Pulse Magazine: February 2010



BNP predicts the risk of heart failure in older people

The study involved 2,975 community-dwelling older adults who were free of heart failure. Their N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) levels were measured at baseline then two to three years later.

The researchers found NT-proBNP was an independent predictor of the outcomes. Cases with the highest levels of the marker were more than three times more likely to develop heart failure and cardiovascular death than those with the lowest levels.

Changes in the level of NT-proBNP were also found to predict risk. Of cases who with an initially high level of NT-proBNP, a 25% increase was associated with a doubled risk of developing heart failure and 90% increase in the risk of cardiovascular death, compared with patients with unchanged levels. A 25% decrease in NT-proBNP appeared to decrease risk.

Dr Christopher deFilippi from, the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said: ‘NT-proBNP levels may guide further diagnostic testing or potential preventative measures to reduce the risk of developing heart failure or dying of cardiovascular disease.’

J Am Coll Cardiol 2010;55:441-50#mce_temp_url#





Last Updated on Saturday, 21 August 2010 12:58

Leicester Med bulletin: Spring 2010




A year ago I had just a couple of student newspaper articles under my belt and was getting ready to nervously sit finals.  Today I am a Features Editor for Junior Dr magazine and I have written for one of the most prestigious doctors magazines in the country.

The change started when I embarked on an intercalated degree in medical journalism at the University of Westminster.

I had my doubts over the course requirements, which asked for medical students with a strong motivation towards journalism as a career and a history of involvement in publications.  I told Dr Heney of my concerns and he encouraged me to apply.

The application was daunting: a detailed form, two references, an outline for an investigative feature aimed at a national broadsheet and a transcript of my medical school results.

And the interview was even more overwhelming.  I had to take part in a debate with students applying for a journalism masters course and then be interviewed on my awareness of current affairs.

Luckily I got a place and started the one year degree last October.  The course intake is very small, with just one other medical student taking the degree with me.  So we sit our classes with the Masters Journalism students.

As a student journalist I have witnessed news as it unfolds.  Sitting in the press gallery in one of last year’s biggest cases at the Old Bailey, I reported on the trial of two young girls who were found guilty of manslaughter.  They had bullied a vicar’s daughter, which lead to her jumping to her death from a window.

I was also at the General Medical Council hearing of Dr Al-Zayyat who has allegations



of professional misconduct against her over the death of Baby P.

Another article saw me reporting from the press gallery in a coroner’s court on the death of a woman who had jumped from her balcony killing herself and her baby after losing her benefits.

The course requires students to take part in a work placement at a medical journal.  I chose to go to Pulse Magazine, a 50-year-old publication for general practitioners.  The placement allowed me to write numerous articles for the website and the printed publication.

One of the most significant events I covered was the GMC verdict on Andrew Wakefield.  Over the years I had watched the MMR scandal unfold and now I was responsible for informing doctors of the latest developments.

The degree has given me the opportunity to meet other journalists, one of which appointed me as a Features Editor for Junior Dr magazine.

The course involves learning the journalism skills involved in print and online journalism.  There is only one module on medical journalism specifically but the teaching is tailored so students can transfer their abilities to any subject.

In the first semester students are thrown in at the deep end and told to go to a randomly allocated place in London and find a story.  Unfortunately I was told to go to Soho.  Wandering around the red light district at 9pm at night with a reporters notebook certainly raised a few eyebrows.

Students have to follow the news and set up a news website and blog, I currently blog about medical current affairs.

Taking the course has allowed me to experience the fast paced, exciting world of journalism, it’s given me opportunities to watch the news unfold and to gain valuable experience writing for medical publications.

The BA Hons in Medical Journalism is a one year degree from the University of Westminster.

Applications for 2010 intake are open now: information on the course and applying is available through contacting Dave Haddock, Admissions and Marketing Office, 020 7911 5951.

Yvette’s blog, Medic News is at




Last Updated on Saturday, 21 August 2010 13:00
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