The Health News United Kingdom February 21 2018

  • According to new research that short children are at greater risk of suffering a stroke later in life. Being 2 to 3 inches shorter growing up raised the likelihood of the disease in both men and women. The discovery follows research by British scientists showing the vertically challenged are at increased risk of a heart attack. A previous study of more than a million adults found those who were 2 and a half inches taller than average were 6% and 10% less likely to die from an ischaemic and intracerebral haemorrhage, respectively.
  • Scientists have taken the first steps towards what they say could become a new blood and urine test for autism. Their study tested children with and without the condition and found higher levels of protein damage in those with the disorder. The researchers said the tests could lead ultimately to the earlier detection of the condition, which can be difficult to diagnose. But experts expressed caution, saying such a test was still a long way off.
  • People on Twitter were outraged when McDonald’s announced it was removing the cheeseburger from their Happy Meal menus in the US.  However the move was slightly lost in translation, as people are still able to order the cheeseburger Happy Meal on request, it just won’t be advertised. The fast food chain stated that the changes form part of the global fast-food giant’s plans to have at least half of the Happy Meals listed around the world to contain 600 calories or fewer by 2022. In the UK, cheeseburgers have not been advertised on the menu for more than 10 years. But, parents can still order them for their kids.
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The Health News USA February 21 2018

  • A new study suggests that a shortage of clinicians specializing in pediatric behavioral and developmental disorders is translating into long wait times for new patient appointments amid surging demand. Researchers noted in Pediatrics that developmental and behavioral problems are common, affecting about 15% of U.S. children. But as a growing number of kids seek care for increasingly complex conditions, the number of available specialists is set to decline as retirements loom and fewer younger clinicians pursue this type of work.
  • Frustration is mounting in the medical community as the Trump administration again points to mental illness in response to yet another mass shooting. Under gun industry pressure, U.S. government research on firearm violence has been limited for decades. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were about 38,000 U.S. gun deaths in 2016, slightly more than the number of people who died in car crashes.
  • A US study suggests that the number of babies dying of suffocation before their 1st birthday has been rising in recent years, driven at least in part by an increase in the number of parents sharing beds with their infants. Researchers reported in Pediatrics that from 1999 to 2015, the suffocation death rate for babies younger than 1 year climbed from 12.4 to 28.3 fatalities for every 1,000 U.S. infants.
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The Health News Australia February 21 2018

  • The Federal Government says it is providing two new “enhanced” flu vaccines for free to people over 65 after last year’s “horrific” flu season. Last year there were more than 1,000 flu related deaths — 90% of those were people aged over 65. There was criticism of the vaccines used last flu season. The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, believes the new “enhanced” vaccines will be more effective. From April, both vaccines, Fluad and Fluzone High Dose, will be available through the National Immunisation Program following a recommendation from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.
  • Scientists have found that targeting micro-organisms in the gut, known as microbiota, could have the potential to help prevent type one diabetes. University of Queensland researcher Doctor Emma Hamilton-Williams investigated differences in the gut microbiota, comparing those susceptible to type one diabetes to those protected against the autoimmune disease.
  • Healthcare providers will need to confirm the identity of new patients, batch requests for Medicare numbers by large hospitals will be more tightly controlled, and Australians will be able to find out who has accessed their Medicare details, following the discovery last year of Medicare numbers for sale on the dark web. A public awareness campaign will be conducted to inform Australians of the importance of protecting Medicare numbers, given the use of the cards as a form of proof of identity.
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The Health News United Kingdom February 20 2018

  • Health and social care services in the south of Nottinghamshire have been placed on the highest alert. The Opel four status, formerly known as black alert, has been in effect at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust since Monday. But the warning has now been extended to include council-run health services and the ambulance service. NUH said it had seen high numbers of admissions relating to respiratory conditions and a shortage of beds.
  • Cases of “highly contagious” scarlet fever are continuing to soar in Wales, with more than 90 cases reported in the last week alone. According to new data for the week ending February 11, 92 suspected cases of scarlet fever were reported in Wales. The number is much higher than in the sixth week of the year in the previous four years, with 27 cases reported in 2017, 25 in 2016, and 23 in 2015.
  • A study has found that skin supplements could be a waste of money. Scientists at the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) found there was little evidence that added exotic ingredients, such as green tea, pomegranate extract, fish oil, collagen and co-enzyme Q10 had any effect as supplements. The global beauty supplements market is expected to reach £5.1 billion pounds by two thousand twenty three, with many containing ‘neutraceuticals’, such as vitamins A, C, B2, B3, B7, and the minerals iodine and zinc.
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The Health News USA February 20 2018

  • The state Department of Health says nearly 11,000 people in Ohio have been hospitalized for influenza this flu season. Ohio health department records show Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, has had nearly double the number of flu hospitalizations thru February 10 as Franklin County, Ohio’s most populous county that includes Columbus.
  • A Canyon County legislator has proposed carving out a mental health exception to a felony battery law meant to protect health care workers. The bill was introduced last week in the Idaho House by Representative Christy Perry, Republican from Nampa and a candidate this year for Congress. The 2014 law made battery of health care workers a felony. Those workers have among the highest rates of on-the-job violence. Nurses, doctors, hospital security guards and others in Idaho have reported being stalked by angry patients, punched and kicked by patients who are drunk or high, attacked by patients who wanted prescription opioids, and injured so badly that they cannot work.
  • Long before authorities accused Nikolas Cruz of killing 17 people at his former high school in less than five minutes, state social workers, mental health counselors, school administrators, police and the FBI received warnings about his declining mental state and penchant for violence. Instead of taking decisive action to help Cruz, authorities left the troubled 19-year-old diagnosed with depression, autism and ADHD to essentially continue on his own down a path that prosecutors say led to the shooting Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with an AR-15 rifle.
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The Health News Australia February 20 2018

