The final trial results of the world’s first malaria vaccine confirmed its potential to prevent millions of cases. Researchers said the vaccine was effective on more than a third of children after the first dose was delivered between ages five and 17 months. This level of protection could have a huge impact on an estimated 198 million cases of malaria a year. The vaccine could be available as early as October.
A study shows that children who are spending too much time studying inside have poorer eyesight. Researchers believe that children should be allowed to study outside to stop them from becoming short-sighted. About 40 percent of Britons suffer from short-sightedness, and experts warn the figures will increase. British laser eye surgeon Dr David Allamby said, “There are several studies showing that lack of daylight might be the principal reason why children become more short-sighted, rather than prolonged reading”.
Scientists have developed a new technique that offers an alternative to the “three-parent” IVF baby approach stopping genetic disease from passing on to future generations. Researchers have proven the possibility of editing the genome of the mitochondria to eliminate the DNA mutations that passes down the disease. The study on mice showed that it was possible to remove many harmful mutations so the offspring doesn’t carry the defects.
Seventy percent of cancer sufferers are battling other significant health problems
Macmillan Cancer Support have released a new report suggesting that 1.8 million patients with cancer also suffer from other chronic conditions such as heart disease, arthritis or diabetes. Experts concur that cancer sufferers have a greater risk at developing chronic conditions as a consequence to either of their disease, or the treatment for it. A condition such as obesity, which increases the risk of cancer, is more likely to increase the risk of other health problems. The charity said the study illustrates the challenges facing patients as health issues are often treated as separately when in fact a “holistic” approach is needed.
The most significant breakthrough in the treatment of Alzheimer’s could be on its way
People with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease are being recruited for a trial to test a new treatment. The drug liraglutide, normally used for diabetes, was originally trialled on mice and showed promising results in reducing the damage caused by dementia and improving memory. This could be the first treatment to reverse the progression of the condition. Scientists said it could be a breakthrough in the treatment of dementia if the study proves positive in humans
Ovarian cancer drug can be used to treat prostate cancer
New research shows that a pioneering drug intended for women with ovarian cancer can be used to treat men with terminal prostate cancer. The drug, olaparib, is the first drug to target inherited genetic mutations. The trial showed the drug was able to stop cancer growth, and that it could be highly effective at fighting 30 percent of advanced prostate cancer cases. “The use of DNA testing to identify mutations like BRCA and direct treatment to them is a huge step in that direction and so these early results are very exciting”, said Dr Iain Frame, director of research at the charity Prostate Cancer UK.
Mindfulness therapy as powerful as anti-depressants
A new study has proved that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy has the same effect as anti-depressants. Mindfulness encourages individuals to be present in the moment. This technique specifically helps people who have recurring depression and stops them from having relapses. The trial showed that the rate of depression relapse using mindfulness was almost equal to the relapse rate in people taking anti-depressants.
Use of antidepressants during pregnancy could be the cause of anxiety in children
Research shows that mothers who take antidepressants during pregnancy increase the chance of their children experiencing anxiety later in life. The Norwegian study also showed that untreated depression also causes the child behavioural problems. A different study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology showed that more than 20 percent of women suffer from depression during pregnancy. Researchers claim therapies and counselling sessions are more effective for pregnant women than taking pills.
A study has revealed that taking too many vitamins can increase the risk of getting cancer and heart disease. Through the examination of research papers going back 30 years, Dr Tim Byers, leading cancer expert, looked into the three widely used supplements; vitamin E tablets, beta-carotene, and folic acid. Byers’ study indicated that people have a higher chance of getting cancer if they take too many supplements. “We have discovered that taking extra vitamins and minerals do more harm than good”, said Byers.
According to research in the Journal of Public Health, obese people can be divided into six different groups. The study suggests that by identifying which group each individual belongs to, the NHS can save money by offering them a targeted approach instead of a ‘one size fits all’ approach. The NHS spends approximately £6bn on obesity every year. “Policies designed to tackle obesity and encourage healthier lifestyles often target individuals just because they are obese. But a focus on just the group as a whole is not very efficient. We are all different and different health promotion approaches work for different people”, said Dr Mark Green, Sheffield University’s School of Health and Related Research.
Czech researchers have studied the effectiveness of using fat cells to reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis. The study showed that injecting stomach fat into the knees of osteoarthritis suffers, can reduce symptoms by 75 percent in two thirds of cases. Osteoarthritis is a debilitating and painful degenerative disease, that affects approximately 14 percent of adults (25 years old and above). The study was led by the Investigational Review of American Naturopathic Research Institute.
A report published this week suggests that the NHS is struggling to monitor the efficiency and safety of services outsourced to private providers. The report by independent think-tank Centre for Health and the Public Interest, found that over half of local clinical commissioning groups fail to undertake or record site inspections. Colin Leys, the report’s co-author, said: “The picture that is emerging is of an NHS poorly equipped to ensure that healthcare services outsourced to for-profit providers will provide safe, high-quality care and good value for money”.
