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Ageing population will heighten demand for doctors

Monday 23rd March 2015
A new report has suggested that specialist doctors will be in more demand to address the needs of an ageing population. Image Credit: Purestock
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A new study has suggested that specialist doctors will be in higher demand over the next ten years. 

According to research by the New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center, chronic subdural hemorrhage (SDH) will be the most common adult brain condition requiring neurosurgical intervention by 2030.

Published in the Journal of Neurosurgery, their findings suggest that this means there will be higher demand for doctors with expertise in this area. The report also highlighted concerns that current specialists may be undermanned to deliver a high standard of care to all patients.

Subdural hemorrhage or hematoma is usually the result of head trauma, and for this reason is more common in the elderly because of their thinner and more delicate vessels between the surface of the brain and its coverings, as well as higher use of anti-coagulant medications.

As a result, older people with even minor head injuries can experienced bleeding on the brain's surface, which can accumulate over time and lead to serious complications. This trauma can be so minor that many people don't realise they have had a head or brain trauma incident.

Led by Dr Uzma Samadani, chief of neurosurgery at New York neurosurgery at New York Harbor Health Care System and assistant professor in the Departments of Neurosurgery, Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Physiology at NYU Langone, the study looked at chronic rates of subdural hemorrhage in the US.

By analysing records, they found 695 new subdural hemorrhages, with 29 per cent requiring surgical drainage. In addition, more than 70 per cent occurred in patients over 65 years of age.

Using this data, the team predicted that by 2030 as many as a quarter of people older than 65 will experience a subdural hemorrhage. Although this data focused on the US, the UK has a rapidly ageing population, which will put thousands of people at risk of such head injuries.

This will mean that specialist doctors are needed to address this expected need, as well as helping to identify the patients most at risk of suffering a brain or head injury.

Written by Martin Lambert

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