Nav view search
of primary care
NAPC GP Bulletin 5 September 2012
Jeremy Hunt Replaces Andrew Lansley As Health Secretary
Andrew Lansley, the architect of the Coalition’s NHS reforms, has been replaced as Health Secretary by Jeremy Hunt in David Cameron’s government reshuffle.
Jeremy Hunt, as culture secretary, oversaw the Olympics, and faced controversy over his links with Rupert Murdoch’s empire.
Mr Lansley, who had held the post as Secretary of State for Health since May 2010, will become the Leader of the House, a post vacated by Sir George Young.
NHS Rationing Threatens Coalition
Tim Briggs, vice president elect of the British Orthopaedic Association, claimed that the rationing of healthcare would cost the government the next election unless ministers acted to tackle bottlenecks caused by surging levels of obesity and an ageing population.
Safe Blood Test For Down’s Syndrome
Doctors have developed a blood test for pregnant women that can detect 99 per cent of Down’s syndrome babies without risking a miscarriage.
A study by the foetal medicine specialist, Professor Kypros Nicolaides in London, showed the Harmony prenatal test was highly accurate at a very early stage in pregnancy.
The cost of the test, which was made available last month at a chain of US clinics for $700 (£440) has yet to be decided for UK patients, but is likely to be less than £1,000.
Studies Link Infection To Mood Changes
Some 350,000 people per year in Britain are being infected with toxoplasma, a parasite spread by cats, which has been linked with schizophrenia.
There is mounting evidence linking the toxoplasma parasite to changes in mood or personality even though the infectious agent is believed to be completely harmless in more than 80 per cent of infected people.
A number of recent studies have suggested toxoplasma infection increases the chances of someone developing serious psychological disturbances, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Frozen IVF Embryos Better Than Fresh
Research conducted by doctors at Aberdeen University has concluded that women had a lower risk of bleeding in pregnancy with embryos that had been frozen and thawed, and went on to have fewer preterm and low birthweight babies, than a person who had ‘fresh’ embryos.
Abha Maheshwari, a senior lecturer at the university and consultant in reproductive medicine with NHS Grampian, said the results showed a need to ‘explore further what is the cause of frozen embryos giving us better pregnancies or less complications in the pregnancy.’
Inhalers Can Make Asthma Victims Shorter In Adulthood
Children using steroid inhalers for asthma end up being about half an inch shorter as adults, according to US researchers.
The researchers followed about 1,000 children with asthma. Their average adult height was about half an inch shorter in the group that used the steroid inhaler than in those taking non-steroid medication or a placebo. Patients who had slower growth were primarily between 5 and 11 years of age when they began using a steroid inhaler.s
The findings were presented on Monday at the European Respiratory Society meeting in Vienna.
Thousands Could Benefit From Life-Changing Asthma Drug
Thousands of people crippled by asthma could be helped by a ‘life-changing drug, Omalizumab.
Also known as Xolair, the drug works by blocking the action of antibody, which triggers an asthma attack. It is approved for use in Britain by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, Currently, the drug is not thought to be used widely enough although about 4,000 patients should benefit from it.
Health Warning Over Army Of NHS Temps
NHS trusts are increasingly employing key clinical staff on ‘zero hours’ contract, which threaten to turn parts of the reformed service into any army of ‘temps’.
Hospital trusts and private firms are turning to the contracts, which bind employees to on-call working but do not guarantee any specified number of hours or income or employment rights, to meet demands in the government’s reform agenda for the NHS.
E-cigarettes Can Damage Health
Electronic cigarettes used by smokers by trying to stop the lethal habit can actually themselves cause lung damage.
Scientists fear that the devices can trigger changes to the lungs, despite the fact that they are hailed as a safer alternative to cigarettes.
Schoolgirls Offered New Cervical Cancer Vaccine
Schoolgirls will be able to get a new type of cervical cancer vaccine from this term which will provide wider protection against the virus that causes the disease.
The vaccination will be switched from Cervarix, which protects against two strains of human papillomavirus, to Gardasil, which protects against four.
Britons Warned Of Deadly Yosemite Virus
The Health Protection Agency is contacting Britons who may have visited Yosemite, the US national park at the centre of the outbreak of a virus that has killed two people.
The Agency said it was not aware of any cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, which is carried by rodents, in Britons who had been there. Up to 10,000 people who stayed in cabins in the park’s Curry Village may have been exposed to the disease.
Honey Aids Cancer Cure
MRSA rates in cancer patients fell 36 per cent when their wounds were covered in leptospermum honey from New Zealand and Australia after they had surgery.
Aintree University Hospital, Liverpool trialled it and said: ‘Honey will give us the opportunity to not only improve infection rates, but makes significant savings.’
Paracetamol Overdose Drug May Help Diabetes Patients
A drug used to reverse the effects of paracetamol overdose could help reduce the risk of heart disease in patients with type 2 diabetes, new research suggests.
Researchers at the University of the Highlands and Islands found that in people with type-2 diabetes, platelet cells in blood clots are low in an antioxidant called glutathione. They also showed that a once daily dose of N-acetylcysteine helped to normalise levels of this antioxidant and reduce the levels of clot formation indicators in the blood.
The findings could be beneficial for patients with diabetes, who get less cardio-protective benefit from aspirin than other people.
Lead researchers, Professor Ian Megson, whose findings are published in the journal, Diabetologia, said: ‘There is an urgent need to find new drugs as alternatives to aspirin in this vulnerable group of patients. This study represents an important early step in finding just such a drug.’
The team now hope to conduct large-scale clinical trials with a view to determining the drug’s benefits in people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Study Explores Risk Factors For Bullying In Children With Asthma
A new study has shed light on a number of factors that help to explain why children with asthma face an increased risk of being bullied.
Researchers at the Derbyshire Children’s Hospital analysed questionnaire responses from 943 parents and children over the age of seven. They discovered that children who did less sport because of their asthma were more likely to be bullied, as were those who reported feelings of sadness.
Other factors that were associated with an increased risk of bullying included poor asthma control and having a parent who smoked.
The findings were reported at the annual congress of the European Respiratory Society by Dr Will Carroll from the Derbyshire Children’s Hospital, who said: ‘Our findings emphasise the need for doctors and nurses to speak to their patients about the effects their condition has on all aspects of their life.
‘We know that bullying is associated with asthma and these findings can help us understand why this is the case.’
Coconut Oil Could Play Key Role In Fight Against Tooth Decay
As well as regular brushing and flossing, a bit of coconut oil in the diet could help guard against tooth decay, experts have said.
New research carried out by a team working at the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland saw oral health investigate the potential benefits of coconut oil, as well as of vegetable and olive oils.
They found that coconut oil was also seen to attack another related acid-producing bacterium, leading the team to think that, with further research and product development, coconuts could soon be playing a key role in the fight against tooth decay.
Presenting their findings at the Society of General Microbiology’s annual conference, the Irish scientists noted that tooth decay affected up to 90 per cent of children in industrialised countries.
Earlier this month, researchers at the University of Missouri in the US unveiled a new electric toothbrush so effective that they are heralding it as pain free alternative to the dentist’s drill.