Newsroom

Return of black-tailed godwit chicks after three years is the highlight of breeding season at WWT Welney

Ely Standard - Thu, 30/06/2016 - 17:22

The successful fledging of eight black-tailed godwit chicks was the highlight of another successful breeding season at WWT Welney.

Categories: Local Press

Head of Ofsted raises concerns over performance of Cambridgeshire’s schools

Ely Standard - Thu, 30/06/2016 - 16:59

The chief inspector of schools has highlighted concerns about the performance of high schools in Cambridgeshire.

Categories: Local Press

Chance to explore Fenland’s waterways at Haddenham biodiversity workshop

Ely Standard - Thu, 30/06/2016 - 16:20

Time is running out to secure a place on a course that offers a rare insight into aquatic life in Fenland’s miles of waterways.

Categories: Local Press

Suffolk County Council backs motion to stamp out hate crime

Newmarket Journal - Thu, 30/06/2016 - 15:44
Suffolk County Council has supported a motion condemning hate crime in the county.
Categories: Local Press

Renewed appeal after rape in Hadleigh

Newmarket Journal - Thu, 30/06/2016 - 15:41
Police investigating a reported rape in Hadleigh are renewing appeals for anyone in the area between around 11pm and midnight last Thursday to come forward.
Categories: Local Press

Suffolk fire cuts motion blocked again

Newmarket Journal - Thu, 30/06/2016 - 15:28
Campaigners who helped stop cuts to Sudbury fire station have been praised as Suffolk County Council Labour group again calls for cuts to Suffolk’s fire service to be dropped.
Categories: Local Press

Dive under the sea when Viva’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ comes to Soham

Ely Standard - Thu, 30/06/2016 - 14:33

Find yourself under the sea when Viva theatre group brings their production of ‘The Little Mermaid’ to Soham this month.

Categories: Local Press

Plans for over 100 ‘convenient’ and ‘safer’ parking spaces at Ely railway station to be submitted by East Cambs District Council

Ely Standard - Thu, 30/06/2016 - 14:26

Commuters that use Ely railway station could be set to receive a boost of 100 additional parking spaces if a planning application submitted by East Cambridgeshire District Council is approved.

Categories: Local Press

Norfolk-Suffolk devolution plan to go on despite votes against, government says

Newmarket Journal - Thu, 30/06/2016 - 14:14
The government has insisted it will persist with devolution proposals for Norfolk and Suffolk despite three district councils rejecting them.
Categories: Local Press

Bright Horizons Ely Day Nursery brings dash of colour to a rainy summer’s day with mark making event

Ely Standard - Thu, 30/06/2016 - 11:19

Bright Horizons Ely Day Nursery and Preschool have used the wet British summer weather to great effect by mark making in the rain.

Categories: Local Press

A little act of kindness goes a long way - Littleport mum sets up Have A Heart campaign to promote racial tolerance

Ely Standard - Thu, 30/06/2016 - 11:15

A Littleport mum, who teaches English to eastern European students, is launching a campaign to encourage communities to stamp out racial intolerance.

Categories: Local Press

Highfields Special School’s fundraising wheels are now in motion thanks to donation from Bartrams Mobility Centre

Ely Standard - Thu, 30/06/2016 - 10:22

An Ely school that supports children with educational needs has received a boost by a local mobility company in the form of a new paediatric wheelchair.

Categories: Local Press

Two injured after lorry crashes into a tree by the A10 near Ely, Cambridgeshire

Ely Standard - Thu, 30/06/2016 - 10:19

Two people have been injured after a lorry crashed into a tree on the A10 near Ely.

Categories: Local Press

Chatteris man hospitalised after lorry overturns on A142 near Mepal - Magpas air ambulance flies to the scene

Ely Standard - Thu, 30/06/2016 - 10:19

A Chatteris man was hospitalised yesterday after the 32 tonne lorry he was driving overturned on the A142 near Mepal.

