Research into life-threatening heart condition backed with £1.4million grant

Researchers are launching a new clinical trial into a rare heart condition, with a £1.4million grant from the British Heart Foundation and funding from the Marfan Trust. The research into Marfan Syndrome will look at a potentially life-saving treatment, in a trial involving 500 patients, led by the team from Royal Brompton Hospital with St George’s and research support from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR).

Marfan Syndrome is an inherited condition, affecting one in 3,300 people in the UK. It affects the body's connective tissues, which provide support and structure to other tissue and organs. The symptoms vary from person to person and can affect blood vessels, heart and the skeleton. Marfan Syndrome can cause the wall of the main blood vessel in the heart, known as the aorta, to expand. Without treatment, the aorta can eventually rupture, leading to life threatening bleeding and death. The Aortic Irbesartan Marfan Study (AIMS) study will help to investigate whether a commonly used blood pressure treatment, Irbesartan, could reduce the expansion of the aorta and delay the need for major surgery.

Chronic disease care poorer in nursing and residential homes under GP target scheme

The quality of chronic disease care under the GP pay for performance system is poorer for residents of care home than those living in the community, according to a study published on bmj.com today.

The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) for general practice is a voluntary system of financial incentives, which has been in place since 2004 and part of this programme includes specific targets for GPs to demonstrate high quality care for patients with chronic diseases.

Surge in UK cocaine importation, says SGUL drug expert-led UN report

The UK is becoming an increasingly important hub for the importation of cocaine into the rest of Europe, the United Nations drugs body – led by St George’s drug policy expert Professor Hamid Ghodse – has warned.

Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain are the traditional routes for the drug's entry to the EU, but the latest Annual Report by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said there had been a recent surge in cases of the UK being used as point of entry.

Nutrition review led by St George’s expert finds demand for national advice for food in childcare

A review headed by St George’s child nutrition expert Dr Anthony Williams says childcare providers and parents want clearer guidance on what under-fives should eat and drink in childcare.

The review, from a panel of independent experts, highlights confusion about how to make sure young children in childcare are being given the right foods to meet their nutritional needs.

St George’s professor takes up council seat for global lymphoedema research group

Peter Mortimer, professor of dermatological medicine at St George’s, has been appointed to the Lymphatic Research Foundation’s Scientific/Medical Advisory Council. Prof Mortimer will sit on the council for the next two years. He will be joined other experts in the field from academic and medical institutions in Europe and the US.

The Lymphatic Research Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to advance research of the lymphatic system and to find the cause and cure for lymphatic diseases, lymphoedema, and related disorders. It was founded in New York in 1998, and is the world’s foremost body for lymphatic science research.