Anne Abbott , A Neurocientist Vindicated of Her Challenge of Medical Establishment’s Treatment of Stokes
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Anne Abbott, a neuroscientist who believes large number of debilitating strokes can be prevented by lifestyle changes and medication alone (for people at risk from the thickening of their arteries) rather than by surgical interventions, is finally vindicated through global recognition of the John Maddox prize (named after the former editor of Nature and organized by the journal and the charity Sense About Science, the international awards given to researchers who stand up for sound science. Past winners have included scientists who have been persecuted for speaking out about the dangers of rainforest destruction, the bleaching of coral reefs and the misuse of vitamin C supplements as “treatments” for cancer.) This year, U.S. health chief Dr. Anthony Fauci and his South African counterpart Salim Abdool Karim were jointly awarded the main John Maddox prize for “communicating the complex science of COVID-19 in the midst of international uncertainty and anxiety”.
For many years, the medical establishment has attempted to block Abbott’s work while pressing for increased use of carotid surgery and stents, according to Anne Abbott, associate professor of neuroscience at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, “I was told not to publish my research findings. I was shocked. Then it became hard to submit grant applications to continue my research. People would say, ‘yes’ to my proposals, then at the last minute, they would back out. If you can’t put a grant in, it could be the end of your research career.”
Celebrating research that makes a real-world difference Three Australian researchers whose work has had a significant impact on healthcare policy and delivery have been honored in the Sax Institute’s 2018 Research Action Awards. The 2018 Research Action Award Winners: Associate Professor Anne Abbott, Monash University – stroke prevention in carotid stenosis Up until very recently, people with advanced carotid stenosis (narrowing of the main arteries supplying blood to the brain) and without related stroke symptoms were routinely recommended procedural treatment. This typically involves either surgery designed to clear the blockage, or stenting, which involves inserting a device to prop open the artery and keep the blood circulating. However, like all invasive procedures, both these interventions come with a significant risk of harm. Associate Professor Abbott’s key discovery was that medical intervention (appropriate medication and lifestyle changes) alone can reduce the risk of stroke in these people by at least 65%, compared with previous practice. Associate Professor Abbott’s research and advocacy have had a powerful effect on both prevention practice and policy. It is now recognized by many that medical intervention alone is the best option for advanced asymptomatic carotid stenosis, and trials now incorporate medical intervention as well as procedural arms. Associate Professor Abbott’s efforts to alert the medical community to the significance of her findings led to her being invited to address US experts conducting a review of US Medicare’s reimbursement policy for treatment of carotid artery disease. Her work was instrumental in their decision not to fund widespread stenting, helping to reduce harmful and wasteful procedures in many thousands of people each year. “The message I’d like the public to take home from my research is that they have the most power to prevent their own stroke by adopting healthy lifestyle habits and using medication appropriately for things like high blood pressure and cholesterol. Combining all these things is very effective in stroke prevention,” said Associate Professor Abbott, in the video “RAA 2018 – winner A/Pfo.Anne Abbott – stroke prevention in carotid stenosis“, below:
Professor of Surgery Bruce Perler discusses causes, symptoms, risk factors and treatment of carotid artery disease and stroke, in the video “Carotid Artery Disease and Stroke: Prevention and Treatment, Q&A“, below:
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker More about the community at www.WindermereSun.com
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