The Health News United Kingdom March 21 2018

  • Doctors say a stem cell transplant could be a “game changer” for many patients with multiple sclerosis. Results from an international trial show that it was able to stop the disease and improve symptoms. It involves wiping out a patient’s immune system using cancer drugs and then rebooting it with a stem cell transplant. A total of 100,000 people in the UK have MS, which attacks nerves in the brain and spinal cord.
  • According to a new investigation by the BBC, the number of powerful painkillers, also known as opioids, being prescribed in England has skyrocketed in the last 10 years.  Analysis reveals that the number of prescriptions in England has nearly doubled in the last ten years, with the North East of the country reporting the highest prescription rates in the country. The steep rise in drugs such as morphine, codeine and tramadol has prompted doctors to warn that people could become addicted.
    The couple had been together for more than 5 years, and had discussed freezing Gary’s sperm in late 2014, due to his age and fear of early death.
  • Serge Orlov, a 62-year-old Brit, likes to rail against what he calls the tyranny of the European Union. Like most supporters of his country’s withdrawal from the bloc, he wants Britain to strike out on its own, a fully sovereign state unshackled from Europe’s pettifogging rules and the Continent’s overweening state. According to Eurostat, the European statistics agency that Britain has about 340 available beds per 100,000 inhabitants, compared with a European Union average of 515.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 21st of March 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-43435868

Doctors say a stem cell transplant could be a “game changer” for many patients with multiple sclerosis. Results from an international trial show that it was able to stop the disease and improve symptoms. It involves wiping out a patient’s immune system using cancer drugs and then rebooting it with a stem cell transplant.
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A total of one hundred thousand people in the UK have MS, which attacks nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Just over one hundred patients took part in the trial, in hospitals in Chicago, Sheffield, Uppsala in Sweden and Sao Paulo in Brazil. They all had relapsing remitting MS – where attacks or relapses are followed by periods of remission. The interim results were released at the annual meeting of the European Society for Bone and Marrow Transplantation in Lisbon.

The patients received either haematopoietic stem cell transplantation or HSCT or drug treatment. After one year, only one relapse occurred among the stem cell group compared with thirty nine in the drug group. After an average follow-up of three years, the transplants had failed in three out of fifty two patients or six percent, compared with thirty of fifty or sixty percent in the control group.Those in the transplant group experienced a reduction in disability, whereas symptoms worsened in the drug group.

The treatment uses chemotherapy to destroy the faulty immune system. Stem cells taken from the patient’s blood and bone marrow are then re-infused. These are unaffected by MS and they rebuild the immune system. The transplant costs around thirty thousand pounds, about the same as the annual price of some MS drugs. Doctors stress it is not suitable for all MS patients and the process can be gruelling, involving chemotherapy and a few weeks in isolation in hospital.

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/opioid-epidemic-feared-codeine-tramadol_uk_5aab97cce4b05b2217fdd0e6?utm_hp_ref=uk-health

According to a new investigation by the BBC, the number of powerful painkillers, also known as opioids, being prescribed in England has skyrocketed in the last ten years.  Analysis reveals that the number of prescriptions in England has nearly doubled in the last ten years, with the North East of the country reporting the highest prescription rates in the country. The steep rise in drugs such as morphine, codeine and tramadol has prompted doctors to warn that people could become addicted.
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According to the BBC investigation, general practitioners in England prescribed twenty three point eight million opioid-based painkillers in two thousand seventeen. This breaks down to the equivalent of two thousand seven hundred items every hour. In two thousand seven there were ten million fewer prescriptions. BBC analysis suggested that about two point three million people aged between sixteen and fifty nine in England took a prescription painkiller that had not been prescribed to them in two thousand sixteen and two thousand seventeen.
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According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, more than two thousand of the three thousand seven hundred drug-related deaths in England and Wales in two thousand sixteen involved an opioid. ONS data shows that the North East had the highest drug misuse mortality rate in England in two thousand sixteen. According to figures, the mortality rate from drug misuse has been increasing year-on-year across England since two thousand twelve.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/17/world/europe/uk-nhs-france.html

Serge Orlov, a sixty two-year-old Brit, likes to rail against what he calls the tyranny of the European Union. Like most supporters of his country’s withdrawal from the bloc, he wants Britain to strike out on its own, a fully sovereign state unshackled from Europe’s pettifogging rules and the Continent’s overweening state. But faced with excruciating pain and a seemingly endless wait for a knee replacement, Mister Orlov temporarily shelved his euroskepticism to take advantage of a little known National Health Service program and jump to the head of the line — in France.

After waiting a year just for the possibility of the knee replacement he badly needed, he turned to Calais Hospital in northern France, where in a matter of ten days he found himself on the operating table for the three-hour procedure, he said in an interview. He plans to get his second knee replaced in a few weeks’ time. Back home, it took him a year to receive a letter informing him when he might have the operation.
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Given that the Brexit vote was largely won on highly emotive issues surrounding British sovereignty and a misleading promise by politicians that leaving the bloc would free up three hundred fifty million pounds, or about four hundred ninety million dollars, a week to fund the NHS, the paradox of Britain seeking aid from France is not lost on the French hospital, nor on Mister Orlov.
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According to Eurostat, the European statistics agency- Britain has about three hundred forty available beds per one hundred thousand inhabitants, compared with a European Union average of five hundred fifteen. France has seven hundred six beds for every one hundred thousand people, and Germany eight hundred thirteen. Only three countries Denmark, Ireland and Sweden have lower rates of available beds than Britain does.

Estimates from the King’s Fund, an organization that researches the British health care system, suggest that NHS England funding is at least five point six billion dollars below what is needed this year, and that the shortfall will rise to around thirty billion dollars by two thousand twenty three.

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