  • The federal government has agreed to the fourteen recommendations made by the independent review of health providers’ access to Medicare card numbers, touting an individual’s privacy and card information security. One recommendation made by the review in October was having authentication for the Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) system moved “expeditiously” from Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to the more secure Provider Digital Access. Also agreed to by DHS was keeping the Medicare card as a valid form of identification in Australia, and as recommended by the review, it will aim to encourage further public awareness on the importance of protecting Medicare card information.
  • Melbourne researchers have revealed why flu vaccines work better in some people and not others. Australian scientists have discovered three specific white blood cells which play a key role in determining whether a person responds well to flu vaccines, a breakthrough that could lead to better protection against future deadly strains of the virus. Best-case vaccine effectiveness is around 60%, however efficacy was much lower during the 2017  flu season.
  • A record number of West Australians last month got so badly sunburnt they ended up in hospital emergency departments, despite Perth’s mildest summer in 25 years. In January, 118 people — an average of almost 4 people a day — sought emergency medical help at hospitals for sunburn-related injuries. Cancer Council WA estimates 261 thousand West Aussies suffer sunburn each year.
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The Health News United Kingdom February 19 2018

  • According to the first estimates from the Office for National Statistics, the average Brit consumes 50% more calories than they think they do. The new data show that men are the worst at kidding themselves – typically consuming 1,000 more calories than they estimate every day – while women eat about 800 calories more than they account for. The new PHE advice, in the One You nutrition campaign, will say adults should limit lunches and dinners to 600 calories each, with 400 calories for breakfast.
  • New figures from the Office of National Statistics have shown that emissions from motor vehicles have actually dropped 12% in the four years between 2012 and 2016.
    The drop comes as governments around the world, including the UK, have started to impose stricter regulations on the emissions being produced by cars including tougher penalties on older cars, especially diesel vehicles.
  • A BBC investigation shows that senior NHS female doctors are earning less than their male counterparts. Of the top 100 earning consultants in England, just five are women, despite more than a third of the workforce being female. The top-paid man earned nearly £740,000 – two-and-a-half times that of the top woman.On average, full-time women consultants earned nearly £14,000 a year less than men – a pay gap of 12%
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The Health News USA February 19 2018

  • Hundreds of hardy Penn State students have raised more than $10 million for pediatric cancer patients in the annual 46-hour dance marathon known as Thon. The $10,151,663.93 total was announced Sunday afternoon at the conclusion of the Penn State Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, billed as the world’s largest student-run philanthropy.
  • United States health spending is projected to rise 5.3 percent in 2018, reflecting rising prices of medical goods and services and higher Medicaid costs, a U.S. government health agency said on Wednesday, an upward trend it forecasts for the next decade.
    The increase represents a sharp uptick from 2017 spending, which the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) now estimates to have been a 4.6 percent climb to nearly $3.5 trillion. It had previously forecast a 2017 rise of 5.4 percent.
  • In an effort to make their meals healthier, McDonald’s is eliminating two long-time staples in their child-friendly Happy Meals. The fast-food company is removing cheeseburgers and chocolate milk to reduce calories, sodium, saturated fats and added sugars, the company announced in a press release. According to the press release, these changes will lead to a 20 percent reduction in calories, 50 percent reduction in added sugars, 13 percent reduction in saturated fat and a 17 percent reduction in sodium depending on the customer’s specific meal choice.
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The Health News Australia February 19 2018

  • HBF has struck a $4 billion dollar merger with a big east coast private health insurer, saying the success of the tie-up will be measured on the cost of its premiums next year. Under a deal to be confirmed this morning, HBF plans to join forces with Sydney-based HCF to create a more powerful third force in private health insurance behind Bupa and Medibank Private. HBF and HCF would retain their individual identities after the merger and continue to be run by their own management teams, at least for the time being, under a new umbrella company guided by a common board of directors.
  • People with acute and chronic pain say they are struggling to get the help they need since codeine-related medication was taken off pharmacy shelves. In an attempt to stop abuse, addiction and problematic side-effects, codeine is now only available with a prescription. Some opioid or codeine users had been preparing for the change, but many said weaning off and finding alternatives had been difficult.
  • Older Australians will be given free, stronger flu vaccinations by the federal government in an effort to prevent another deadly outbreak. More than one thousand one hundred people across Australia died from the flu last year, with most of them over the age of 65. The stronger vaccine will be delivered in a $31 million dollar program. FluAd and FluZone will be free for over 65s when the supply arrives in Australia in April.
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The Health News United Kingdom February 17 2018

  • Theresa May’s plans for an “opt-out” organ transplant system will not solve Britain’s long waiting lists for donations, the NHS chief responsible for transplants has said. Claire Williment said there was “no magic formula” to cutting down the tally of 3 people a day who currently die while waiting for a donor organ, and predicted switching to a system of presumed consent may only yield 100 extra donors each year.
  • Research has found that a lack of training for health professionals could be contributing to one thousand two hundred avoidable deaths of people with a learning disability in England each year. A poll of 506 healthcare professionals for Mencap found 23% had never received training on meeting the needs of patients with a learning disability and 45% thought the lack of training may contribute to avoidable deaths.
  • Older people are often assumed to want amiable companionship in later life rather than passion-fuelled romance. But a survey of 2,002 older Brits suggests 52% of over-65s feel they do not have enough sex, and nearly a third are happy to have sex on a first date. It also found one in ten over-75s have had multiple sexual partners since turning 65. The charity Independent Age said its survey showed age was “no barrier to having a sex life”.
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