Glass half full: Alcohol’s health benefits for cardiovascular disease still controversial, and likely vary by context

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 | Kate Sloane | 4 Comments

Professor Tony Blakely and Associate Professor Nick Wilson

It is ‘well known’ that moderate amounts of alcohol are beneficial to cardiovascular health.  But actually in research circles this ‘fact’ is hotly contested. In this blog we will overview the currently dominant understanding of a ‘J-shape’ association of alcohol and death rates. Then we look at a recent (and likely seminal) just published study of 400,000 European adults followed up for an average 13 years that reports a seemingly J-shape association – but which might actually be due to bias according to the authors.

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Care coordination for cancer cost-effective

Monday, September 2nd, 2013 | TONY BLAKELY | 2 Comments

Professor Tony Blakely

Dedicated cancer care coordinators – a clinical nurse specialist charged with navigating patients through their care – appears to be cost effective, at least for stage III colon cancer.

The Government’s 2012 Budget included $33 million for “better and faster” services for cancer patients, of which $16 million dollars was for care coordination nurses.  This all seems sensible, in that the immediate and net cost of cancer care coordinators may be negligible – putting in place coordinators frees up other staff to do other things as we show in a publication last week in the NZ Medical Journal. Continue reading

“100% Pure” – Public Health Goal Setting

Thursday, August 15th, 2013 | gibju57p | 2 Comments

Associate Professor Nick Wilson, University of Otago, Wellington


The “100% Pure” marketing of NZ is marketing hype and an easy target for UK tabloid journalists (see this NZ Herald piece). Nevertheless, there is a case for striving to achieve the “100% level” with certain threats to public health – for example, by achieving Smokefree New Zealand by 2025. Continue reading