Categories: Local Press

The Chiltern Choir

Events - Thu, 30/06/2016 - 10:16
Date:  Sunday, 31 July 2016 - 1:10pm - 3:10pm

Ely Cathedral presents their "Lunchtime Concert" - The Chiltern Choir.
 

About the Chiltern Choir

The Chiltern Choir is a friendly mixed-voice choir of around 70 members based in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire. Founded in 1968 as a small madrigal group based at the local Arts Centre, its membership increased steadily until 1980 when it became The Chiltern Choir.

Cost: 

Concert included in purchase of Cathedral Admittance Ticket

Telephone:  01353 667735 Location Ely Cathedral Ely United Kingdom See map: Google Maps

read more

Mildenhall’s open gardens grow £1,500 for Guide Dogs

Newmarket Journal - Thu, 30/06/2016 - 09:58
Mildenhall’s first open gardens in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind raised nearly £1,500 last Sunday.
Categories: Local Press

Three academies take on challenge

Newmarket Journal - Thu, 30/06/2016 - 06:45
Sixth formers from three Suffolk academies will soon be battling it out in a competition to prove who has the superior mental and physical agility.
Categories: Local Press

Alleged hacker fears he will ‘commit suicide’ if jailed in US

Newmarket Journal - Wed, 29/06/2016 - 16:42
A vicar’s son accused of hacking into the computer systems of Nasa, the FBI and other US Government departments said he fears he will commit suicide if he’s locked up in an American jail.
Categories: Local Press

Lorry overturns on A142 near Mepal after driver suffers medical emergency

Ely Standard - Wed, 29/06/2016 - 16:03

A 32 tonne lorry overturned on the A142 near Mepal this morning when the driver suffered a medical emergency.

Categories: Local Press

Heart attacks linked to media statin reports ... reports media

NHS Choices - Behind the Headlines - Wed, 29/06/2016 - 16:00

"Don't give up your statins: Experts say warnings that made patients stop taking vital drug have put lives at risk," the Daily Mail reports.

This was the same newspaper that told us two weeks ago that "statins may be a waste of time", so you might be forgiven for being a little confused.

In October 2013, negative media coverage surrounded two articles run by the BMJ, which suggested that the risks of statins may outweigh the benefits of the drugs in preventing heart attacks and strokes.

The articles also said the link between cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases was unproven.

At the time, they were widely reported at face value, with little discussion of their limitations.

A new study aimed to estimate the effect of this intense media coverage in 2013 on the use of statins in the UK.

It found people who were already taking statins were more likely to stop taking them after exposure to a six-month period where media coverage around this topic was particularly intense.

The media coverage was not associated with any effect on people who had been newly prescribed statins.

The researchers estimated that 218,971 people stopped taking statins in the six months after the media coverage, which could potentially be associated with between 2,000 and 6,000 excess cardiovascular events.

This latest study is unable to confirm cause and effect, but it does highlight the impact that health reporting can have.

While uncertainties in science should always be reported, far too often the media will report a dissenting opinion as if it were proven fact.

Perhaps the most notorious example of this was the poor reporting on the now thoroughly discredited alleged link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the University of Manchester, and the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences. It was funded by the British Heart Foundation.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal (BMJ) on an open access basis and is free to read online.

Generally, the media coverage of this study was accurate, but much of the tone of the reporting was arguably hypocritical.

Many media sources appeared to be placing the blame solely on the authors of the 2013 articles, without acknowledging their own role in promoting fear and uncertainty about the use of statins.

For example, at the time the Daily Express' headline was, "Doctors change their minds after 40 years", even though the articles represented a minority opinion.

What kind of research was this?

This was an ecological interrupted time-series study that aimed to estimate the effect on the use of statins in the UK after a six-month period of intense media coverage about the risks and benefits of the drugs.

Ecological studies are good for studying populations or communities, rather than individuals.

In this case, the study is useful for establishing national patterns of statin use, but cannot imply cause and effect between usage and the intense media coverage. There may be other factors influencing changes in statin use.

