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Heart disease as a cause of poverty … and other stories

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i4667 (Published 30 August 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4667

Can heart disease cause poverty?

An Australian study examines the relationship between getting a diagnosis of heart disease of any kind below the age of 70 years and falling into poverty over subsequent years (BMC Public Health doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3240-5). The authors found that heart disease is a risk factor for poverty at all ages up to 70. The hazard ratio is very high at age 20 (9 for income poverty, 14 for multidimensional poverty), falling steadily with age but still significant at 60 years old (1.3 and 1.5 respectively). The authors suggest that heart disease should be seen as a major driver of national poverty rates, but that is an extrapolation too far.

Journals don’t sing in CONSORT

Readers opening a medical journal often just scan the abstracts of randomised controlled trials and only …

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