The Health News United Kingdom August 14 2017

Overview

  • St. John’s wort is one of the most popular herbal supplements sold in the United States. But according to a study by the National Institutes of Health published, it shows that St. John’s wort could severely curb the effectiveness of several important pharmaceutical drugs — including antibiotics, birth control, and antiretrovirals for infections like HIV — by speeding up their breakdown in the body.
  • New statistics show that 9 in 10 of England’s largest hospital trusts are struggling to hire enough nurses to keep patients safe. The number of people applying to become NHS nurses from Europe has collapsed since the vote to leave the EU last year.
  • The Mail Online reports that the images you put up on Instagram could be used to diagnose if you’re depressed. They looked at more than 43,000  images from 166 people, who also completed a survey about their mood. The researchers found people who reported having a history of depression were more likely to post images that were bluer, darker and less vibrant.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 14th of August 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

http://www.businessinsider.com/supplements-vitamins-bad-or-good-health-2017-8

Saint John’s wort is one of the most popular herbal supplements sold in the United States. But in two thousand, the National Institutes of Health published a study showing that Saint John’s wort could severely curb the effectiveness of several important pharmaceutical drugs — including antibiotics, birth control, and antiretrovirals for infections like HIV — by speeding up their breakdown in the body. The findings on Saint John’s wort prompted the US Food and Drug Administration to warn doctors about the herbal remedy. But that did little to stem public sale or consumption of it. Over the past two decades, US poison-control centers have gotten about two hundred seventy five thousand reports — roughly one every twenty four minutes — of people who reacted badly to supplements; a third of them were about herbal remedies like Saint John’s wort.

The FDA defines supplements as products “intended to add further nutritional value to supplement the diet.” They aren’t regulated as drugs — only when a supplement is shown to cause significant harm is it called out as unsafe. Half of all adult participants in a survey in mid-two thousand said they took at least one supplement every day — almost the same percentage of Americans who took them two decades ago. Yet research has consistently found the pills and powders to be ineffective and sometimes dangerous. But supplements do not come with specific instructions on how much to take — only a suggested dose — or potential drug interactions. Although some small studies initially suggested Saint John’s wort could have benefits for people with depressive symptoms, the NIH researchers failed to find enough evidence to support that.

According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin B-six is “likely safe” in the recommended daily intake amount: one point three milligrams for people ages nineteen to fifty. But taking too much of the supplement has been linked with abnormal heart rhythms, decreased muscle tone, and worsened asthma. High doses of B-six can also cause drops in blood pressure, the Mayo Clinic notes, and can interact with drugs like Advil, Motrin, and those prescribed for anxiety and Alzheimer’s. “People using any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions,” the Mayo Clinic’s website says.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/nursing-crisis-leaving-nhs-hospitals-10983949

Nine in ten of England’s largest hospital trusts are struggling to hire enough nurses to keep patients safe, damning new stats show. Almost all the fifty largest trusts – which together run one hundred fifty hospitals – are missing their own safe staffing targets according to the Royal College of Nursing or RCN. Janet Davies, general secretary of the RCN, warned patients will pay the “very highest price when the government encourages nursing on the cheap”.

She told the Sunday Times that nurses are being increasingly replaced by cheaper, unqualified healthcare assistants.

Data shows more than half of the largest hospitals have tried to cope with staffing crisis by bringing more unregistered staff on shift. And the situation is worse at night, when two thirds of hospitals use unregistered support staff. “Nurses have degrees and expert training,” Miss Davies said. Hospitals have been forced to publish their own staffing levels since two thousand fourteen in response to the Mid-Staffs hospitals scandal, which saw patients die from neglect. The RCN says the most-poorly staffed site at present is the Royal Blackburn Hospital, which had only three-quarters of the nurses it needed on duty in the latest stats.

The union says across the country there are forty thousand nurse vacancies and has warned Brexit will only make matters worse. The number of people applying to become NHS nurses from Europe has collapsed since the vote to leave the EU last year.

http://www.nhs.uk/news/2017/08August/Pages/Software-used-to-screen-social-media-photos-for-depression-signs.aspx

“The images you put up on Instagram could be used to diagnose if you’re depressed,” the Mail Online reports. Researchers attempted to see if computer-driven image recognition could diagnose depression based on the form and content of people’s posts on Instagram, a social media photo sharing site. They looked at more than forty three thousand images from one hundred sixty six people, who also completed a survey about their mood. The researchers found people who reported having a history of depression were more likely to post images that were bluer, darker and less vibrant.

The computer programme was able to correctly identify seventy percent of the participants with depression, getting it wrong twenty four percent of the time.

These results were compared with a separate independent study, which estimated that general practitioners only correctly diagnose forty two percent of cases. This is a proof of concept study into what is often referred to as “machine learning”, where sophisticated algorithms assess massive amounts of data to see if they can begin to spot patterns in the data that humans can’t.

The researchers suggest social media could become a useful screening tool. But aside from whether the science stacks up, there are ethical and legal implications that would need to be considered before this could happen. If you’ve been feeling persistently down and hopeless in the last few weeks and no longer take pleasure in things you used to enjoy, you may be depressed. Contact your General Practitioner for advice.

 

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