International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine - Volume 3, issue 3
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The International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine is concerned with rendering the practice of medicine as safe as it can be; that involves promoting the highest possible quality of care, but also examining how those risks which are inevitable can be contained and managed.
This is not exclusively a drugs journal. Recently it was decided to include in the subtitle of the journal three items to better indicate the scope of the journal, i.e. patient safety, pharmacovigilance and liability and the Editorial Board was adjusted accordingly. For each of these sections an Associate Editor was invited. We especially want to emphasize patient safety. Our journal wants to publish high quality interdisciplinary papers related to patient safety, not the ones for domain specialists. For quite some time we have also been devoting some pages in every issue to what we simply call WHO news. This affinity with WHO underlines both the International character of the journal and the subject matter we want to cover. Basic research, reports of clinical experience and overviews will all be considered for publication, but since major reviews of the literature are often written at the invitation of the Editorial Board it is generally advisable to consult with the Editor in advance. Submission of news items will be appreciated, as will be the contribution of letters on topics which have been dealt with in the journal.
Abstract: Since the thalidomide disaster in the early sixties many birth defect monitoring systems and registries have been set up to detect changes in the frequencies of specific birth defects. The primary methods of monitoring have been the statistical analysis of data on birth prevalences and teratologic analysis. The yield of this monitoring effect has nevertheless been low when one considers the lack of etiologic factors detected in this way. We therefore propose an additional strategy involving (periodic) classification of all cases in a birth defect registry according to possible risk factors and notified anomalies coupled with a search for specific…associations between risk factors and (patterns of) anomalies. We here present data showing the sensitivity of the method. Sensitivity was studied by looking at some already well known associations between risk factors and congenital anomalies in our registry involving 1850 cases. The associations studied were neural tube defects and maternal use of valproic acid, numerical chromosomal anomalies and advanced maternal age, gastroschisis and low maternal age, and autosomal recessive disorders and parental consanguinity. Each of these associations was apparent in the registry, suggesting that risk factor/outcome monitoring as described here is a potentially strong method for finding new etiologic factors in birth defects.
Abstract: Since ancient times, the khat bush has been grown in certain areas of East Africa and of the Arab Peninsula, and many people chew its leaves because of their stimulating effect. As khat use may be compulsive, the habit has been seen as a phenomenon of drug addiction, indeed, khat is known to induce a certain degree of psychic dependence and to contain an alkaloid with amphetamine effects. Due to the availability of air transport, this drug has now made its appearance in Western Europe and in the USA. This is worrying because khat consumption may induce toxic psychosis, several…such cases have recently been observed in Great Britain. The present article therefore describes the habit and the effects of chewing khat, and it provides some background information together with a discussion of the advisability of prohibitive measures regarding this drug.