Cancer now leading cause of death in high-income countries
Two reports on the PURE study, recently published in the Lancet and presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) in September 2019, have provided unanticipated data on common disease incidence, hospitalization, and death, as well as cardiovascular risk factors in middle-aged men across 21 high-income (HICs), middle-income (MICs), and low-income (LICs) countries.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death among middle-aged men, accountable for 40% of deaths worldwide. Nevertheless, when considering HIC, this is no longer the case. Actually, the second report of the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiologic (PURE) study revealed cancer to be now responsible, in HICs, for twice as many deaths as compared to CVD (Figure).
The PURE study, involving 162,534 middle-aged adults, males or females, from 4 HIC, 12 MIC, and 5 LIC countries followed-up over a median 9.5-year period, reported CVD incidence per 1000 person-years to be 7.1, 6.8, and 4.3 in LICs, MICs, and HICs. Conversely, cancer, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and injuries were all found to be least common in LICs and most common in HICs.
Overall CVD mortality rates were found to be twice as high in LICs versus MICs, and four times as high in LICs versus HICs, whereas cancer rates were quite similar across all countries, irrespective of the income levels.
Reference: Dagenais GR, Leong DP, Rangarajan S, et al. Variations in common diseases, hospital admissions, and deaths in middle-aged adults in 21 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study. Lancet 2019. pii: S0140-6736(19)32007-0. doi: 10.1016/S0140- 6736(19)32007-0. [Epub ahead of print]
Five golden rules for effective writing
Whatever the purpose of your writing, several rules apply to most of your editorial endeavors. Reports and business proposals are often written in poor English, with little thought about the impact they will make. Writing is a skill that needs to be developed like many other skills, but even the most practice- averse can improve their business writing by avoiding some common pitfalls.
- Write to express and not impress: Thus, forget about fame and write what’s worth writing and not to become published and famous.
- Stop being a perfectionist: Therefore, recognize that perfection is a problem, as it is destructive to your self-esteem, mental health, and general well-being.
- Be specific: Avoid the vague and the impressive, but be specific in your choice of words.
- Tackle grammar and punctuation: There are rules for grammar and punctuation that you must respect. In addition, there are rules for style that you should adhere to. A book that we strongly recommend is «Strunk&White» Elements of style.
- Always keep a note book: This will enable you to write down expressive phrases, overheard conversations, as well as ideas, concepts and so on…
Hemophilia: the royal disease
Part 1. Hemophilia is an X-linked recessive hereditary disorder characterized by the inability to properly form blood clots. As the critical blood clotting gene is carried on the X-chromosome, this bleeding disorder is much more common among men than women.
The reason for this is that men carry only one X-chromosome, so if that X-chromosome is defective, the bleeding disorder will immediately become evident. Women, however, carry two X-chromosomes. If only one is defective, the other one is able to compensate unless both X-chromosomes prove to be affected. For this reason, female hemophiliacs are scarce: the two X-chromosomes must be affected in order for the condition to become apparent.
Hemophilia has played a crucial role in Europe’s history. It suddenly showed up among the children of Great Queen Victoria, occurring in her eighth child, Prince Leopold, the Duke of Albany. This son, always described as very delicate, suffered from recurrent bleeding episodes. He was the only child of Queen Victoria’s to be affected by the disorder.
The traditional view is that a spontaneous mutation occurred in either Queen Victoria herself or in her father, Edward August, the Duke of Kent. From there, the mutation spread through the Royal Houses of Europe and thus popped up in Spain, Russia, and Prussia.
Stephen Hawking and his terminal illness
While terminal illness is not a psychiatric disorder per se, this condition can precipitate tremendous emotional responses in certain individuals. To illustrate, Stephen Hawking suffered from motor neuron disease. When he was informed of the diagnosis in 1963, he was galvanized and initiated numerous research projects.
Thus, it can be assumed that the realization of one’s imminent demise can immensely focus the mind. In the case of Stephen Hawking, when he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), he had just turned 21, and few thought he would live longer than a couple of years. Indeed, Stephen Hawking himself started to notice the first symptoms of his disease while he was studying at Oxford University. He felt clumsy and fell over multiple times for no reason.
While the average life expectancy of subjects affected by ALS is between 2 to 4 years, Stephen Hawking lived for another 50 years after his ALS diagnosis was established. According to several experts, such as Professor Nigel Leight of King’s College London, the explanation for his long survival might be as follows: Subjects who develop the condition when they are still rather young tend to survive longer. It has also been suggested by others that Professor Hawking’s long survival could be attributed to a combination of the care he received and his disease’s biology.