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Thrombosis Research Institute
A multidisciplinary research institute for the prevention andtreatment of thrombosis and thromboembolic diseases was openedin London on Oct 4. The unit, established by the trustees of theThrombosis Research Trust with sponsorship from KabiPharmacia AB and Sandoz AG, is the first of its kind in Europe andis affiliated to the National Heart & Lung Institute and King’sCollege, London. Its first director, Prof V. V. Kakkar, said that theinstitute’s main research goals were to minimise thrombosis, tomake it more easily identifiable and preventable, and to slow downthe natural process of atherosclerosis. The institute is based in theEmmanuel Kaye Building, Manresa Road, London SW3 6LR, UK(tel: 071-3518300).
During the past four years the World Health Organisation’sHealthy Cities Project has unquestionably become a majorinternational success,l with 30 European cities now participating,and with networks of healthy cities projects in Canada, the UnitedStates, and Australia. A global extension of the project is beingplanned, and the concepts of health-promoting schools, hospitals,and companies are being developed. The theme of the fifth HealthyCities symposium, held in Stockholm on Sept 23-26, was"supportive environments". Discussion covered a wide range ofissues centred on the creation of healthy physical and social
environments, the major themes being children and young people,and traffic in urban areas.
An important theme of the project is collaboration betweendifferent sectors relevant to health, at both city and internationallevel. In Sheffield a cascade approach is being used to train 250politicians, professionals, and voluntary workers as "healthy cityadvocates" who will both spread the word about the healthy cityconcept in their particular "constituencies" and also join in aconsultation process aimed at creating a participatory public-healthstrategy for the city. On a wider scale, groups of European cities areworking together on the project’s Multi-City Action Plan to addresscommon concerns in fields such as mental health, nutrition,housing, and health inequalities.
During the symposium a set of healthy city indicators wasagreed-not just the familiar old mortality and morbidity statisticsbut novel measures such as a "nuisance index" of noise, odour, andcleanliness; the proportion of green space within each city; thepercentage of children with criminal records; the employment rateamong disabled adults; and the prevalence of illiteracy, poverty, andpoor housing. More notice is being taken of children’s views abouttheir environment, and the Kids’ Place Survey first undertaken inSeattle has been replicated in several countries involved in theproject. Major themes which children identify in their visions of ahealthy city include cleanliness, freedom from unpleasant smells,beauty, quietness, and safety. Political commitment, leading to localaction on these findings, is crucial and is increasingly beingpromoted through the involvement of large numbers of citypoliticians in the local projects and the annual symposia.
Visits undertaken during the symposium were designed to reflectits major themes. Visitors to the suburb of Rinkeby were shown thecity government’s attempts to cater for the needs of migrantworkers. Members of the population speak no less than 100
languages between them, and children at the local primary schoolare taught in 47 of these. At the architect-designed communitylaundry, Turkish and other women, whose cultures normally keepthem in their homes, are offered discussion groups and art
exhibitions by local residents.
Two minority statements from the symposium audiencereflected concerns inadequately covered in the formal sessions. Onereminded delegates of the enormous presence and spread of hatredin the world as a major force of destruction, suffering, and death. Itsuggested that health workers and health services in all countries
have the responsibility to inform people about the health
consequences of hate and to stimulate them to tolerance andreconciliation. Another related to the contrast between the officialrhetoric of community participation and the extent to which thiswas lacking in the symposium itself, with many didactic
presentations at a high level of abstraction and relatively fewopportunities for discussion. WHO hopes to redress this positionbefore next year’s conference in Barcelona, by which time it is alsohoped that the project will have made major inroads into the newlyliberated countries of eastern Europe.1 Tsouros AD. World Health Organisation Healthy Cities Project. a project becomes a
movement. Copenhagen WHO Regional Office for Europe, 1990
Chocolate liqueurs?What’s your favourite tipple: beer, gin-or chocolate? On July 1Sweden lowered the blood alcohol limit for drivers to 20 mg!IOOml. As a consequence, Swedish drivers with a sweet tooth may findthemselves in trouble with the law. Hunnisett and colleagues2 foundethyl alcohol in the blood of 311 of 510 volunteers 1 h after ingestionof 5 g glucose. (Before testing, volunteers had fasted for 3 h and hadtaken no alcohol for 24 h.) The phenomenon-termed "auto-brewery syndrome"-probably depends on fermentation of
glucose by gut flora. The maximum concentration of blood alcoholreported by Hunnisett et al was 7 mg/100 ml; however, they havepreviously recorded up to 19-7 mg/100 ml, which puts the Swedishlimit well within the margins of testing error. If blood alcohol ispositively related to the quantity of carbohydrate consumed, thencookie consumers and chocoholics should beware: digestive biscuitscontain 66 g carbohydrate per 100 g, and plain chocolate 65 g 100 g,J
1 Havard J Sweden lowers blood alcohol limit for drivers. Br Med J 1990; 300: 1482.2. Hunnisett A, Howard J, Davies S. Gut fermentation (or the ’auto-brewery’)
syndrome: a new clinical trial with initial observations and discussion of clinical andbiochemical implications. J Nutr Med 1990; 1: 33-38.
3 Paul AA, Southgate DAT. McCance and Widdowson’s the composition of foods 4thed. London: HM Stationary Office, 1978
A symposium entitled Revolutions in Science is to take place in London onWednesday, Oct 31: Secretary, Academic Unit, Wellcome Institute for theHistory of Medicine, 183 Euston Road, London NWl 2BN (071-3834252ext 70).
An annual symposium entitled The Right Job-Choosing It, Getting Itwill be held in London, UK, on Saturday, Nov 10: Dr Hilary Thomas,Meetings Secretary, Medical Women’s Federation London Association, 88Ockendon Road, London N1 3NW (071-354 1354).
4th DPHM-INSERM conference on Drugs and Europe-Reality andAmbition will be held in Paris on Nov 26-29: Jeanne Renard, IPRInternational, 12 rue des Halles, 75001 Paris, France (1-42 33 75 51).
A conference entitled Recent Developments in Child and AdolescentPsychiatry will take place in London on Dec 6-7: Mrs Lee Wildmg,Conference Office, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London SE58AF (071-703 5411 ext 3170).
An India-USA symposium and workshop on Endocrinology,Metabolism and Diabetes is to be held in New Delhi, on Dec 27-31: ProfN. Kochupillai, Organising Secretary, EMD-90, c/o Department of
Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, All India Institute of MedicalSciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi 110029, India (661123 ext 237).
1st international conference entitled Ultrasound in Obstetrics and
Gynaecology will be held in London on Jan 7-10: Prof A. Kurjak, Opabolnica "Dr J. Kajfes", Pavleka Miskine 64, 41001 Zagreb, Yugoslavia.