OHE Publications

Series on Health
June 1972

Migraine is typical of the sort of ill-defined self-limiting condition which takes up much of the time of general practitioners. It involves no risk of mortality but it can cause acute intermittent incapacity to the sufferer, occurring with little warning and at times which may be inconvenient, socially embarrassing and often costly. Perhaps its nature can be best illustrated by a quotation from Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, himself a migraine sufferer, ' I 'm very brave really', he went on in a low voice, 'only today I happen to have a headache' (Tweedledum).

Laing, W.A. ed.

May 1972

Proceedings of a symposium HELD AT THE Royal College of General Practitioners on Thursday 21 October 1971

One of the main ideas behind a symposium on 'Evaluation in the Health Services' was to help establish a fruitful dialogue between clinicians, planners, sociologists, economists and others.

Series on Health
April 1972

Arguments in favour of family planning or 'birth control' can be advanced on the basis of one (or both) of two major premises. First, it may be held that overpopulation is the major problem facing the world today. Second, it may be held that family planning is justified primarily in terms of improvement in the quality of life of individuals and families who are able to use modem contraceptive techniques to choose for themselves if and when they want a child. Incidental to this is any saving to public funds that would follow from preventing unwanted births.

Series on Health
October 1971

Ever since the discovery of the circulation of the blood it has been known that blood is forced around the body under pressure from the contractions of the heart. When the pressure in the arteries is consistently higher than normal (usually through increased resistance from the peripheral vessels), hypertension is said to exist, though a precise and satisfactory definition is impossible because the range of 'normal pressure’ can only be arbitrarily defined.

Series on Health
July 1971

As early as 2080 BC reference can be found to epilepsy in the code of Hammurabi, King of Babylon. Special laws affecting the marriage of people with epilepsy and the validity of their testimony at court probably reflected unfounded fears and prejudices that have by no means been dispelled by twentieth century enlightenment.

Series on Health
June 1971

In advanced countries, the majority of medical care is no longer concerned with prevention of death. Better social conditions, modern scientific medicine and in particular immunisation and chemotherapy have removed the commonest causes of premature mortality. The remaining deaths before retirement could often best be prevented by social measures, such as a reduction in smoking or accidents, and in any case they account for only a small, if dramatic, proportion of medical activity.

Series on Health
January 1971

In the first six months of 1970, 5 million working days were lost because of industrial disputes. This has been exceeded in only 2 years since the general strike in 1926. In comparison, over 300 million working days are lost every year through certified sickness absence. On the national level absence attributed to sickness has been seen as one of the factors contributing to the relatively poor performance of Britain's economy in relation to Other industrialised countries.

Asscher, A.W.

Early Diagnosis Series
July 1970

Urinary tract infection is probably the commonest bacterial infection. Although primary prevention is preferable to early diagnosis and treatment, in practice it is limited to the avoidance of unnecessary instrumentation of the urinary tract. Research on the defensive mechanisms of the urinary tract may widen the scope of primary prevention.

Series on Health
July 1970

Alcoholism has been a problem for many hundreds of years although the word itself is comparatively modem. Like schizophrenia it has, at various times, been described as a sin, a social problem, a disease and an emotional disturbance. Until recently it stood largely outside the field of public health. Alcoholism has been defined in terms of alcohol's adverse effects on the drinker, his family or society; in terms of getting drunk; in terms of the compulsive nature of drinking and, finally, in terms of specific recognisable physical or psychological symptoms.