The Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity

Vivek Baliga is a published medical researcher and PhD candidate at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. In addition to his professional and educational pursuits, Vivek Baliga is an active humanitarian who supports several charitable organizations, including the Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity.

With a history dating back to the 17th century, the Great Ormond Street Hospital has undergone a number of redevelopments over the years while remaining focused on providing premier pediatric care and developing new and improved ways to treat childhood diseases. Established to support these efforts, the Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity organizes fundraising campaigns and events that help the hospital collect the £50 million needed each year to continue its life-saving research and maintain the exceptional level of care for the over 220,000 patients rely on its services. A separate legal entity since 1998, the Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity is necessary to the hospital’s success, and helps to ensure that its centuries-old tradition of medical excellence carries on well into the future.

The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society’s Responsibility Deal

A doctoral student at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, Vivek Baliga devotes his time and resources to several philanthropic endeavors. In addition to volunteering to help stop the spread of malaria, Vivek Baliga contributes to a number of charities and nonprofits, including the Great Ormond Street Hospital, ISKON, and the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS).

Established in 2001, the NRAS provides advocacy and support for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) through its helpline, self-management programs, and collaborative work with various individuals and organizations around the United Kingdom. An example of the type of projects and campaigns spearheaded by the NRAS is the society’s coalition building Responsibility Deal, which was published last October on World Arthritis Day.

The Responsibility Deal is a series of pledges that anyone connected to RA, including patients, healthcare professionals, and policymakers, can commit to in support of the NRAS’ efforts to raise awareness of RA, improve access to services and medicine, and empower individuals to take responsibility for the care and management of their arthritis. Emphasizing the need to work together, the Responsibility Deal uses simple language to lay out achievable and sensible principles that all individuals and groups involved with RA can use to help improve the quality of life for those with the disease.

Causes of Chest Pain

In cardiovascular medicine, chest pain remains a common symptom that patients present with. In most cases, patients assume that having chest pain is due to a heart attack. However, this is not always the case. This article will briefly discuss the causes of chest pain in patients

1. Heart attacks – Chest pain is usually the presenting feature. Patients complain on central crushing pain that gets worse on exertion and may be relieved with rest. Pain radiates to the neck, jaw and down the left arm, and is associated with sweating and nausea. Occasionally, patients complain of palpitations and may feel light headed. Early investigation and treatment is required.

2. Angina – This is similar to chest pain that occurs with a heart attack, though it may be less severe. Patients who get angina that is brought on by exertion but is relieved promptly with rest or nitrate spray have what is called ‘stable’ angina. However, if the frequency of stable angina increases and patients find little or no relief with rest or nitrate spray, then it is called unstable angina. This warrants early investigation.

3. Musculoskeletal chest pain – This arises from the muscles between the ribs or from the ribs itself. Patients usually give a history of pulling a muscle or lifting something heavy. Pain is relieved with painkillers.

4. Pulmonary embolism – In this condition, breathlessness is the main symptom, though patients can present with chest pain. Pain is worse on breathing in and is sharp in nature.

5. Pleurisy – This refers to inflammation of the lining of the lung, also called the pleura. This is often associated with an underlying chest infection or pneumonia. Like pulmonary embolism, pain is worse on breathing in, and usually resolves with pain killers and treatment of the infection.

6. Acid Reflux – Here, patients complain of a burning sensation in the chest that is worse after meals and on lying down. It rarely radiates anywhere else, and can be promptly relieved with antacids.

These are the common causes of chest pain that are encountered in clinical practice. A good history is of utmost importance, and in most cases will provide a diagnosis even before any examination is conducted or any investigations are performed.

Malaria: A Worldwide Threat

Vivek Baliga

In 2010, the United Nations estimated that roughly half the world’s population was at risk of contracting malaria, a blood-borne disease spread by mosquitoes. Each year, there are over 200 million new cases which result in over 650,000 deaths. At the highest risk are those with weak immune systems—including the elderly, children, pregnant women, and those ill with immune system-compromising diseases. While this disease is widespread, it can be controlled and prevented.

The main preventative for malaria is controlling the mosquito population in malaria-infected areas. Mosquitoes are most prevalent in warm, wet environments. Areas which remain warm throughout the year, with no hard freezes or winter, do not experience annual mosquito population die-off and thus do not have a natural defense against malaria. This seasonal die-off allows infected mosquitoes to die without infecting the next generation who remain in dormant eggs during the cold and hatch in spring. Through the use of insecticides and indoor mosquito netting as well as the draining of stagnant water, communities at risk can significantly decrease malaria outbreaks.

About the Author: Vivek Baliga, a Ph.D. student at the University of Leeds in cardiovascular research, is a dedicated supporter of malaria research and education, including personally traveling to Mangalore, India to educate children on malaria treatment and prevention.

How to Help End Malaria Vivek Baliga

Of all diseases, malaria threatens more of the world’s population than any other. Spread by mosquitoes in warm climates, it is responsible for over 200 million new cases each year with over half a million resulting in death. While malaria is treatable, the majority of those at risk live in such poverty that early diagnosis and proper treatment are often inaccessible.

Organizations such as International Medical Corps, Malaria No More, and Nets for Life work to provide education, preventative assistance, and treatment to those in high-risk areas. So far, Nets for Life has provided over 8 million mosquito nets, protecting over 25 million people, while Malaria No More combines distribution of mosquito nets, medical treatment, and public service announcements through radio and twitter. The International Medical Corps, however, targets malaria as only one part of their efforts to provide medical care and other lifesaving relief to critical areas of the world. Supporting these organizations—and others like them—directly saves lives.

About the Author: Vivek Baliga actively supports disease and disorder research through fundraising, private donations, and personal efforts. Vivek Baliga has traveled to India to teach malaria prevention to children, participated in charity marathons for arthritis, and currently studies at the University of Leeds in pursuit of a Ph.D. in cardiovascular research.

What Is a Progenitor Cell? By Dr. Vivek Baliga

Progenitor cells occur naturally in the body and play a particularly important role in repairing injuries to the heart, lungs, and vascular system. A progenitor cell shares some characteristics with an adult stem cell in that it can grow into one of many different cell types, but progenitor cells tend to develop into fewer varieties than stem cells do. Progenitor cells also do not self-renew as well as stem cells do. Current research involving progenitor cells includes efforts to use them to create heart valves, conductive heart tissue, and blood vessels.

About the Author:

After spending several years practicing medicine in India, Dr. Vivek Baliga moved to Leeds in the United Kingdom to pursue a Ph.D. in cardiovascular research in 2009. Dr. Baliga has since published several studies, including one on the relationship between circulation of progenitor cells in South Asian men and the availability of nitric oxide in their blood during exercise.

The European Association of Echocardiography By Dr. Vivek Baliga

The European Association of Echocardiography (EAE) was founded in 2003 and remains one of the most active branches of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The EAE contributes to the community of European and international cardiologists through the development of accreditation and certification procedures for echocardiography across the European continent. The EAE is also responsible for an educational platform that utilizes webinars, basic educational courses, 3-D imaging software, and various additional online tools to ensure a superior standard of excellence among echocardiography specialists.

EUROECHO, the world’s leading echocardiography conference, is another of the EAE’s offerings. Last year’s event broke records with its 3,600 attendees from over 90 countries.

The EAE continually is striving to meet the evolving needs of its members. Recent initiatives include a committee made of young doctors, particularly women, who are interested in echocardiography; and the publication of an updated Textbook of Echocardiography.

About the Author

Dr. Vivek Baliga is a leading cardiologist who currently is pursuing a doctoral degree at the University of Leeds. He is a member of the EAE.