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Friday, 27 December 2013

Judges for 2014 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine

Members of the judging panel for the 2014 Hippocrates Prize are poet Philip Gross, a winner of the TS Eliot Prize, distinguished barrister Robert Francis QC, and Mumsnet Editor Sarah Crown, and for the Young Poets category Kit Wright.

The Hippocrates Prize is for an unpublished poem in English of up to 50 lines text, excluding title and line spacing.

With a 1st prize of £5,000 both for the winning poem in the Open International category and for the NHS category, the Hippocrates Prize is one of the highest value poetry awards in the world for a single poem. There is also an international category for Young Poets aged from 14 to under 19 years. This £500 award was launched in 2012, and is for an unpublished poem of up to 50 lines in English on a medical theme.

In its first 4 years, the Hippocrates Prize has attracted around 5000 entries from 55 countries, from the Americas to Fiji and Finland to Australasia.

Entries are now open for the 2014 Hippocrates Prize for poetry and medicine, deadline 31st January 2014. There is no limit to the numbers of entries by any poet.

Awards will be presented at the 5th International Symposium for Poetry and Medicine, to be held on Saturday 10th May, 2014 in London.

Philip Gross’s The Water Table won the T.S.Eliot Prize 2009, I Spy Pinhole Eye Wales Book of The Year 2010, and Off Road To Everywhere the CLPE Award for Children’s Poetry 2011. Deep Field (2011) deals with voice and language, explored through his father’s aphasia, and a new collection, Later, is due from Bloodaxe in Autumn 2013. He has published ten novels for young people, including The Lastling, has collaborated with artists, musicians and dancers, and since 2004 has been Professor of Creative Writing at Glamorgan University, where he leads the Masters in Writing programme. [Photo by Stephen Morris]

Robert Francis QC is a distinguished barrister who specialises in the NHS and medical negligence. He has been a Queen's Counsel for 21 of his 40 years at the bar. He has been involved in many inquiries into the NHS, both as barrister and as chair, most recently chairing the inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire Hospital. According to Peter Walsh, chief executive of the patient safety charity Action against Medical Accidents, Robert Francis has a "passion for justice in healthcare and improving healthcare more generally".

Sarah Crown is editor of Mumsnet. She was editor of Guardian Books from 2007-2013. Previous poetry awards for which she has been a member of the judging panels include the Forward prizes and the Picador poetry prize.

The 2014 Hippocrates Young Poets Prize for Poetry and Medicine will be judged by poet Kit Wright, one of the most acclaimed poets for adults and children. Kit Wright is the author of more than twenty-five books, for both adults and children, and the winner of awards including an Arts Council Writers' Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Hawthornden Prize, the Alice Hunt Bartlett Award and (jointly) the Heinemann Award. After a scholarship to Oxford, he worked as a lecturer in Canada, then returned to England and a position in the Poetry Society.

The Hippocrates poetry and medicine initiative received  the Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts in the 2011 Times Higher Education awards.

Winners of the 2013 Hippocrates Prize:

Harvard poet and physician Rafael Campo wins Hippocrates Open International Prize for Poetry and Medicine

Psychotherapist Mary V Williams wins Hippocrates NHS Prize for Poetry and Medicine
English poet 

Rosalind Jana awarded international Hippocrates Young Poets Prize for Poetry and Medicine

For email enquiries about the Hippocrates Prize:

Hippocrates website:

Sunday, 22 December 2013

First test of new French artificial implantable heart

A first patient has been fitted with a new French artificial heart
Watch interview on @AJEnglish:  
Heart failure is one of the commonest causes of urgent admission to hospital. Modern drugs – and their effective use in combination - have dramatically improved treatment of heart failure. However in many patients heart failure is a progressive disorder and perhaps 100,000 patients in USA and Europe alone are candidates for a new heart. Conventional organ transplantation is limited by availability of a donor heart, the complexity of immunosuppression and other major risks of the procedure.

The dual ambition of the company behind this new technology is an implantable heart which will both allow return to good quality of life for at least 5 years, and be subject to a lower risk of serious complications then earlier devices.

Implanting an artificial heart while awaiting a heart transplant is not a new idea. The first sustained success was for the Jarvik device, first used over 30 years ago. And current implantable devices have been reported to be successful for almost 4 years.

The new Carmat heart is lined with a combination of synthetic polymers and treated tissues from the heart sac (pericardium) of the cow. This aims to reduce the chance of blood clotting on the internal lining of the heart – an important potential risk from an artificial heart. And partnership with aerospace engineers has lead to new biofeedback sensors in the Carmat device.

If experience over the next year or so of the heart in patients confirms the promise of laboratory studies, patients and health professionals might have access to the new device for clinical use by 2015.

However it will of course take at least until 2020 to confirm whether, in general use, the hoped for 5 year lifespan of the device is confirmed for patients who have severe heart failure.

