The Health News United Kingdom March 10 2018

  • Scientists at the University of Aberdeen believe they have identified a gene which may cause the most severe cases of clubfoot. The condition can require lengthy treatment, including putting the feet in a cast, surgery, and wearing specialised boots. In severe cases the foot can bend back again, requiring more invasive surgery. The team behind the gene discovery believe it could reduce unnecessary treatment.
  • About 21 people received medical treatment and support following a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in England, according to a British police official updating media on the fallout. Previously, authorities said only “several” people sought treatment. Three people remain in hospital after the poisoning in the southern English city of Salisbury on Sunday; former Russian military intelligence service colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia — who were found slumped unconscious on a bench outside a shopping centre — and a British police officer who tried to help them.
  • The Irish government has agreed the wording of a national referendum on abortion to be held by the end of May which could radically transform the lives of thousands of women and signal a further loosening of the grip of the Catholic church. The cabinet, meeting on International Women’s Day, approved a bill on Thursday allowing the long-anticipated referendum to go ahead. Since 1984, an estimated 170,000 women have left Ireland to have terminations, and up to 2,000 women each year illegally take the abortion pill, accessed online.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 10th of March 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-43331234

Scientists at the University of Aberdeen believe they have identified a gene which may cause the most severe cases of clubfoot. The condition can require lengthy treatment, including putting the feet in a cast, surgery, and wearing specialised boots. In severe cases the foot can bend back again, requiring more invasive surgery. The team behind the gene discovery believe it could reduce unnecessary treatment.

Scientists say the causes of clubfoot are poorly understood but it is thought to be a neuromuscular problem associated with muscle weakness in the legs during development.
Aberdeen University geneticist Professor Martin Collinson said: “This is, hopefully, another piece in the puzzle of what causes clubfoot in humans.”

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He stated: “The next stage is to look at DNA samples taken from human clubfoot patients and screen them to see if there are mutations in these pathways.” About one baby in one thousand born in the UK is affected by clubfoot. Half of those affected have the condition in both feet.

Prof Collinson added; “Clubfoot is commonly treated successfully using the Ponseti method or using a cast but it may be that the feet of children with these gene deformations will just revert back once treatment is finished.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-09/nerve-agent-attack-on-russia-spy-leaves-21-seeking-medical-help/9530636

About twenty one people received medical treatment and support following a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in England, according to a British police official updating media on the fallout. Previously, authorities said only “several” people sought treatment.

Three people remain in hospital after the poisoning in the southern English city of Salisbury on Sunday; former Russian military intelligence service colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia — who were found slumped unconscious on a bench outside a shopping centre — and a British police officer who tried to help them. Health officials insist the attack presents only a low risk to the public. Authorities have not said who launched the attack, but UK officials have warned of a strong response if the Russian Government is found responsible.

“Multiple people have been treated, around twenty one people, including the man and the woman found on the bench,” Wiltshire acting police chief Kier Pritchard told Sky News, referring to Mr Skripal and his daughter. Chief Pritchard said that of the new total, “a number” of them received hospital treatment including blood tests, support and advice. Police have not provided details on the nerve agent that was used, and the ex-spy and his daughter remain in critical condition.

The poisoning has triggered a police inquiry headed by counterterrorism detectives. British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said whoever was behind the attack was guilty of a “brazen and reckless act”. She said Britain would respond strongly when it was clear who was to blame.

She said enormous resources were being used to determine who poisoned Mister Skripal, sixty six, and his thirty three-year-old daughter Yulia.
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The Russian Embassy in London, which has mocked other British politicians for suggesting Russian involvement, tweeted that it agreed with Miss Rudd: “First evidence then conclusions on Mister Skripal’s case. Responsible political approach.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/08/irelands-government-approves-bill-paving-way-for-abortion-referendum

The Irish government has agreed the wording of a national referendum on abortion to be held by the end of May which could radically transform the lives of thousands of women and signal a further loosening of the grip of the Catholic church. The cabinet, meeting on International Women’s Day, approved a bill on Thursday allowing the long-anticipated referendum to go ahead.

Voters will be asked if they want to repeal article forty point three point three – known as the eighth amendment – which since nineteen eighty three has given unborn foetuses and pregnant women an equal right to life, effectively enshrining a ban on abortion in the country’s constitution. If Ireland votes in favour of repeal, the government has said it will introduce legislation permitting unrestricted abortion during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy.
Currently, terminations are only allowed when the life of the mother is at risk, and the maximum penalty for accessing an illegal abortion is fourteen years in prison.

Since nineteen eighty three, an estimated one hundred seventy thousand women have left Ireland to have terminations, and up to two thousand women each year illegally take the abortion pill, accessed online.
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Simon Harris, the health minister said a no vote would mean nothing could be done for the Irish women who have to travel to the UK for abortions.
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The anti-abortion Pro Life campaign warned that Wednesday’s supreme court decision showed that only by voting to maintain the eighth amendment could Irish people prevent “abortion on demand” in Ireland.

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