Current Issue


War on Hospitals

The ongoing attacks on healthcare facilities in Yemen and Syria is a tragic consequence of these devastating conflicts. In July 2016 alone, there were at least 10 confirmed attacks on health facilities in Aleppo city. Dr Ala Alwan, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, issued a strongly worded statement calling on political leaders to exercise their political will and bring an end to the "war on hospitals". The doctors practising in these conflict zones deserve supreme praise. We report on the conditions and circumstances in which the few remaining doctors in Syria are operating and the heart-wrenching decisions with which they are confronted on a daily basis.

An important study recently published in The Lancet Global Health shows that life expectancy in the region has been significantly reduced due to conflict. The Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 shows that between 2010 and 2013, Yemen, Tunisia, and Egypt lost about three months of life expectancy, whilst the war in Syria has cut six years off average life expectancy. As Ali Mokdad, Professor of Global Health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, comments: "Life expectancy decline is traditionally regarded as a sign that the health and social systems are failing. The fact that this is happening in several countries indicates there is an immediate need to invest in these healthcare systems." Read a summary of the report and its key finding in this issue.

In every issue we cover a lot of important newly published healthcare research from medical scientists around the world. In this issue, one of these reports deserves to be highlighted. A study published recently in the International Journal of Epidemiology sounds a warning bell about the use of paracetamol during pregnancy. The study found that the extensive use of paracetamol during pregnancy is associated with an increase in autism spectrum symptoms in boys and for both genders an association with attentionrelated and hyperactivity symptoms.

In our focus on X-ray imaging, we look at Siemens Healthcare's new Multitom Rax - the world's first twin robotic X-ray system which is being referred to as radiology's answer to the Swiss army knife because of its wide array of applications and ease of use. We also look at a smartphone App released by The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa, which is designed to help health professionals decide when to order X-rays and CT scans.

Also in this issue, you'll find more news from the region, the world and research developments.

Stay informed.

Callan Emery

(Sep-Oct 2016)

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