East meets West; and they grow old together (F6)

Did you know the following facts?

  • Japanese baby, born in 2015 is on average expected to live to 85 years
  • Japan and German have the same median age (age that divides population into numerically equal shares of younger and older people) – and that is 47;
  • After 2020 the people aged 65+ will outnumber children under age of five

If you haven’t, don’t worry; many members of the audience of the panel “Healthy ageing: East meets West” were also enlightened by those facts, as the initial poll showed. Professor Martin McKee from London School of London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine showed us in his introduction how quickly demographics are changing and that it is urgent to put tackling rapid growth of ageing world population to the forefront of the health agenda. Weiterlesen

“Personalised Medcines” a hype in Brussels but far away from implementation at the national level (L2)

6 years ago when I started to work in the field of EU health I was for the first time confronted with the rather alien term “Personalised Medicines (PM)”. The buzz grew stronger and at some point I had no other choice than to research what PM actually means. My research led me to the following definition by the national Cancer Institute in the US: A form of medicine that uses information about a person’s genes, proteins, and environment to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease”.

As with all hypes in Brussels, an Alliance was quickly formed around the subject in March 2012 which immediately generated broad interest from European stakeholder coming from all four main pillars of the society: industry, academia, civilians and politics. Two years later, the European Commission even gave PM a special place within the largest EU funding scheme “Horizon 2020”, and attributed millions of euros to research in this field.

Richard Bergström

Richard Bergström

The topic has remained high on the EU health agenda ever since and is frequently discussed at the highest level, like today at the 19th edition of the European Health Forum Gastein during the workshop “Personalised Prevention”, chaired by Richard Bergström (Director General EFPIA). Weiterlesen

Hearing loss – a matter for the individual only? (W5)

Do I suffer from hearing loss? That is a question I had never considered before. Not sinclaireven when my dad started wearing a hearing aid one year ago. Then I attended the European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) and David Sinclair from International Longevity Centre and AGE Platform mentioned an online tool to test your hearing. I caught myself thinking: Maybe I should just take the test, just to be on the safe side. And so I did. Weiterlesen

Work and Health: The steep road from policy to reality (W4)

One of the last sessions of the European Health Forum Gastein aimed to shed light on the workplace health in the context of the rapid demographic change in Europe. More specifically, the session explored how workplaces can provide an arena for improving general population health.

Three main questions were posed at the beginning of the session

  1. Does work have a negative impact on the health of the individuals?
  2. Can we speak about health inequalities in the context of work?
  3. Can work be a positive driver for health?

Answers to the first two questions were given by Tim Tregenza and Katalin Sas from the European agency for safety and health at work, and Zinta Podniece – a policy expert from the European Commission. All of them provided strong evidence for the huge negative impact of work on health, the poor job sustainability, and the number of health inequalities in the context of the ageing population. Weiterlesen

Digitally Supported Information Systems or Personally Supported Patients? (F2)

The parallel session “Guiding patients to the best point of service” was framed by one of the panelists as “talking about how to ensure that people are treated at the right place at the right time”. Often people do not have information and knowledge about where to look for advice in regard to their health problems, and in many countries patients use hospital services ‘inappropriately’, in particular overusing accident and emergency services. In the UK, for example, people visit A&E unit for reasons such as broken false nails that wouldn’t come off, paper cuts, sore throats, hiccups, and running out of medication – and that puts unnecessary burden on the staff and other patients in need of serious help.f2