OHE Publications

Series on Health
February 1976

Anaesthesia is the art or science of rendering the patient unaware, thereby providing an indispensable foundation for surgery. Although man had unsuccessfully been attempting to eliminate the pain of surgical procedures for many centuries, anaesthesia was not introduced into medical practice until the first half of the nineteenth century.

January 1976

During the last fifteen years the rate of homicides (which comprise all cases of murder, manslaughter and infanticide) occurring in England and Wales has doubled. Analysis of the ages of victims shows that the homicide rate is rising most rapidly amongst males in or around their twenties, over 15 per million of whom are now killed as a result of the deliberate acts of other persons each year.

December 1975

In 1901 approximately 127,000 infants and 81,000 children aged 1-14 died in England and Wales. By 1973, the corresponding figures were 11,500 and 4,500, representing falls of 91 per cent and 94 per cent respectively. During this period the total number of persons aged 0-14 rose, albeit unsteadily, from 10.5 million (32 per cent of the total population) to 11.6 million (23 per cent).

Series on Health
October 1975

Mankind has used mind affecting drugs throughout and probably for many thousands of years before recorded history. In European culture alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and to a lesser extent opium have played particularly important roles as psychoactive agents; but in other parts of the world a wide variety of alternative intoxicants, stimulants and hallucinogens have been employed. These include cocaine, mescaline and cannabis.

Series on Health
August 1975

For the past 25 years the problems of the National Health Service in Britain have been considered primarily in terms of a shortage of resources. This emphasis has persisted in spite of National Health Service expenditure having doubled in real terms and in spite of huge increases in most grades of manpower. The number of doctors working in the hospitals, for example, has also doubled since 1948.

July 1975

Health Economics delivered a paper to the Pharmaceutical Sciences Section of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science at the Academy of Sciences in Canberra. The burden of this paper was that it was a fundamental misconception to believe that price competition was lacking in the prescription medicine market, at least in the context of the British National Health Service.

Series on Health
May 1975

The unequal geographical distribution of multiple sclerosis is one of its most striking and potentially significant characteristics. The disease occurs with much greater frequency in temperate latitudes and it is particularly prevalent on the island of Orkney, where the prevalence rate is about six times greater than the world average of 30 per 100,000 population (Donnelly 1974). In Great Britain as a whole it is estimated that between 40,000 and 50,000 individuals suffer from the illness, implying a rate of more than twice the world average figure.

April 1975

At first sight it might seem disturbing that accidental deaths are contributing an increasing proportion of the total mortality amongst young people in the UK. In 1932, for example, approximately 6 per cent of all deaths in England and Wales in the 1-4 years old age group were due to accidents. By 1972 the proportion was 24 per cent. For the 5-14 age group the rise was from 12 per cent to 37 per cent and in the 15-24 year old age group 48 per cent of all deaths in 1972 were due to accidents compared with only 12 per cent in 1932. Yet in reality the picture is much more encouraging.

Series on Health
December 1974

Parkinson's Disease has probably occurred amongst elderly people throughout history. But it is now a more serious burden to society than at any time in the past because the development of modern medicines coupled with the improvement in living standards in the industrialised countries has largely eliminated the traditional major threats to health such as the infectious diseases. The consequent rise in life expectancy has led to marked increases in the prevalence and significance of the chronic, disabling conditions of old age.

October 1974

The 'venereal' diseases of syphilis and gonorrhoea, whilst deserving close attention, do not constitute one of the major health problems of Britain today. In 1972, in England, about one man in every 10,000 and one woman in every 30,000 consulted a venereal disease clinic with syphilis. For gonorrhoea about one man in 600 and one woman in 1,200 consulted clinics in the course of the year. Treatment usually presents no serious problems in this country, although some commentators have been concerned by the rising trend in gonococcal infections.