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conferences and talks

Wilm Quentin: NCDs and the private sector—part of the problem or part of the solution?

21 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

Wilm_QuentinOne of the last sessions of the European Health Forum Gastein aimed to find answers to the question of how to engage the private sector in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Gauden Galea, director of the Division of NCDs and Life-Course at the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe, and organiser and moderator of the session, asked: “What are the first steps that we can take to activate the private sector in collaboration for NCD prevention and control?” more…

Anita Jain: Overdiagnosis—when is it too much care?

21 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

“Come over for a discussion on overdiagnosis and contribute your ideas to tackle it,” was the invitation. A diverse mix of doctors, nurses, researchers, public health practitioners, and students from countries across the world got together for our workshop at the 22nd Cochrane Colloquium in Hyderabad.

Overdiagnosis, like many medical conditions, lacks clear parameters. How much is too much, really? more…

Kate Adlington: Should the UK move towards greater regulation of doctor-industry relations?

20 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

kate_adlington_picInternational interest in the interaction between physicians and industry has been mounting since the Physician Payment Sunshine Act (PPSA) was passed in the United States in 2012. The first data made available as a consequence of this act were published last week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The BMJ published their own rapid analysis of this information, which covers all payments made by US drug and device makers to US doctors in the last five months of 2013. more…

Desmond O’Neill: Sky disc and the marvel of ageing

7 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

desmond_oneillOne of the great challenges of hospital medicine is retaining a sense of the marvel of ageing after a busy night on general take. The sheer complexity of the frail, multimorbid, and delirious nonagenarian can easily rattle junior trainees. Seeing beyond the losses to the accumulated richness of life experiences demands insight, but can be teased out by powerful metaphors.

When teaching students and trainees, I often lean on late life creativity in the face of disability: Matisse in his wheelchair, Renoir with the paintbrush strapped to his arthritic hands, Klee and his scleroderma.

A different parallel struck me recently at the combined German, Austrian, and Swiss congress of gerontology and geriatric medicine in Halle, a modest-seeming city in former East Germany. more…

Helen Macdonald: Too much medicine—not a NICE business

23 Sep, 14 | by BMJ

helen_macDavid Haslam, chair of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, anticipated a difference of opinion as he addressed his audience at the Preventing Overdiagnosis conference last week. He knew that the audience would bring it up eventually, so he went head on into the controversial NICE guideline that lowered the threshold for cardiovascular risk prevention strategies in July—and more specifically made around one in four UK adults eligible for medical treatment with a statin.

He wrote in the conference programme that the dilemma posed by over and under diagnosis crossed “all manner of practical and ethical minefields.” I imagined that Haslam, as a medical leader of a major medical institution, would be in the midst of that minefield with his sleeves rolled up. But it seemed that his role at NICE simplified things, and instead he tiptoed uncomfortably around the edge. He said that the remit of NICE was to analyse the science and cost effectiveness only. The practical and ethical minefield that the guidelines created seemed not to be a NICE problem. more…

Emma Parish: Risky Business 2014—I choose to be optimistic

23 Sep, 14 | by BMJ

Emma-ParishLeaving the Risky Business event I was abuzz with enthusiasm to “choose my attitude,” “listen to the right people,” and treat patient safety “like lives depend on it.” However, it was not all buzzwords, tweeting, and chatting with celebrity speakers. It was a packed day, with lots of emotive content and key messages to change the current approach to healthcare.

Debra Searle’s description of her 3300 mile solo quest across the Atlantic, and her determination to survive to see her family, was inspirational. She was able to skilfully link her approach on that journey to the daily motivation needed to fulfil tasks and highlight how empowering choosing the right attitude can be. more…

Desmond O’Neill: Ageing, astronauts, and organists in Rotterdam

23 Sep, 14 | by BMJ

desmond_oneill“Le frime” is an almost untranslatable French word for doing something that seems superfluous for the fun of it. It is as good a term as any for the opening ceremonies of our European Union Geriatric Medicine Society conferences. These reflect how individual nations put their best foot forward for guests. While the content may at first sight seem to be tangential to the core business of geriatric medicine, linkages appear with reflection.

And so it was in Rotterdam last week, with a line up including an astronaut/physician, the city organist, a retired Dutch prime minister, and silent movies (old and new). The setting was the magnificent De Doelen concert hall, in a futuristic city centre with an iconic and dramatic train station that opened this year.

The presentation from Dr André Kuipers was witty, entertaining, and informative. Space medicine offers insights into accelerated forms of ageing syndromes, particularly osteoporosis and sarcopaenia; the responses, particularly through exercise, were very relevant to the science of geriatric medicine. more…

Duncan Jarvies: Preventing Overdiagnosis 2014—I am not legion

16 Sep, 14 | by BMJ

I’m against overdiagnosis, overcooked food, and over long films, said David Haslam, chair of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

All of us probably agree—especially when it comes to overcooked food—which is part of the problem.

At the Preventing Overdiagnosis conference in Oxford, the big topics are diabetes, hypertension, and statins. Lifestyle diseases that we are regularly treating, with the aim of reducing incidence, even where treatment will make very little difference to individual patients. more…

Iñaki Martínez Nimatuj and Mónica Garcia Asensio: A pharma free medical conference

6 Aug, 14 | by BMJ

Iñaki Martínez NimatujOsatzen is the Basque Family Physicians Scientific Society and part of the federation semFYC (the Spanish Family Physicians Society). It is composed of 900 GP partners who pay an annual fee of €66. Our main goal is to generate and share scientific knowledge, and—for that reason—we prioritise transparency, objectivity, and autonomy in both our own scientific activities and in those we attend.

In Spain the presence of Big Pharma is very common at most medical congresses, where in exchange for funding they choose the space, time, and content of their lecture, in which their speakers seldom declare their existing conflicts of interest. more…

Aser Garcia Rada: The resurgence of HIV/ AIDS in Europe—let’s focus on priorities

23 Jul, 14 | by BMJ

Aser García Rada_BMJI was recently invited to a meeting on HIV/AIDS that was hosted in Athens by the European Commission. Although the grass is greener on the EU side, the epidemic still poses relevant challenges. Contrary to the overall global decline in new HIV infections, 29 381 people were newly diagnosed across the EU in 2012, 1% more than in 2011. Late presenters represent 49% of new diagnoses. In the WHO European region—which includes Central Asia—131 202 new cases were reported (8% higher than in 2011). On the whole, 2.2m people live with HIV in the European region, with around half of those people unaware that they are infected. more…

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