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Tiago Villanueva

The BMJ Today: Helping GPs make better decisions

17 Jul, 14 | by BMJ

tiago_villanuevaAfter being one year out of clinical practice, and working full time in medical editing at The BMJ, I decided to take some time off from work and return this week to the trenches of the healthcare system as a locum GP in my native Portugal, where I remain licensed to practice. I personally feel that it is very important for clinicians who are also professional editors to stay in active clinical practice, even if it’s only to a small extent. I think one job ends up enhancing the other. As editors, we get to easily stay up to date and at the cutting edge of knowledge, but as clinicians, contact with the often complex problems of real patients helps us to more easily identify the learning needs of doctors. more…

Tiago Villanueva: The global burden of physical inactivity on health

12 Jun, 14 | by BMJ

tiago_villanuevaThe World Cup is now here, but for many of us that just means we will be watching the matches from our couch at home, or, if you’re one of the lucky ones, from the stands in Brazil’s stadiums. Ironically, such a high profile sporting event will foster sedentary behaviour in a lot of us, by making us sit in front of the television for countless hours, especially if our team goes far in the competition.

I recently had the chance to listen to Dr Pedro Hallal—a Brazilian academic and researcher from the Federal University of Pelotas—give a talk in Central London, which was organised by C3 Collaborating for Health. Hallal discussed his research into the effects of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases; of which a great deal has been published in several Lancet series, most recently this one on physical activity in 2012. more…

Tiago Villanueva: Should we “own” our health?

19 May, 14 | by BMJ

Tiago_Villanueva

I don’t often have the chance to meet people like Ron Dembo, who have a vision and ideas that could change the world, or at least the world of healthcare. Dembo is the CEO and Founder of Zerofootprint, a software and services company that makes environmental impact measurable, visible, and manageable to businesses, governments, institutions, and individuals. His company reduces environmental risk and cost through behavioural change and has recently entered the healthcare arena too. more…

Tiago Villanueva: Have you started planning your death?

13 May, 14 | by BMJ

Tiago_VillanuevaI have to admit I always try to steer away from any uncomfortable thoughts about death concerning myself or my loved ones, and I have realized that I have never given a thought, let alone done any of the five things recommended by the coalition Dying Matters to both live and die well. They recommend writing your will, telling loved ones your wishes, recording your funeral wishes, planning your future care and support, and registering as an organ donor. I am perhaps the product of what is in many ways a “death denying society.” more…

Tiago Villanueva: Medical education and healthcare in the Philippines

5 Mar, 14 | by BMJ

Tiago_VillanuevaMy Filipino roots and family ties usually take me to the Philippines once a year, but this year my trip was unusual as I had the chance to make contact with the local healthcare and medical education system. This was all unplanned as a relative has been receiving hospital treatment and I ended up visiting a private hospital in the Philippine capital—Metro Manila. I also ended up unexpectedly being invited to give a presentation at one of Metro Manila’s medical schools. more…

Tiago Villanueva: Are vegetarian diets better for health?

5 Feb, 14 | by BMJ

Tiago_VillanuevaOne might think that vegetarian diets are better for one’s health, but that is not necessarily the case, as it is possible to be vegetarian and consume predominantly “empty calories” like French fries or biscuits. But balanced and appropriately planned vegetarian diets could make a considerable difference to one’s health, according to Annemarie Ijkema, a project manager for the Thursday Veggie day campaign, set up by the Belgium based non-profit organization Ethical Vegetarian Alternative (EVA), which has been launched in several cities in Belgium. She was recently in London for a breakfast seminar at the King’s Fund organized by C3 Collaborating for Health. In general, she said, these diets have fewer saturated fatty acids and less cholesterol, and greater amounts of fibre, folate, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and carotenoids. They also lead to a decrease in the incidence of obesity, heart disease, hypertension, and type II diabetes. more…

Tiago Villanueva: What have I learnt from dealing with an in-flight medical emergency?

28 Nov, 13 | by BMJ

Tiago_VillanuevaRecently I was confronted with a medical emergency on board a short haul to Europe. The problem was a case of syncope, which is the most common in-flight medical emergency.

It was the first time I heard the phrase “Is there a doctor on board?” and I was apparently the only doctor on that flight. I learnt quite a lot from the experience, and it has made me think about what I should do now to be as prepared as possible in case this happens again, considering that I fly very often.

So, what I have learned exactly from this experience? more…

Tiago Villanueva: Is active travel good for health?

14 Nov, 13 | by BMJ

Tiago_VillanuevaIf you thought Australia was the envy of the rest of the world in terms of having the most physically active people, think again. Peter McCue, executive officer for the New South Wales Premier’s Council for Active Living, recently gave a talk entitled, “Walk hand in hand: health and transport collaborations,” organised by C3 Collaborating for Health. According to him, Australia is actually a car based society comparable with the United States rather than with countries like the Netherlands or Denmark, where active travel (walking or cycling to work) is quite established, or with cities like London, where run-commuting (running to work) is popular. more…

Tiago Villanueva: Should medical students spend time in resource poor settings?

25 Oct, 13 | by BMJ

Tiago_VillanuevaI believe firmly in the importance of medical students and doctors engaging in international experiences, and in the international mobility of doctors. So I decided to go along to a conference on the 11 October, organised by the Medical Schools Council entitled, “Working together for ethical, educational, and safe placements at home and abroad.”

In the United Kingdom, medical students are entitled to carry out an “elective,” which usually comprises spending a few weeks or months towards the end of medical school learning or working in another country’s health system. According to Ben Kummwenda, who works in the University of Dundee’s Responsible Electives Programme, around 6500 students in the UK go on electives every year, and 50% go to resource poor countries. The average time of an elective is around six weeks. more…

Tiago Villanueva: The obesity epidemic in Mexico

9 Oct, 13 | by BMJ

Tiago_VillanuevaI recently learned that about 38% of the calories consumed by pregnant women in Mexico comes from the consumption of sugary drinks, like sodas. Mexico also has the highest consumption of Coca-cola per capita of anywhere else in the world. Not surprisingly, Mexico also has the highest growth of obesity rates in the world. Mexico’s geographical proximity to the United States does not appear to help, since the highest prevalence of being overweight and obese is in male adolescents who have migrated to the United States.

Homero Martinez, a paediatrician and a senior researcher at the RAND corporation, who is originally from Mexico, was recently at a breakfast seminar in central London organised by the NGO C3 Collaborating for Health. He was there to present the results of the most recent national health and nutrition survey which took place in 2012 (he stressed he had no involvement with the survey, so the results are not his). This survey encompassed 50 528 households in 32 Mexican states, which amounts to 194 923 individuals (Mexico has a population of around 115 million people). more…

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