Science News in Brief: Danish research can help heart patients worldwide

Christian Wenande
August 30th, 2018

This article is more than 6 years old.

Elsewhere, there is a double dose of vaccine news and ill tidings about a long-forgotten killer

Research goes straight to the heart (photo: Pixabay)

A new Danish research project has discovered that the length of time patients are admitted to hospital in cases of endocarditis – the infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers and valves – can be drastically reduced.

The research, produced at city hospital Rigshospitalet, shows that the patient’s stay in hospital can be halved from about six to three weeks, without compromising the quality of the treatment.

Every year about 600 Danes are hit by endocarditis – which is currently treated using antibiotics at the hospital. But the new project involved patients getting treatment intravenously followed by taking antibiotic pills at home.

READ MORE: Emergency app could save many lives

World winner
Aside from the obvious health benefits, the new treatment also has a massive economic gain as patients spend far less time laid up in hospitals.

“It’s had a considerable impact on the healing process and for people recovering quicker and being able to return to their work and lives,” Henning Bundgaard, the doctor behind the project, told TV2 News.

“We think this is really big. It’s one of the big cardiovascular news stories this year – internationally.”

HPV vaccine for the boys
The government’s proposal to offer free HPV vaccinations to 12-year-old boys has been met with jubilation in the health sector. The vaccine can protect boys against cancer of the penis, mouth and throat, while simultaneously acting as better protection for girls against the risk of getting cervical cancer. The health minister, Ellen Trane Nørby, said that the government has set aside 40 million kroner for the new vaccines as part of the 2019 budget proposal.

Blood donotions at 70?
A number of players within the health sector want the age limit of blood donors in Denmark to be increased. Currently standing at 67, the age limit has been criticised for being obsolete as there are more elderly today and there is no strong scientific basis for the limit to be 67. Advocates for raising the age limit, including the Danish Patient Safety Authority and Blood Donors in Denmark, hope to kick it up to 70. The EU limit is actually 65, but Denmark has dispensation to have it at 67.

Ominous Spanish Flu prediction
This year exactly a century ago an outbreak of the Spanish Flu killed upwards of 100 million people over a two-year period. It’s been largely gone since then, but a Danish expert contends that similar deadly pandemic could be on the cards in the future. Anders Fomsgaard, a professor at the Virus Research & Development at the State Serum Institute maintains that “it’s just a question of when it will come”. Fomsgaard said that the deadly outbreak will likely come in the form of some kind of mutated flu virus strain.

Measles vaccine for adults a success
The government’s decision earlier this year to permanently offer adults the free chance to be vaccinated for measles has been a resounding success. In the program’s four first months, over 1,600 adults have been vaccinated, compared to just 660 in the same period in 2017. It is expected that 3,600 adults will be vaccinated this year – over twice as many as last year. The offer only extends to those who have not been vaccinated or had measles.


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