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April 30, 2008

Indian heart disease \’more severe than in West\’

Filed under: Archived,Asia,Health,India,Science and technology — admin @ 5:00 am

Indian heart disease ‘more severe than in West’

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

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Heart disease in Indians is often more severe and occurs in younger people than in developed countries, a study has found.

Publishing their findings in The Lancet last week, an Indian-Canadian team of researchers analysed data on 20,937 people who suffered heart attacks, collected from 89 centres spread across 50 cities in India from 2001–2005.

They then compared this data with similar studies in developed countries.

The researchers found that 60 per cent of the patients had a severe form of heart disease, compared with around 40 per cent in developed countries. Indian patients are also younger, with a mean age of 57 years rather than 63–68 years.

Three-quarters of Indian heart disease patients are from low socioeconomic backgrounds. The poorer patients receive medical attention late, for reasons including lack of awareness of the symptoms and poor access to ambulances.

Poorer Indians are also less likely to receive treatments proven to save lives. The study indicates that higher death rates in poor patients are not because of differences in risk factors, but because of differences in treatment.

And the actual number of deaths could be higher as many patients might have died before reaching the hospital, the researchers say.

“Prior to this study, we did not have data of similar nature and magnitude from a developing country,” Denis Xavier, associate professor at St. John’s National Academy, Bangalore, and lead author of the study, told SciDev.Net.

Eighty per cent of the 7.1 million deaths due to heart disease in 2001 took place in poor countries, and India is expected to account for 60 per cent of the heart disease burden by 2010.

Between 1990 and 2020, the number of men with heart disease in developing countries is expected to increase by 137 per cent, and women by 120 per cent, compared to 30–60 per cent in developed countries.

“India is a likely representative of other nations facing similar socioeconomic challenges,” says Kim Eagle, cardiology professor at the University of Michigan Medical Center, United States, and author of an accompanying comment article about the research in The Lancet.

“The increasing obesity epidemic, high rate of smoking in certain populations, and variable availability of modern medications and treatments creates a situation where coronary prevention efforts are far from optimal,” he told the Science and Development Network.

Eagle says India — and developing countries in general — could take cues from developed countries’ successful strategies to reduce risk factors for heart disease, such as banning smoking from public places, increasing taxes on tobacco and promoting awareness of diet.



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Dolphin dies during performance at theme park

Dolphin dies during performance at theme park

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Dolphin Pool at Discovery Cove.
Image: Michael Lowin.

A dolphin has died after a collision with another dolphin in mid-air during a stunt performance at Discovery Cove, a sister park of SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. This is the first time an incident of this nature has ever occurred since the park opened in 2000.

The dolphin, a 30-year-old female named ‘Sharky’ collided in mid-air, head on, with her co-performer ‘Tyler’, a 13-year-old male, during a live show at the park on Saturday April 26. Sharky died a short time later after suffering head injuries. Tyler was not injured, but is still being observed closely.

Both dolphins have successfully completed the stunt over 100 previous times, but this time it is reported that Sharky miscalculated her jump. At least 30 people were watching the show when they collided.

“This is a very unfortunate and very rare incident. While it is not unusual to have two animals performing at the same time, we are reviewing the situation to ensure even such a random incident does not occur again. We never had animals collide before,” said a spokeswoman for the park, Becca Bides.

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Livingstone brands Boris \’a joke\’ in London mayoral elections

Livingstone brands Boris ‘a joke’ in London mayoral elections

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ken Livingstone in January 2008
Image: World Economic Forum.

Boris Johnson in 2006
Image: johnhemming.

On the final day of campaigning before the vote in the London mayoral election, incumbent Ken Livingstone attacked main rival Boris Johnson as “a joke”. He warned Londoners that they were not voting in a “Celebrity Mayor” contest.

Livingstone unveiled a campaign poster in West Ham that will also be printed on postcards and sent to one million Londoners. It reads: “Don’t vote for a joke. Vote for London.”

“It’s not an election for the host of Have I Got News For You or a celebrity mayor. It’s about who is best placed to run an £11bn budget every year,” Mayor Livingstone said, referring to the panel game show, for which Boris Johnson has been a guest host.

“Tomorrow you have a choice between new policies and fresh energy from a new mayor in City Hall or more of the same from a tired, out-of-date administration that is beset by allegations of sleaze,” responded Johnson in a mass e-mail to over 500,000 voters. “I am optimistic about London’s future and believe we can make London a greater place to live in.”

London will be voting for mayor tomorrow, May 1. Ken Livingstone is the candidate for The Labour Party and Boris Johnson is the candidate for the Conservative Party. There are a number of other candidates, but recent opinion polls have shown it to be a two-person race, with some polls predicting a victory for Livingstone and others Johnson.



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