The Health News United Kingdom August 17 2017

Overview

  • The number of drug-related deaths in Scotland last year totalled 867, a rise of twenty 23% in 2015.  Numbers have been steadily increasing since 1995, when 426 fatal overdoses were recorded. The latest statistics from the National Records of Scotland showed more than 70% of deaths were among people aged 35 or over.
  • According to a new study by Oxford and Cambridge Universities, millions of Britons are having their health and home life put at risk because bosses are not offering them regular shift patterns. Nearly 15% of the workforce are the victims of ‘precarious scheduling’ where their hours are so inconsistent that they cannot make plans, leading to stress and domestic strife.
  • Scientists say that plants have been “hijacked” to make polio vaccine in a breakthrough with the potential to transform vaccine manufacture. The team at the John Innes Centre, in Norfolk, says the process is cheap, easy and quick. As well as helping eliminate polio, the scientists believe their approach could help the world react to unexpected threats such as Zika virus or Ebola.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 17th of August 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-40935150

The number of drug-related deaths in Scotland last year totalled eight hundred sixty seven, a rise of twenty three percent in two thousand fifteen. Numbers have been steadily increasing since nineteen ninety five , when four hundred twenty six fatal overdoses were recorded.

The latest statistics from the National Records of Scotland showed more than seventy percent of deaths were among people aged thirty five or over. Critics say the continuing rise calls into question the effectiveness of the Scottish government’s drugs strategy. However, the minister for public health, Aileen Campbell, said “unfortunately” the figures for Scotland were representative of a general trend of increasing drug deaths “across the UK and in many other parts of Europe”.

She added that the problem in Scotland was complex and based on a legacy of drugs misuse “stretching back decades”. Miss Campbell explained: “What we are seeing is an ageing group of people who are long term drugs users. The Scottish Conservatives urged ministers to embark on a new strategy in light of the “appalling” figures and the Scottish Greens said there was “little sense” in funding cuts to initiatives combating drug and alcohol problems. Here is the breakdown of the figures:  men accounted for sixty eight percent of deaths; thirty eight percent of the total were people aged between thirty five and forty four; eighty eight percent of the deaths were related to the taking of opiates or opioids; fifty five percent involved heroin and/or morphine.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/08/15/precarious-scheduling-work-causing-chaotic-home-life-46-million/

Millions of Britons are having their health and home life put at risk because bosses are not offering them regular shift patterns, a new study by Oxford and Cambridge Universities has shown. Nearly fifteen per cent of the workforce, four point six million people, are the victims of ‘precarious scheduling’ where their hours are so inconsistent that they cannot make plans, leading to stress and domestic strife. Researchers said that many workers found themselves in ‘degrading’ relationships with managers where they were forced to beg for changes to rotas to allow them to look after their children or attend important family events. Doctor Alex Wood, now at Oxford University, who embedded himself as a shelf-stacker at a UK supermarket while a researcher at Cambridge’s Department of Sociology, said he had experienced first-hand the toxic interactions between management and workers. “The past decade has seen a fragmenting of working time, as firms have saved costs by increasing shift flexibility through a variety of mechanisms,” said Doctor Wood.

The study also used information from a survey of forty four thousand workers who were asked about their hours and flexibility.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-40925343

Scientists say that plants have been “hijacked” to make polio vaccine in a breakthrough with the potential to transform vaccine manufacture. The team at the John Innes Centre, in Norfolk, says the process is cheap, easy and quick. As well as helping eliminate polio, the scientists believe their approach could help the world react to unexpected threats such as Zika virus or Ebola.

Experts said the achievement was both impressive and important. The vaccine is an “authentic mimic” of poliovirus called a virus-like particle. Outwardly it looks almost identical to poliovirus but – like the difference between a mannequin and person – it is empty on the inside.

It has all the features needed to train the immune system, but none of the weapons to cause an infection.

The scientists hijacked a relative of the tobacco plant’s metabolism to turn its leaves into polio-vaccine “factories”. First, they needed to create new instructions for the plant to follow.

The starting material was the genetic code for making the outer surface of poliovirus.

It was enhanced by combining it with material from viruses that naturally infect plants.

The new instructions were then put into soil bacteria, which were used to infect tobacco.

The infection took hold, the plants read the genetic instructions and started making the virus-like particles.Infected leaves were mixed with water, blended, and the polio vaccine was extracted.

The virus-like particles prevented polio in animal experiments, and an analysis of their three D structure showed they looked almost identical to poliovirus.

Doctor Andrew Macadam, principal scientist at the UK’s National Institute for Biological Standards and Control said that current vaccines for polio are produced from large amounts of live virus, which carries a threat of accidental escape and re-introduction and this study takes us a step closer to replacing current polio vaccines, providing us with a cheap and viable option for making virus-like particle-based vaccines. “But this technology is not limited to polio or even just to vaccines. As long as researchers have the right sequence of genetic code, they can make a vaccine against most viruses.

 

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