What did the research involve?

The researchers used prospectively collected data from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), which is a database of primary care data from GP surgeries.

The data covers about 6.9% of the UK population, and is broadly representative in terms of age and sex.

The analysis was an interrupted time-series design, where the exposure period to high media coverage was defined as October 2013 to March 2014.

The researchers compared patterns of statin initiation and cessation before and after this time period.

They then calculated the proportions of patients initiating and stopping statin treatment for every month from January 2011 to March 2015.

Potential confounders such as smoking and obesity were controlled for. The analysis only included patients over the age of 40.

Statin initiation was defined as having no previous record of statin prescriptions, and statin cessation as having ended statin prescriptions within that calendar month.

On the assumption of a link between the media coverage and changes in statin use, the researchers estimated the potential public health impact by comparing the number of cardiovascular events among these patients.

What were the basic results?

The study's main finding was that patients already taking statins were more likely to stop after exposure to the high media coverage compared with before.

The stoppage rates were similar both for those who were taking statins because of cardiovascular risk factors, but who had not yet had a stroke or heart attack (primary prevention: odds ratio [OR] 1.11, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05 to 1.18), and for those who had already experienced a cardiovascular event (secondary prevention: OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.21).

There was no evidence of changes in statin initiation, either for those prescribed statins for primary prevention (OR 0.99, 95% CI: 0.87 to 1.13) or secondary prevention (OR 1.04, 95% CI 0.92 to 1.18).

The researchers estimated there was an excess of 218,971 patients who stopped taking statins in the six months after the media coverage.

They also estimated that in the following 10 years there could be between 2,000 and 6,000 excess cardiovascular events that wouldn't have otherwise occurred.

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers concluded that, "Controversy over the risks and benefits of statins reported in both the medical and popular press was followed by a transient increase in patients stopping treatment prescribed for primary and secondary prevention.

"Additionally, a marked reduction in the proportion of patients receiving a risk score for cardiovascular disease suggests other important impacts on GP and/or patient behaviour."

Conclusion

This study aimed to estimate the effect on the use of statins in the UK after a six-month period of intense media coverage about the risks and benefits of the drugs.

It found that patients were more likely to stop taking statins after exposure to the high media coverage compared with before the six-month period. However, there was no effect for people who had been newly prescribed statins.

As the researchers acknowledge, interrupted time series studies like this one cannot confirm a causal link between the media coverage and the observed likelihood of stopping statin treatment.

We cannot know the exact reasons why these people may have stopped taking statins. It is possible that other external factors played a role in the observed changes.

Additionally, these changes may have been different in people under the age of 40 or those who purchase low-dose statins over the counter.

One of the researchers, Dr Liam Smeeth, told the media: "Our findings suggest widespread coverage of health stories in the mainstream media can have an important real-world impact on the behaviour of patients and doctors. This may have significant consequences for people's health."

More research is needed to further draw out conclusions, but overall this study highlights the potential impact widely reported health stories can have on people's health behaviour in the real world.

Journalists have a responsibility to ensure their reporting is as balanced and accurate as possible, especially when they are reporting on potential life and death matters, such as heart attack and stroke prevention.    

Links To The Headlines

Don't give up your statins: Experts say warnings that made patients stop taking vital drug have put lives at risk. Daily Mail, June 29 2016

Fears of 2,000 heart attacks and strokes linked to statins controversy. The Daily Telegraph, June 29 2016

Statins controversy led 200,000 people to stop taking pills, says study. The Guardian, June 28 2016

At-risk heart patients stopped taking statins because of press controversy, study found. Daily Mirror, June 29 2016

'Scaremongering' over statins may have caused 2,000 deaths. The Times, June 29 2016 (subscription required)

Links To Science

Matthews A, Herrett E, Gasparrini A, et al. Impact of statin related media coverage on use of statins: interrupted time series analysis with UK primary care data. BMJ. Published online June 28 2016

Categories: NHS Choices

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