For the benefit of patients, health services and policy makers, there will need to be serious engagement with the biotech industry to ensure that economies of scale in clinical practice reduce dramatically the current huge cost per device - estimated at 140-180,000 €  ie around $240,000.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Four schools receive 2013 Healthy Heart Awards from Mediterranean Diet researcher Ramon Estruch

The 2013 Healthy Heart Awards have been awarded to Chevening CE Primary School in Kent, Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School in Lambeth, Dulwich Hamlet Junior School in Southwark, and St Nicholas CE Primary School in Chislehurst.

2013 Healthy Heart Awards
The Awards were presented in London on Thursday 5th December 2013 by Mediterranean diet researcher Professor Ramón Estruch from Barcelona.
The aim of the 'Healthy Heart Awards' is to engage young and older school and college students in the health of their hearts. Entries included a short video, artwork, games, and poems about how to keep the heart healthy.

The Healthy Heart Awards were founded in 2010 by healthy heart charity the Cardiovascular Research Trust (CVRT).
Awards co-founder and CVRT trustee Professor Donald Singer said: “The Awards provide an innovative way for young people to make an active contribution to the future health of their own hearts and those of children of all ages from around the world.”
Fellow Awards co-founder and CVRT trustee John Jackson added: “The Healthy Heart Awards also provide new opportunities within the curriculum for teaching and learning about science and health”.

Awards co-organizer Wendy French said: “We are delighted that participating pupils enjoyed taking part, while learning more about keeping the heart healthy”. She added: “Comments from the pupils included:
'It brought us together as a class.'
'It gave me something exciting to think about. I like inventing.'
'It made us solve puzzles about how things could work and sometimes they didn't!'
'I didn't know learning could be such fun.'“

The Awards ceremony, which included readings by Dr Raphael Shirley of winning entries, took place at an international CVRT symposium on ‘Diet, Active Lifestyle and Cardiovascular Health’ on Thursday 5th December 2013.

Symposium speakers included Professor Dame Carol Black, Cambridge, on working for a healthier tomorrow, Professor Ramon Estruch, Barcelona, on protecting cardiovascular health by following a Mediterranean diet, Dr Ingmar Wester, Finland, on plant bioactives to reduce cardiovascular risk, and Professor Chris Imray, Coventry, on exercise to improve outcomes of surgery.

Notes for editors and schools
For more on the Healthy Heart Awards including pictures from the day, contact the Cardiovascular Research Trust on
The Cardiovascular Research Trust (CVRT) is a registered charity, which supports research and education aimed at prevention and treatment of premature disease of the heart and circulation:

Awards Symposium topics and speakers
Working for a Healthier Tomorrow: Professor Dame Carol Black, DBE, FRCP, Principal of Newnham College Cambridge, Adviser on Work and Health at the Department of Health, England, Chair of the Nuffield Trust and Chair of the Governance Board, Centre for Workforce Intelligence. Spearheaded by Carol Black as National Director, ‘Health, Work and Wellbeing’ is a joint initiative across government to improve the health and well-being of working age people.
Mediterranean diet and cardiovascular health: Professor Ramón Estruch, Medical Professor at the University of Barcelona. He leads Thematic Networks evaluating the effects of the Mediterranean Diet and its main components on primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in high-risk patients. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee of the EU European Foundation for Alcohol Research.
Healthy Heart Awards co-organizer: Wendy French was head of the Maudsley and Bethlem Hospital School for fifteen years and now works with people with aphasia/dysphasia, helping them to recover their use of language through poetry. With fellow poet Jane Kirwan, in 2013 she published Born in the NHS, a passionate defence of the NHS and a social history – families in sickness and health, the changing roles of health professionals – over the last seventy years.  Her prizes in international competitions include first prize in the NHS category of the Hippocrates Prize in 2010 and second prize in 2011.
Exercise and improving outcome of surgery: Chris Imray, Professor of Vascular Surgery at the University Hospital in Coventry. He is interested in the effects of extreme altitude on the cardiovascular system, in prevention and treatment of carotid artery stroke syndromes, and in strategies for improving outcomes of vascular surgery.
Reader of entries for the Healthy Heart Awards: Dr Raphael Shirley performed at the Edinburgh Festival in 2012 and 2013. For more see Raph’s website:
Diet and exercise to reverse overweight: what works? Donald Singer, Professor of Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics at the University of Warwick. Professor Singer is interested in prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, and in public understanding of the benefits and risks of medicines.
The Lifestyle Heart Trial: 23 years on. Dr Ellen Storm, is a medical doctor training in paediatrics and child health. She has a Masters Degree in public health and has a particular scientific interest in the causal relationships between diet and disease.
Plant stanols, blood lipids and cardiovascular health: Dr Ingmar Wester, R & D Director at Finnish company Raisio. He discovered plant stanol esters in 1995 and has researched their cardiovascular benefits.