An unknown protein which is believed to boost the body’s immune system to fight off viruses and cancer has been discovered by scientists at Imperial College London. With this “game-changing” discovery researchers hope to begin trialling new genetic therapy on humans in three years. The protein, lymphocyte expansion molecule (LEM), will allow a larger number of T cells to be produced, which will enable it to fight off all kinds of diseases.
A major study has found that a blood test can predict breast cancer five years before it develops. Scientist said that this technique has an 80 percent accuracy level. The traditional method of using mammograms has a 75 percent accuracy level and only detects the cancer once it’s present. The new technique comes with some concerns that women might be undergoing needless treatments due to the number of “false positives” picked up by the scans. However the technique involves building a “metabolic profile” and measuring all the compounds in the blood to detect changes in the way chemicals are processed during the pre-cancerous stage.
Psychotherapists and mental health experts said in a letter to the Guardian that austerity cuts are having a “profoundly disturbing” impact on people’s mental health. The letter stated that the main cause of distress is poverty and increasing inequality. “The profoundly disturbing psychological and quality-of-life implications of the Coalition Government’s cuts and policies have yet to be mentioned in the election campaign”, the letter said. According to more than 400 signatures, the consequences of “the emotional toxicity of neoliberal thinking” are evident in therapist’s consulting room.
A new potential cause of Alzheimer’s disease has been discovered and could lead to a cure. A study of Alzheimer’s in mice at Duke University, North Carolina, has led to the discovery the disease is connected to the immune cells that normally protect the brain. However, with Alzheimer’s the cell consume vital nutrients called arginine, causing memory loss. The study showed that this process could be blocked, and thereby prevent the formation of ‘plaques’ in the brain that are characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease. The study halted memory loss in the mice.
A poll showed that 34 percent of GPs are planning to retire within the next five years. The main reasons were high stress levels, the workload, and the little time spent with each patient. The poll conducted by the British Medical Association, also showed that 1 in 10 GPs are considering working abroad, while 17 percent would like to work part-time, and 7 percent are considering quitting medicine completely.
A new study indicates that fathers’ sperm may hold the trigger to autism in their children. The study analysed sperms from 44 fathers of babies who showed early signs of autistic symptoms, and the scientists found that the changes in the epigenetics in the men’s DNA could transfer autism to the next generation. The Epigenetic changes which involve modifications in chemicals attached to the DNA molecule have been linked with irregular development of the nerve cells in the brain.
Patients need their passports to be admitted to a NHS hospital. This new regulation is put into action to stop health tourists and migrants from taking advantage of free NHS healthcare. This will require filling out forms with information such as passport number and expiry date. The Department of Health is hoping to limit the government’s spending on tourists abusing the Health Service, which usually costs up to £2bn a year.
A study has showed that the research for dementia is not getting the funding it needs. The Oxford University study showed that cancer is getting 13 times more funding than dementia, despite dementia having a greater impact on society. “Despite the shift in funding priorities, research into the treatment and prevention of dementia remains underfunded when compared with the economic and personal impact these conditions have”, said professor Alastair Grey.
New research suggest that cancers of the stomach could soon be detected using a simple breath test. Stomach cancer in the UK is relatively rare and it is often left undiagnosed until it is too late. Researchers said this new method could help detect the disease early and potentially save lives. The breath test will help monitor the cancer risk with accuracy in a cost effective way.
Young people more likely to develop back pain due to mobile use
A survey conducted by the British Chiropractic Association, showed that 86 percent of the 2,000 participants said they had back and neck pain, with 45 percent of them between 16 to 24 years old. The rise from last year’s 77 percent is due to the modern lifestyle, said Tim Hutchful, a BCA chiropractor. Most people spend most of their days in the office on their computers and looking down at their phones. Hutchful said “When people use laptops or mobile phones in bed they tend to forget their posture, hunch over the screen and leave their spine unsupported, which can damage posture and cause back or neck pain.”
A study has showed that trained German Shepherds were able to detect prostate cancer by sniffing urine samples. The study by the Department of Urology at the Humanities Clinical and Research Centre in Milan had two German Shepherds sniff 900 samples of urine and detected that 360 of them had prostate cancer, with a 98.7 and 97.6 percent in accuracy.
Caesarean section is not for “too posh to push” mothers
World Health Organization stated that caesarean sections should only be used when necessary, not because the mother is “too posh to push”. According to the WHO, unnecessary caesarian sections can increase the risk of causing disability or death. Moreover, the increased cost and high rates of unnecessary operations can pull resources away from other services in overloaded and weak health systems. Caesarean sections should only be performed when there is a complication in natural birth, such as prolonged labour, fetal distress, or when the baby is in an abnormal position, stated the WHO.