Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Is economy class syndrome another medical myth?

Press Statement:

Ron Law
Citizen for Evidence Based Regulation and Medical Advice

28 October.

Is economy class syndrome another medical myth?

The so-called economy class syndrome thought to threaten the health of long-haul travellers may well be another modern day medical myth, according to a study of nearly 800 patients reported in the latest Lancet Medical Journal (

Researchers could find no link between the development of blood clots in the veins - venous thromboembolism - and the taking of long journeys. The alarm was rung this week after a young bride-to-be died following a 20-hour non-stop flight between the UK and Australia and medical 'experts' cautioned about this 'modern day' travel hazard. But, where is there evidence?

Researchers at the University of Amsterdam, Holland, questioned 788 patients sent to them with suspected thromboembolism. The average age of the patients was 62. The condition was confirmed in only 176 cases.

The researchers compared the stories of patients who developed clots with those who did not and could find no link between the development of clots and any kind of travel, including journeys of longer than five hours and air travel. Just four of the patients with confirmed plots had recently been on planes. 13 of the others had flown recently.

Researcher Dr Roderik Kraaijenhagen said: "These results do not lend support to the widely accepted dogma that long travelling time is a risk factor for venous thrombosis. Even for air travel and journeys lasting more than 5 hours, no association was apparent."

"The public needs to be told that there are a large number of reasons - known and unknown - as to why people get blood clots in the veins," said Ron Law (09-832 4773), an advocate of evidence based regulation and medical advice. "One of the most common causes of blood clots are medications such as the contraceptive pill." "Was the public told wether or not the young bride-to-be was on the contraceptive pill?" Ron Law asks. The chances of dying from blood clots due to contraceptive pills is about 1:100,000. The chances of dying in air travel is about 1:8,000,000. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand the most likely cause of thromboembolism," said Ron Law

Public health officials and there medical advisors need to keep focussed on real hazards in society such as preventable medical error (1,500 deaths in New Zealand) and the thousand or more deaths from properly researched, properly regulated, properly prescribed and properly used drugs each year in New Zealand. "There is a desperate need for officials and their advisors to develop evidence based advice and regulations," said Ron Law. "They are encouraged to learn to base both on evidence, rather that uninformed opinion or oral tradition."


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Watch This Space: Mahia Rocket Lab Launch Site Officially Opened

Economic Development Minster Steven Joyce today opened New Zealand’s first orbital launch site, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, on the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island’s east coast. More>>


Marketing Rocks!
Ig Nobel Award Winners Assess The Personality Of Rocks

A Massey University marketing lecturer has received the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize for economics for a research project that asked university students to describe the “brand personalities” of three rocks. More>>


Nurofen Promotion: Reckitt Benckiser To Plead Guilty To Misleading Ads

Reckitt Benckiser (New Zealand) intends to plead guilty to charges of misleading consumers over the way it promoted a range of Nurofen products, the Commerce Commission says. More>>


Half A Billion Accounts, Including Xtra: Yahoo Confirms Huge Data Breach

The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. More>>


Rural Branches: Westpac To Close 19 Branches, ANZ Looks At 7

Westpac confirms it will close nineteen branches across the country; ANZ closes its Ngaruawahia branch and is consulting on plans to close six more branches; The bank workers union says many of its members are nervous about their futures and asking ... More>>

Interest Rates: RBNZ's Wheeler Keeps OCR At 2%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2 percent and said more easing will be needed to get inflation back within the target band. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news