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News In Brief 22 June 2009
Call To Ban Smoking In Cars Carrying Children
A leading paediatric expert last week insisted that people should be banned from smoking in cars carrying children.
Professor Terence Stephenson, head of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said it should be illegal to impose smoke on youngsters in such a confined space. He referred to an Ontario Tobacco Research Unit study, which showed smoking one cigarette created pollution inside a car that was 100 time greater than accepted US standards.
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health, supported the ban.
Gene’s Link To Depression Now Questioned
One of the most celebrated findings in modern psychiatry that a single gene helps determine one’s risk of depression in response to a divorce, a lost job or another serious reversal has not held up to scientific scrutiny, researchers now report.
The original study was so compelling because it explained how nature and nurture could collude to produce a complex mood problem. It followed 847 people from birth to age 26 and found that those most likely to sink into depression after a stressful event had a particular variant of a gene involved in the regulation of serotonin, a brain messenger that affects mood.
However, in the latest study, from the University of California, San Francisco, led by a coalition of researchers, who identified 14 studies that gathered the same kinds of data a the original study. The authors re-analysed the data and found ‘no evidence of an association between the serotonin gene and the risk of depression, no matter what people’s life experiences were.’
Ban Coin-Operated Sub Beds
Time limit should be places on sun bed use and all coin-operated booths should be banned according to a report at the end of last week. The study also advised that salons should be off-limits for under-18s.
The 8,000 sun bed salons in England and Wales are currently regulated using voluntary guidelines drawn up by the industry. But experts from the advisory body, the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation In The Environment, are pushing for legislation. A ban on unmanned booths is even supported by the industry organisation, the Sun Bed Association.
More than 20,000 people, including 5,000 children, had emergency dental treatment in hospital last year, a recent report showed. There were 18,000 people treated in A&E alone.
Andrew Lansley said the report was further evidence of Labour’s appalling failure on NHS dentistry.
Glastonbury Revellers To Receive Free Chlamydia Test
Young people attending this year’s Glastonbury festival are to be offered free chlamydia screening, it has been announced. The NHS said that tests will be available for 15 to 24 year olds in a bid to prevent the spread of the sexually transmitted infection.
Figures show that one in 12 sexually active people in this age group test positive for the infection, which can cause infertility if left untreated.
Graduate Training Schemes Benefitting From Increased Take Up
In an article recently looking at graduate training for NHS roles, Caroline Waterfield, deputy head of employment services at NHS Employers said midwifery and occupational therapy were both benefiting from government plans to increase the number of undergraduate courses and place numbers available.
Growing Number of Private Sector Applicants For Public Sector Roles
In an article looking at career options in the public sector, Sian Thomas, Director of NHS Employers said the NHS had seen a large increase in the amount of applicants from the private sector and competition was growing for administrative and clerical roles.
FSA Launches Fifth Insider Dealing Case
The Financial Services Authority has launched its fifth insider dealing case in 18 months after three men were charged with eight counts of insider dealing during the takeover of a pharmaceutical company in 2006.
Andrew King was finance director of Neutec Pharma and is alleged to have had inside information about its proposed takeover by Switzerland’s Novartis that he passed to Michael Mc Fall, a lawyer, who in turn is alleged to have disclosed it to Andrew Rimmington.
Tanning Alert As Skin Cancer Cases Double
The most deadly form of skin cancer is affecting more than twice as many people as 20 years ago, official figures show.
Experts say cheap foreign holidays, sunbeds and a reluctance to wear sunscreen have caused cases of malignant melanoma to soar.
Some 9,417 people in England were diagnosed with the cancer between 19885 and 1987. but by 2004-06, the figure had risen to 24,356.
The NHS-funded group’s skin cancer map of England, launched on the Skin Cancer Hub website last week, showed that rates of malignant melanoma have almost trebled in the North West, and Yorkshire and Humber regions.
Cook Carrots Before Chopping For Anti-Cancer Benefits
The health benefits of eating carrots could be increased by a quartet by waiting until they are cooked before chopping them up, a study has found. Cutting carrots after boiling could mean that they contain more the anti-cancer compound, falcarinol.
The study, by Dr Kirsten Brandt and Ahlam Rashed from Newcastle University’s School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, also found that the naturally occurring sugars that give carrots their sweet flavour were more concentrated if the carrots were cooked whole.
Calls For Social Care Staff To Receive Dementia Training
Many care workers do not have sufficient training to look after people with dementia properly, a report has warned.
The ‘Prepared To Care’ report, from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia, claims that a significant proportion of carers are not trained to work with vulnerable patients.
Less than half of social care staff who visit people with dementia in their own homes have been taught the necessary skills to deal with the condition. In addition, low staffing levels mean that some home visits last for 15 minutes, the four month inquiry found.
Jeremy Wright, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia, described the findings as ‘disturbing’. He commented that ‘We should improve training and support across the UK and give staff recognition for the difficult and important role they undertake.’
Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said the ‘entire social care workforce must be feared up to deliver good dementia care’ and called upon the Department of Health to show leadership.
Severe Obesity Increases Risk of Complications During Surgery
New research has found that severe obesity can increase the risk of health problems during surgery. The authors claim that heart problems are often underestimated during physical examinations on severely obese patients.
‘ A severely obese patient can be technically difficult to evaluate prior to surgery,’ said lead author, Dr Paul Poirier from the Universite Laval in Quebec, Canada.
‘For example, severely obese people might feel chest tightness that could be a symptom of their obesity or of an underlying cardiac problem. Doctors need to carefully evaluate severely obese patients before they have surgery.’
People suffering from severe obesity have a body mass index of 40 or higher. Some of the conditions associated with obesity, which could increase heart risks in surgery include heart failure, high blood pressure, heart rhythm disorders and a history of blood clots.
The new study suggests that some surgeons are under the impression that some surgeons are under the impression that severely obese patients are more likely to die during surgery than people who are not obese and will not operate on them as a result.
Dr Poirier rejects this opinion, thought, stating: ‘Severely obese patients are at increased risk for pulmonary embolism, wound infection and other conditions. But they are not more likely than their lower-weight counterparts to die as a result of surgery.’
Severely obese people should ask their surgeons whether a particular surgical procedure is safe for a patient of their size, the cuthors claim.
The report also outlines a series of recommendations and tests for clinicians to carry out both before and after surgery to reduce the potential for complications.