Eagle-eyed apoplectics will have noticed that we recently had a general election in what, this week, we’re still calling the United Kingdom. The Scottish National Party had a rather good time of it, and 56 new SNP MPs descended on Westminster this week. Here’s Mhairi Black. She’s the new MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, and, at 20, the youngest MP since the Reform Act of 1832 (at least). She’s having a chip butty on the Commons terrace.
Ye can take the lassie out of … pic.twitter.com/lCUpr4lO6o
— Anne McLaughlin (@AnneMcLaughlin) May 13, 2015
[Read on for yer actual stroke news.
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Throughout the campaign, the rather wonderful Eddie Mair on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme would often turn to his colleagues from More or Less to get the straight dope on the lines he was being fed by various political parties. Everyone will be surprised to hear you can trust them as far as you can throw the late Liberal MP and serial sex offender, Cyril Smith.
With that background, I was interested to see that this Sunday on More or Less, they were talking about strokes. And it turns out that politicians aren’t the they only people who aren’t entirely to be trusted.
This week, shortly-to-be-boycotted house journal of the stroke blog The Guardian ran a story on nine – couldn’t they find one more? – ways for middle-aged people to avoid strokes. You know the drill:
- Stop smoking.
- Take exercise.
- Don’t beat yourself up about not exercising.
- Don’t binge drink, but just stay gently pissed throughout the week.
- Don’t be as fat as Late Serial Sex Offender Cyril Smith.
- et cetera….
Oh, and don’t smoke cannabis. I mean, I don’t know if it’s a problem for strokes. Well, it is if you stuff it in a cigarette. And besides, I’m NHS England’s national clinical director for strokes. Soooo…
– Professor Tony Rudd
This article followed on from a UK Stroke Association announcement that was all over the news earlier in the week, after the charity had looked at recent admission figures to the NHS in England and Wales. In light of discovering that hospitalisations for stroke of men between 40-54 had risen by 46%, and by 30% for women, the Stroke Association blared that the incidence of stroke had ROCKETED!
I assume that one of the reasons that the Stroke Association jumped on these figures quite so hard is because – as the papers noted – these stats applied to “working age sufferers”. And if there’s one thing we should be absolutely aware of after the election campaign, it’s the importance of “#@¢king people”.
Don’t believe me? Here you go:
(Charlie Brooker’s Election Wipe was awesome, by the way.)
So, now one of the means of production is being affected, we have to get serious. It’s not just about doddery old gits and snottery wee bairns.
As all this demonstrates, the Stroke Association is good at getting its message across. Here in Edinburgh, signs at the local Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland charity shops don’t muck about, either.
Money raised in Scotland stays in Scotland!
Jings! I may like the Kinks and cricket, but my views on the relationship between Scotland and rUK are pretty well documented around the site. Still, even I think that taking steps to ensure that my donations don’t help some sassenach strokester is a bit harsh.
However, I’ve been told that the reason for this seemingly cold-hearted declaration is that while I was in the States there was a big hoo-hah about UK charities collecting money throughout Britain, but only distributing those funds in England and Wales. I’ll have to find a citation for that. Watch this space….
Anyway, we’re getting off the point here. Back to Professor Tony Rudd, who popped up on More or Less to discuss the Stroke Association’s claims. He declared that, in his mind, the idea that cases of stroke are rocketing is incorrect. The actual reason for the precipitous increase in stroke admissions, he believes, is as a result of changes in practice meaning a greater proportion of people with strokes being admitted to hosptial, awareness campaigns giving rise to more people submitting themselves to hospital with stroke symptoms, and more “mini-strokes” being admitted. He also points specifically to “better practice and better imaging.”
In fact, Prof. Rudd says that two epidemiological studies that have been running in London and Oxford for a number of years indicate that the incidence of strokes has been falling in recent years, in all age groups.
[The Stroke Association] need to be more robust in their use of data…. No matter your reason, a drug company or a charity, it’s important that the data are used are carefully and accurately as possible.
He’s using “data” as a plural, so I’m going to have to go with him on this one. Man, what’s the world coming to, when you can’t trust a charity? Tough marketplace out there.
Nevertheless, it does seems that the Stroke Association and Chest Heart Stroke Scotland will be needing all the help that’s going soon enough. Prof. Rudd isn’t entirely sanguine.
He notes that issues surrounding obesity and sedentary are problematic, but the data doesn’t support the claim that stroke incidence is rising. He does, however, note that the UK’s increase in diabetes rates arising from these issues is likely to signal strokey trouble ahead.
Step away from the chip butty, Mhairi.
And as for you, Jabba….