News Review World

Greek scientists develop heart attack  calculator

Researchers have developed a quick and easy artificial intelligence approach to successfully calculate a patient's heart attack risk with respect to many lifestyle factors. Named online analytical processing (OLAP), the approach makes it possible for physicians to just use their system to provide patients with a personal risk factor and so advise on lifestyle changes or medication to lower their risk.

It is well known that lifestyle factors including depression, education, smoking, diet, and obesity, play a part in the risk of cardiovascular disease. But, epidemiologists who study how health risks vary through populations have not found a way to extrapolate from such broad studies to individual risk levels.

Now, Hara Kostakis of the TEI Piraeus Research Centre, in Methonis, Greece, and colleagues have investigated patterns of cardiovascular risk factors in a large population by collecting data for almost 1000 patients enrolled in the CARDIO 2000 study who had been hospitalised with the first symptoms of acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

Instead of using conventional methods for analysing statistics, the researchers borrowed an approach from the computer science field of artificial intelligence, OLAP, which was developed in the early 1990s and was exploited primarily in industrial and commercial applications, for financial and marketing analysis. 

Global resource for free ehealth education

Health Sciences Online ( has launched a website where anyone can access more than 50,000 courses, references, guidelines, and other expert-reviewed, high-quality, current, cost-free, and ad-free health sciences resources.

The up-to-date, authoritative information is aimed primarily at healthcare practitioners and public health providers, enabling their training, continuing education, and delivery of effective treatments to patients.

The information is delivered by powerful search technology from Vivisimo, Inc., which allows users to easily see comprehensive search results and quickly find the answers they need with an intuitively navigated graphic interface. Through integration with Google Translator, users can search and read materials in 22 languages.

HSO is a portal that includes more than 50,000 world-class health-sciences resources, selected by knowledgeable staff from already-existing, reliable, professional sources and resource collections.

Founding collaborators for this site include CDC, World Bank, the American College of Preventive Medicine, and the University of British Columbia, and financial support has come from WHO, the NATO Science for Peace Program, the Canadian government, the Annenberg Physician Training Program, and many volunteers.

HSO's next phase will be developing programs using the gathered materials to help train and educate public and clinical health providers around the world. 

New data tools on how infectious diseases spread

The European Science Foundation (ESF) has called for development of new mathematical and statistical tools capable of probing deeper into existing databases relating to human contact and pathogens.

The lack of tools was highlighted in a recent ESF workshop on infectious disease transmission. “One of the most exciting conc


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