Atrial fibrillation after surgery is linked to an increased risk of hospitalization for heart failure

People who develop an abnormal heart rhythm after surgery have an increased risk of subsequently being admitted to hospital with heart failure, according to a study of over three million patients, which is published in the European Heart Journal [1]. An abnormal, often rapid, heart rhythm is known as atrial fibrillation (AF), and the study […]

Cancer clinical trials bounce back after significant COVID-19 disruption: data from two large US cancer centres

Data from two large cancer centres in the United States have shown that the COVID-19 pandemic caused substantial disruption to clinical trials for cancer treatment and care. The research, published in the leading cancer journal Annals of Oncology [1], shows that, compared to the immediate pre-pandemic period, there was a 46% decrease in new patient […]

New retinal examination can predict a heart attack

Vienna, Austria: Combining information about the pattern of blood vessels in the retina with genetic data can enable accurate prediction of an individual’s risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) and its potentially fatal outcome, myocardial infarction (MI), commonly known as a heart attack. The discovery could lead to a simple screening process where an MI […]

Rapid whole genome sequencing improves diagnosis in critically ill infants on a national scale

Vienna, Austria: Children who are born severely ill or who develop serious illness in the first few weeks of life are often difficult to diagnose, with considerable implications for their short and longer-term care. But whole genome sequencing1 (WGS), carried out rapidly, can provide an accurate diagnosis and therefore lead to improvements in their clinical […]

Incidental findings in genomics: how does their utility balance with their psychological effect on patients?

Vienna, Austria: As the cost of genome and exome1 sequencing falls, its use in characterising rare diseases and personalising cancer treatment, for example, is becoming far more frequent. But such analyses may throw up findings unrelated to the condition for which it has been requested. What to do with these secondary findings (SFs) or incidental […]

Thalidomide is an effective treatment for abnormal blood vessel formations

Vienna, Austria: The same properties that caused birth defects when it was given to pregnant women, the inhibition of blood vessel formation (anti-angiogenesis), have led to an interest in thalidomide’s therapeutic utility in other fields. At the annual conference of the European Society for Human Genetics on Sunday, Professor Miikka Vikkula, from the de Duve […]

Personalised testing for safety and effectiveness of common medicines must be offered throughout the NHS

Testing patients for genetic variations that affect how their body will respond to common medicines must be integrated fully, fairly and swiftly into the NHS, according to a report published by the British Pharmacological Society and the Royal College of Physicians. The report – Personalised prescribing: using pharmacogenomics to improve patient outcomes – explains how […]

Are statin side effects all in the mind? International experts recommend ways to improve adherence to statin therapy

For the first time, an international group of experts has issued recommendations to doctors about how to distinguish between true side effects caused by statins that have been prescribed in order to lower cholesterol levels and side effects arising due to patients’ expectations that they will occur. The position paper from the International Lipid Expert […]

Salt in soluble paracetamol linked to increase risk of cardiovascular disease and death

Doctors have warned that people should try to avoid taking dissolving, fizzy paracetamol that contains salt, following findings from a large study that shows a link with a significantly increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, heart failure and death. The study of nearly 300,000 patients registered with UK general practitioners (GPs) is published in the […]

Smoking before and after conception is linked to delayed embryonic development

Smoking by mothers during the period immediately before and after conception is linked to a delay in embryonic development, smaller foetuses at the time of the 20-week ultrasound scan, and lower birth weight. The study, which is published in Human Reproduction [1], one of the world’s leading reproductive medicine journals, followed 689 women with singleton […]