Identifying blood biomarkers to improve the diagnosis of stroke

This review is based on Dr Whiteley’s Croom Lecture at the Trainees and Members’ Symposium on 22 October 2010.

Blood biomarkers are useful for the management of many diseases and could be useful for doctors caring for stroke patients, if they accurately predicted a diagnosis or recurrence of stroke. In a series of studies, we systematically reviewed the blood biomarker literature in stroke, determined the performance of existing blood biomarkers for the diagnosis of stroke and examined the value of markers of inflammation to predict recurrent stroke and myocardial infarction.

The most deadly disease of asylumdom: general paralysis of the insane and Scottish psychiatry, c.1840–1940

General paralysis of the insane (GPI) was one of the most devastating diseases observed in British psychiatry during the century after 1840, in terms of the high number and type of patients diagnosed, the severity of its symptoms and, above all, its utterly hopeless prognosis. With particular reference to the physicians and patients of the Royal Edinburgh Asylum, this article explores the diagnostic process and the social and medical significance of the ‘death sentence’ that accompanied the GPI diagnosis.

Our approach to the diagnosis and treatment of polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell (temporal) arteritis

We believe there is a strong case for formalised collaborative care between GPs and  rheumatologists in the management of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) and giant cell arteritis (GCA), which can be difficult conditions to diagnose and manage. Our rapid access diagnostic care pathways allow early referral of patients who appear to have PMR or GCA, before  glucocorticoids are prescribed.