The Health News United Kingdom October 26 2017

  • New York will become the eleventh US state to ban e-cigarettes indoors next month, after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to prohibit vaping in workplaces, bars and restaurants. But by contrast, the UK’s Royal College of Physicians found that e-cigarettes carried only about 5% of the risks of smoking. One recent study showed using e-cigarettes had become the most popular method of quitting in the UK, while another suggested young people who tried e-cigarettes were not more likely to take up smoking as a result.
  • A new study suggests that NHS hospitals could carry out 280,000 more non-emergency operations a year by organising operating theatre schedules better, a new study suggests. The research, which looked at data from 2016, found more than two hours were wasted each day on the average operating list.
  • A breakthrough stem cell treatment is hoped to help rein in a prescription drug ‘epidemic’ killing thousands in the United States. The treatment, for chronic back pain, could bring welcome relief to millions of people suffering from lower back pain. While in the UK, NHS figures in May showed that prescriptions for addictive opiate painkillers have doubled in the UK in the last decade, with doctors warning the drugs are being handed out too readily.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 26th of  October 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/24/e-cigarette-bans-highlight-public-health-divide-between-us-and-uk-researchers

New York will become the eleventh US state to ban e-cigarettes indoors next month, after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to prohibit vaping in workplaces, bars and restaurants. The ban brings the state in line with World Health Organization guidance, which called for bans on indoor vaping, but highlights a major public health divide between researchers in the US and UK, who have respectively focused on the potential harms or benefits of vaping.
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While US research into the smoking substitutes – which do not burn tobacco – has focused on the potential for children to get hooked on fruity vaping flavors; the potential that children could move on to cigarettes; and the detrimental effects on the cardiovascular system, public health messages in England have focused on the potential for e-cigarettes and vaping products to be used to help people quit. The US National Institute on Drug Abuse has warned that e-cigarettes could contain “potentially toxic metal nanoparticles”. Vaping “might be less harmful than cigarettes”, the agency said, but more research was needed on its long-term effects.

By contrast, the UK agency Public Health England announced that e-cigarettes could be “ ninety five percent less harmful than tobacco” – although the British health journal the Lancet later criticized this stance as “the opinions of a small group of individuals with no pre-specified expertise in tobacco control … based on an almost total absence of evidence of harm”. The UK’s Royal College of Physicians found that e-cigarettes carried only about five percent of the risks of smoking. One recent study showed using e-cigarettes had become the most popular method of quitting in the UK, while another suggested young people who tried e-cigarettes were not more likely to take up smoking as a result.

Peter Hajek, a professor, psychologist and tobacco researcher at the Queen Mary University of London said “I think the Americans are much more scared of nicotine.” He added that the decision to ban e-cigarette use indoors in New York state – it was banned in New York City in two thousand thirteen– was part of an American “war on drugs” mentality. “This is a very irrational decision to make.” In addition, America’s lax smoking regulations may contribute to researchers’ estimation of potential harms. Tobacco taxes are much lower in the US; unlike in countries such as Australia and the UK, cigarette packs do not display graphic warnings; and some states still allow smoking in public bars and restaurants.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-41727535

A new study suggests that NHS hospitals could carry out two hundred eighty thousand more non-emergency operations a year by organising operating theatre schedules better.
The research, which looked at data from two thousand sixteen, found more than two hours were wasted each day on the average operating list.
The study says avoidable factors like late starts led to the loss of time. The analysis, seen by the BBC ahead of publication, looked at theatres in one hundred NHS Trusts in England. A total of one point sixty four million routine surgical procedures were carried out in two thousand sixteen, including eye, ear, nose and throat operations and orthopaedic procedures.

Routine operations are considered non-emergency, and each surgical team will have a daily operating theatre list of patients who are scheduled to go under the knife.
Waiting times for routine operations are going up and there is an ongoing debate over whether more money is needed for the NHS or whether it could be more efficient.
The report, by regulator NHS Improvement, says it is not a question of getting surgeons to work harder. Instead, planning lists more effectively and reducing late starts and early finishes would have made a big difference, it argues. Working hard to eliminate last minute cancellations by better pre-op planning enabled one hospital to significantly improve its performance.
The health regulator is keen to get hospitals to make better use of their assets.
NHS Improvement’s Steve Russell says: “We hope this analysis will enable them to identify bottlenecks within their systems to ensure operations are scheduled more appropriately and more patients receive the care they need quickly.”

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/new-treatment-for-chronic-back-pain-could-stop-opioidepidemic-in-us-a3666416.html

A breakthrough stem cell treatment is hoped to help rein in a prescription drug ‘epidemic’ killing thousands in the United States. The treatment, for chronic back pain, could bring welcome relief to millions of people suffering from lower back pain. The injection would also offer a crucial alternative to prescription painkiller opioids, such as oxycodone or methadone, which are leading to dangerous addiction among many Americans. Earlier this year, doctors warned against the rise of similar opiate painkillers in the UK. Back pain is a common health issues that affects about twenty eight million people in the US, and accounts for around half of all opioid painkiller prescriptions there. The US is currently experiencing an ‘opioid epidemic’, with more than fifteen thousand people dying from overdosing on the prescription painkillers in two thousand fifteen. Last week, US president Donald Trump said he is due to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency.

Figures released by the NHS in May showed that prescriptions for addictive opiate painkillers have doubled in the UK in the last decade, with doctors warning the drugs are being handed out too readily. The new research is specifically focused on treating degenerative disc disease, which is one of the most common causes of lower back pain. The condition occurs when intervertebral discs deteriorate as a normal process of aging. In the study, an injection of the cells helped around half of those treated to experience no back pain for two years. Some have been without pain for three years.

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