Maintaining life span and quality of life remains a valid aim of surgery in elderly people. Surgery can be an effective way of restoring both length and quality of life to older people. Minimally invasive techniques and surgery under local anaesthesia make fewer demands on geriatric physiology; given that co-morbidity is a stronger predictor of outcome from surgery than age, this is a significant consideration.
Violence against women has a devastating effect on women's sexual and reproductive health, and also affects the health of their children. Such behaviour is rooted in gender inequality, which is sadly persistent, arguably throughout all societies. This phenomenon is a serious health and development concern, in addition to a violation of a woman's human rights. Violence can begin or escalate in pregnancy and has significant consequences for the woman, fetus and child. Questioning pregnant women about the presence of violence and offering referral to a secondary agency can help to break the pattern of abuse.
Genetically modified (or GM) plants have attracted a large amount of media attention in recent years and continue to do so. Despite this, the general public remains largely unaware of what a GM plant actually is or what advantages and disadvantages the technology has to offer, particularly with regard to the range of applications for which they can be used. From the first generation of GM crops, two main areas of concern have emerged, namely risk to the environment and risk to human health. As GM plants are gradually being introduced into the European Union there is likely to be increasing public concern regarding potential health issues. Although it is now commonplace for the press to adopt ‘health campaigns’, the information they publish is often unreliable and unrepresentative of the available scientific evidence. We consider it important that the medical profession should be aware of the state of the art, and, as they are often the first port of call for a concerned patient, be in a position to provide an informed opinion.
This review will examine how GM plants may impact on human health both directly – through applications targeted at nutrition and enhancement of recombinant medicine production – but also indirectly, through potential effects on the environment. Finally, it will examine the most important opposition currently facing the worldwide adoption of this technology: public opinion.