The Health News United Kingdom April 17 2018

  • One in 8 middle-aged adults in the UK could have a potentially serious form of liver disease – because they are overweight. Scans of nearly 3,000 individuals from the UK Biobank research project showed that 12% had inflamed, fatty livers. The British Liver Trust said the “very alarming” findings were a ‘wake-up call’ because the condition can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure and death. Hepatologists said there was a silent epidemic of fatty liver disease.
  • Hundreds of thousands of people with mental health conditions and physical disabilities could be given the option of a personalised NHS budget for their own care needs under government proposals. People with learning difficulties and dementia are among around three hundred fifty thousand who could have the right to select and pay for treatments that improve their health and wellbeing through a bespoke care plan agreed with medical professionals. For children and people unable to manage the money, parents or carers will be able to manage the budget.
  • Scientists say they have identified genes that cause a deadly heart condition that can only be cured by transplants of the heart or lungs. Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) kills fifty percent of those affected within five years, but little was known about what caused the condition in some people. Now experts say they have discovered five genes that cause the illness. Researchers say that the findings could lead to earlier detection of the disease and ultimately new treatments. PAH currently affects around 6,500 people in the UK.  

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 17th of April 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-43743410

One in eight middle-aged adults in the UK could have a potentially serious form of liver disease – because they are overweight. Scans of nearly three thousand individuals from the UK Biobank research project showed that twelve percent had inflamed, fatty livers. The British Liver Trust said the “very alarming” findings were a ‘wake-up call’ because the condition can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure and death. Hepatologists said there was a silent epidemic of fatty liver disease. This is especially worrying because symptoms often do not emerge until permanent damage is done – but the condition is reversible if caught in time.

Frances Carroll, aged fifty two, from Oxford, was told she had fatty liver disease seven years ago. At the time she weighed over eighteen stone or one hundred sixteen kilos. She lost seven stone, and went down from a size twenty two to a twelve. Frances now teaches fitness classes and does nutrition coaching.
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And she has had a new type of MRI scan which has showed her liver is healthy again. The results of the MRI scanning study, led by scientists in Oxford, were announced at the International Liver Congress in Paris. They were made possible by an innovative software analysis tool called LiverMultiScan, developed by Perspectum Diagnostics, a spin-out company from the University of Oxford.
….
Needle biopsies are the gold standard for assessing liver disease, but they are costly, invasive, painful and carry some health risks. The software tool can be used in any MRI scanner but is not yet in routine clinical practice. Southampton General is the first NHS hospital to use the new system outside of research.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/apr/16/plans-to-extend-personalised-health-budget-scheme

Hundreds of thousands of people with mental health conditions and physical disabilities could be given the option of a personalised NHS budget for their own care needs under government proposals. People with learning difficulties and dementia are among around three hundred fifty thousand who could have the right to select and pay for treatments that improve their health and wellbeing through a bespoke care plan agreed with medical professionals. For children and people unable to manage the money, parents or carers will be able to manage the budget.

Ministers believe the measure will improve patient satisfaction with the NHS and harmonise health and social care budgets. Currently, about twenty three thousand people have personalised NHS budgets, but ministers want to expand the scheme.

The government hopes that care provided to the qualifying groups on the NHS will improve, after complaints about current standards of treatment. Tens of thousands of pounds could be made available to a single person. People who qualify for the personal healthcare budget would have the option of receiving the money through a direct payment, giving the money to a third party to manage or leaving it with the NHS to control.
…..
Caroline Abrahams of Age UK told the Times: “Older people in declining health with social care needs generally tell us they are not very interested in getting involved in organising the services they receive. They just want them to be effective and joined up, and delivered by kind and skilful professionals.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-43727026

Scientists say they have identified genes that cause a deadly heart condition that can only be cured by transplants of the heart or lungs. Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) kills fifty percent of those affected within five years, but little was known about what caused the condition in some people. Now experts say they have discovered five genes that cause the illness. Researchers say that the findings could lead to earlier detection of the disease and ultimately new treatments.

PAH currently affects around six thousand five hundred people in the UK and causes the arteries carrying blood from the heart to their lungs to stiffen and thicken, ultimately leading to heart failure. It is often diagnosed in people who have other heart or lung conditions, but it can affect people of any age and in about a fifth of people there is no obvious cause.

The only “cure” is a transplant of the heart and particularly the lungs, but there is a waiting list for organ transplants and the body will often ultimately reject them, particularly in the case of lungs. For this latest research, published in Nature Communications, scientists carried out the largest ever genetic study of the disease by analysing the genomes – the unique sequence of a person’s DNA – of more than one thousand PAH patients for whom the cause of the illness was unknown.  They found that mutations in five genes were responsible for causing the illness in these people, including in four genes that were not previously known to be involved in the disease.

The research was part of a pilot study for the one hundred thousand Genomes Project – a huge initiative focused on understanding the genetics of cancer and rare diseases.

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