JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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High risk for a heart attack? Might be better if your cardiologist is away at a conference

Researchers at Harvard wondered if high risk heart patients were more likely to die if they turned up at the hospital during national cardiology meetings when most of the experts are not around. Instead, it turns out that mortality rates during the conferences fell from 70% to 60%. Oops.

Who do you want to see if you’re sick? In this situation, possibly not your specialist.

High-risk patients with certain acute heart conditions are more likely to survive than other similar patients if they are admitted to the hospital during national cardiology meetings, when many cardiologists are away from their regular practices.

Sixty percent of patients with cardiac arrest who were admitted to a teaching hospital during the days when cardiologists were at scientific meetings died within 30 days, compared to 70 percent of patients who were admitted on non-meeting days.

“That’s a tremendous reduction in mortality, better than most of the medical interventions that exist to treat these conditions,” said study senior author Anupam Jena, assistant professor of health care policy at HMS, internist at Massachusetts General Hospital and faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. There is substantial ambiguity in how medical care [...]

Evidence suggests global warming is good for our health

While half a million people starve each year we feed 6.5% of the world grain to cars. Image credit: "Corn for cars", From Viv Forbes. Click on the image to read the carbonsense post.

After I wrote Wasting money on climate change betrays sick in The  Weekend Australian, Fiona Armstrong of the Climate and Health Alliance replied with Climate action has clear public health dividend.  Here’s why she’s missing the main point (saving lives).

Fiona Armstrong claims that there are substantial health gains possible from climate action, and waved the banner of scientific integrity and “fact”. Unfortunately for Armstrong, the mortal facts from countries all over the world show that more people die in colder weather. Any statistic that suggests climate change is killing people only survives as long as we ignore the number of people saved.

Medical studies rarely show such unanimity. The results stand whether you look at seasonal or daily temperatures, extremes or averages, cold locations versus warm ones, or the trend in flood deaths and droughts. No matter where you live, whether you ail in your heart, or your lungs: You’re less likely to die in warmer weather.

If we could control the planet’s thermostat, [...]