The Health News United Kingdom December 16 2017

  • Scientists believe they are on the way to finding a cure for haemophilia A, the bleeding disorder that currently requires sufferers to inject themselves every other day to avoid life-threatening complications. One dose of a gene therapy given experimentally to thirteen patients by NHS doctors in the UK has allowed them all to come off treatment. Globally, various types of haemophilia affect around 400,000 people. In the UK, around 2,000 people have severe haemophilia A.
  • England’s most senior nurse is warning that the combination of cold weather and loneliness could be lethal in the coming months.  Prof. Jane Cummings, NHS England’s chief nursing officer, said cases of strokes and heart attacks tended to rise after a cold snap. She said that, and the growing problem of loneliness, were a dangerous combination over winter. She said “simple acts of companionship” could make all the difference.
  • From the ageing population to a chronic staffing shortage, there are no end of reasons commonly given for the crisis afflicting General Practice. But, until now at least, no one has sought to lay the blame at the trotters of a cartoon character adored by millions of children – none other than Peppa Pig. That, however, is precisely the thrust of a new article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), which blames Peppa’s highly dedicated and responsive general practitioner, Dr. Brown Bear, for single-handedly fostering unrealistic expectations about family doctors. The August publication has highlighted no fewer than three examples in which the fictional general practitioners, who later displays symptoms of “burnout”, provides “clinically inappropriate” home visits or prescriptions.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 16th of December 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/dec/14/leap-forward-towards-gene-therapy-cure-for-haemophilia-a

Scientists believe they are on the way to finding a cure for haemophilia A, the bleeding disorder that currently requires sufferers to inject themselves every other day to avoid life-threatening complications. One dose of a gene therapy given experimentally to thirteen patients by NHS doctors in the UK has allowed them all to come off treatment. These were men – most sufferers are – who would not only bleed without stopping from an injury but would bleed into their joints even in their sleep causing pain and disability, without frequent injections of a clotting factor. None of them now bleeds spontaneously in that way.

Professor John Pasi, Haemophilia Centre director at Barts Health NHS Trust and one of the authors of the study said: “Gene therapy for haemophilia has historically been the Holy Grail. Our patients have to treat themselves at least three times a week and even then they may still bleed. The treatment burden is massive.”
….
Patients were recruited from around England and all injected with a copy of the single gene responsible for causing blood to clot, which they were missing at birth. The treatment given at a low dose in the first two patients did not work. But the thirteen subsequently treated at a higher dose have all stopped their regular injections. More than a year on, eleven of them have levels of the blood clotting protein Factor eight that are at or near normal.
….
Globally, various types of haemophilia affect around four hundred thousand people. In the UK, around two thousand people have severe haemophilia A. The best known sufferer historically was the young Russian Tsarevich Alexei, who had haemophilia B and whose treatment by the monk Rasputin has often been linked to the fall of the Imperial family.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-42329791

England’s most senior nurse is warning that the combination of cold weather and loneliness could be lethal in the coming months.  Professor Jane Cummings, NHS England’s chief nursing officer, said cases of strokes and heart attacks tended to rise after a cold snap. She said that, and the growing problem of loneliness, were a dangerous combination over winter.
She said “simple acts of companionship” could make all the difference. This could include visiting elderly friends, family and neighbours more regularly, doing the shopping for them or picking up prescription medicines, Professor Cummings added.

….
The issue is being highlighted as part of the NHS Stay Well this Winter campaign. Half of people aged seventy five and over live alone – about two million people across England – with many saying they can go days, even weeks with no social interaction at all.

The Campaign to End Loneliness estimates one in ten older people is chronically lonely.
But Professor Cummings said people of all ages can be affected. A third of new mums claim to be lonely, while eight in ten carers say they feel isolated.
….
Research shows being lonely and isolated is linked to increasing the risk of early death by a third. Labour Member of Parliament Rachel Reeves, co-chair of the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission, said: “Loneliness is no longer just a personal misfortune but has grown into a social epidemic.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/11/peppa-pig-piling-pressure-nhs-unrealistic-image-gps/

From the ageing population to a chronic staffing shortage, there are no end of reasons commonly given for the crisis afflicting General Practice. But, until now at least, no one has sought to lay the blame at the trotters of a cartoon character adored by millions of children – none other than Peppa Pig. That, however, is precisely the thrust of a new article in the British Medical Journal, which blames Peppa’s highly dedicated and responsive general practitioner, Doctor Brown Bear, for fostering unrealistic expectations about family doctors. The August publication has highlighted no fewer than three examples in which the fictional general practitioner, who later displays symptoms of “burnout”, provides “clinically inappropriate” home visits or prescriptions.

It is even suggested Doctor Brown Bear is fuelling the rise of antimicrobial resistance, which officials have warned risks returning medicine to the Dark Ages. First aired in two thousand four, the show has become wildly popular and is viewed in around one hundred eighty countries. The BMJ author, Sheffield GP and mother Doctor Catherine Bell, believes that “exposure to Peppa the Pig and its portrayal of general practice raises patient expectation and encourages inappropriate use of primary care services”. In the first example, Doctor Brown Bear makes an urgent home visit to a three-year-old piglet with a facial rash. He advises the parents the condition is “nothing serious” and offers a dose of medicine. This, however, is slammed as unnecessary prescribing for a viral illness which might also encourage patients to access their GP inappropriately because the rash is likely to clear up on its own.
….
General practice in England in currently under intense strain, with the latest figures showing twelve point two percent of positions are vacant and waiting times soaring. But doctors also believe the pressure is being made worse by needless visits. In June the British Medical Association said one in four patients seen by GPs could have cared for themselves at home or seen another healthcare professional.

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