I was lucky enough to be interviewed live on The Naked Scientists radio show this week. They were interested in some work we published, with colleagues in Edinburgh, in Nature Communications. The work was led by Agnese Irkle, Alex Vesey and Anthony Davenport. The paper is about predicting risk of heart attack and stroke, using imaging with sodium fluoride PET. That's the same stuff that's in toothpaste, a fact which the Daily Mail could not resist mentioning.
Our paper has made a big impact in terms of online interest, as demonstrated by an Altmetric score of 61. Whether this translates into future citations remains to be seen. Some studies, admittedly over short periods have shown correlations between new world and old world metrics.
And on BBC Radio 5 Live, explaining how to live longer using diet and exercise.
And again on The Naked Scientists on one of their Q and A shows.
A useful state of the art review of calcium imaging in the coronary arteries by Harvey Hecht appeared recently in JACC Imaging (Hecht, H.S. J Am Coll Cardiol Img. 2015; 8(5):579–96).
The paper is behind the Journal's paywall, but you can request a reprint from the author by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I enjoyed particularly the discussion on repeat calcium imaging, asymptomatic screening and radiation dose reduction strategies.
This (free) figure sums it up well.
Is there a role for blood biomarkers in stroke?
A thorough review can be found here, from a recent edition of Stroke journal. The authors conclude:
The need to improve the diagnosis of stroke and cause of stroke has motivated the search for biomarkers. Although sev- eral markers have shown promise, as yet none have sufficient evidence to support use in clinical practice. Ischemic stroke is a heterogeneous disorder and a single biomarker may not be able to reflect this complexity. A biomarker panel may be able to better reflect the diverse pathophysiology involved in stroke and thereby distinguish ischemic stroke from hemorrhage, predict which TIAs proceed to stroke, and predict causes of stroke. Initial studies of biomarker panels indicate improved diagnostic sensitivity and specificity can be achieved in stroke relative to individual markers. However, efforts are needed to better define the molecular biology of stroke including determination of the involved proteins, RNA, metabolites, and lipids. Omic-based approaches are proving useful to identify novel markers relevant to stroke biology and biomarker development. As these markers are identified, assembling them into biomarker panels offers promise to achieve the rigorous requirements of a diagnostic clinical stroke biomarker.
Seems like the field is similar to myocardial infarction biomarkers was a decade or more ago.
Babylon looks like it will be a hit. Not sure how it will scale for specialties that rely on examination or tests though. Excited to follow how this works out.
Inspiring video from the CEO Ali Parsa here, courtesy of Wired.
Some brilliant advice for science (and most other) writers.
Aspiring science writer? Every year we run a series of posts collecting anecdotes and advice from professional science writers as part of the Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize. You can find all the posts from 2011-present below. And if you like these, why not read the shortlisted entries from the last few years, including the winners.
An interview I did with the Nuclear Medicine podcast is now live. We discussed NaF imaging to predict heart attack, the future of imaging biomarkers and the England cricket team.
Another interview I conducted for Heart journal at the 2014 ESC is now live.
In this episode of the Heart podcast, Dr James Rudd, associate editor, sits down to talk with Prof Valentin Fuster, director of Mount Sinai Heart and physician-in-chief at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, at the ESC meeting in Barcelona. They discuss his ground-breaking work in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in children and young adults across the world and the role of imaging in identifying early heart disease. Prof. Fuster also explains the rationale behind the polypill and how he came to have his own character on Sesame Street.
I've been performing some interviews for Heart that are now published as podcasts. I will update this post with new ones as they become available.
Cardiac Electrophysiology in 2014
Recorded at the 2014 British Cardiovascular Society meeting in Manchester, Heart associate editor Dr James Rudd talks to Dr Arthur Yue, consultant electrophysiologist at the University Hospital of Southampton. In this podcast, they discuss the expanding roles of electrophysiological specialists in managing arrhythmias, accessory pathways and the new upcoming NICE guidelines on atrial fibrillation.
Is climbing Everest good for my heart, doctor?
Recorded at the 2014 British Cardiovascular Society meeting in Manchester, Heart associate editor Dr James Rudd talks to Dr Rob Casserley, summiteer of Everest, and his wife and cardiologist Marie-Kristelle Ross. Rob initially worked as surgeon and is now a GP with a specialist interest in altitude and expedition medicine. He has climbed Everest eight times, including double summits in spring 2007 and spring 2010, and is the first-ever Western climber to have achieved this feat. He was been featured in "Everest ER", a BBC 1 documentary series about medicine and climbing on Everest. He assisted Sir Ranulph Fiennes as doctor, guide and cameraman in a 2008 climb of Everest. In this episode of the Heart podcast, they discuss high altitude, endurance sports and their effects on the heart and lungs in both health and disease.