood, activity levels and energy, and causes severe stress to patients and their caregivers. The life expectancy of patients with bipolar disorder is reduced by about 10 years, likely due to medical comorbidity, high suicide rates and adverse lifestyles. The burden of the disorder constitutes a major health economic challenge for societies: according to the most recent WHO global burden of disease study, bipolar disorders rank within the top 20 causes of disability among all medical conditions worldwide, and rank 6th among the mental disorders. World...

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India aspiring malaria-free status: the long and short of it

Malaria stratification by Annual Parasite Incidence (API) in Indian States for data based on 2014, e.g., API 10 means 10 confirmed cases per thousand population (Source: National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme, India). India is historically a malaria endemic country. It holds the distinction of being the site of the discovery by Noble Prize winner Sir Ronal Ross that established the malaria parasite cycle through Anopheles mosquitoes as the definitive host, and the spectacular success of malaria control during 1960s. India is a vast country and disease epidemiology is complex, with various paradigms of transmission, multiplicity of vectors, varied...

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