Swine Flu – Global Pandemic Threat - loss of life and business disruption

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Governments teams are meeting in emergency sessions around the world to plan urgent responses to Swine Flu Virus (H1N1) after over 1,600 cases were reported in less than 48 hours in Mexico with others reported or suspected in the US, Canada and the UK. By early 27th April 2009 over 1600 cases had already been reported in Mexico with over 100 deaths – up from zero reported cases in just 48 hours. John McCaulay from the National Institute of Medical Research in the UK has said that the death toll could be as high as that from Spanish Flu in 1918-1919 which is thought to have killed 30 million people – out of a much smaller world population – less than half the number of people in the world today.

Even if the spread of Swine Flu Virus is as well contained as Sars was in 2003, it is clear that huge potential exists for business disruption around the world. Sars only infected 8600 people of which 862 died, but wiped billions of dollars from stock markets in South East Asia and caused major challenges for international travel, as well as social chaos in places like Hong Kong where people feared for weeks to gather in public places.  This mutant version of Swine Flu has jumped from pigs to humans, combining it seems elements of bird flu, swine flu, and human flu.  People who have had human flu in the past are unlikely to be protected, nor those recently vaccinated against human flu.

Dr Patrick Dixon, Chairman of Global Change Ltd  said: "We are in a race against time to prevent a global pandemic.  We must also remember that even if the spread of Swine Flu Virus is as well contained as Sars was in 2003, there could still be huge business disruption around the world.  Sars only infected 8600 people in 2003 of which 862 died, but wiped billions of dollars from stock markets in South East Asia and caused major challenges for international travel, as well as social chaos in places like Hong Kong where people feared for weeks to gather in public places. Sars only infected 8,600 before being contained, but this Swine Flu Virus has probably already infected well over 1,600."

* Dr Patrick Dixon is a Futurist, physician, author of The Truth about AIDS, Futurewise and The Genetic Revolution.  He consults to a wide range of multinationals on health-related trends.  Press / media contact:  MEDIA

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Swine Flu - race to prevent pandemic. Sars lessons

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Our world is right on the brink of an unstoppable global pandemic - whether or not this occurs will probably become clear within the next 2-3 weeks.  Less than a week after first cases of severe flu were linked to a mutant Swine Flu virus, Swine Flu was confirmed in Mexico, US, UK, Spain, Israel,New Zealand with over 10 other nations reporting suspected cases.  Swine Flu has spread further and faster than Sars did in 2003 - a virus which caused massive business disruption and social chaos in some parts of the world for several months.   Fortunately, early indications are that those infected are responding well to antiviral therapy, plus treatment of secondary chest infections with antibiotics.  Since 1987 I have been predicting the great vulnerability of our world to new mutant viruses or mutations of existing ones.  Lessons from previous mutant viruses and global pandemics.

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Swine Fever - Urgent - "Lancet" on Global Threat

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Here is the full press release on Swine Flu from the Lancet medical journal.  It highlights the vital role that governments need to take, and also how important it is that people with flu-like symptoms in affected countries stay at home and away from other people.  Those in the poorest nations will be most vulnerable.  Need to do all we can to slow spread even if pandemic looks inevitable in future, to win time to create a vaccine (6 months)

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The Future of Medicine and Health Care

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A revolution is taking place at every level of society and doctors are struggling to keep up. Advances in medical knowledge are outstripping the capacity of a physician's brain, with most knowledge redundant in less than a decade. New drugs, new treatments, new technologies, new diseases - this means new medicine. Old models of care will not survive without radical change over the next decade.

Read more for videos, articles and comments on the future of medicine.

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Warfarin - truth about Warfarin use. Is Warfarin safe?

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Take care with Warfarin. Warfarin is an oral anticoagulant - in other words Warfarin is a drug taken by mouth used to prevent blood clotting.  It used to be known as a rat poison - give rats a lot of Warfarin and they suffer death from internal bleeding.

So did Donald Dewar, the most senior government figure in Scotland and member of the Labour Cabinet, who die on 11 October 2000, mourned across Briatin.  He suffered a fatal brain haemorrhage following a fall,  after recent surgery to replace an aortic heart valve.  The Warfarin successfully prevented clots on the valve, but the Warfarin also thinned his blood,  probably made the bleed worse and made it even more difficult for surgeons to operate.

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Alzheimer's disease - Exelon may slow illness

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Latest news summary - exelon and other treatments.

Exelon was launched in 1997 as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease, and received regulatory approval for Europe in May 1998 - but does it work?  Novartis says it delays the process by around six months.    Now Novartis want to conduct larger studies, having shown that the drug seems to slow down progression in some people in earlier trials of 3,300 people.

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Air ambulance emergency - what really happens in the sky

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Despised for Saving Lives - London's Air Ambulance fights for survival

The Daily Express Air Ambulance in London celebrated its fifth birthday this week. It has saved many lives but has recently been criticised. Dr Patrick Dixon followed a day in the life of the crew.

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Genes and human behavior / personality / psychology

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"My Genes Made Me Do It"

The Nuffield Council of Bioethics is asking all of us what to do if scientists find genes for homosexuality, shyness, intelligence, addiction, violence or any other behavior tendency. The public consultation on genes and human behavior will run until July.

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New Medicine for Designer People

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The impact of the genetic revolution on health services

The genetic revolution will completely redefine the meaning of health, transform disease management and totally wipe out many diseases. It will also create huge resource problems and urgent ethical dilemmas. The same tools to destroy cancer and cure diabetes could also permanently alter the human race. (Lecture outline by Dr Patrick Dixon - physician and futurist).

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Euthanasia

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Mercy Killing and Assisted Suicide. Pro euthanasia? Arguments against euthanasia. History of euthanasia. As a care of the dying specialist in the past I have often been asked to kill people - which is euthanasia, mercy killing or assisted suicide.

The article is based on an address given in the House of Lords.

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