The Health News UK March 28 2018

  • A study of a new drug to treat advanced cases of multiple sclerosis suggests it may be possible to delay progression of the disease in the short term, although the effects were small. In a trial of 1,327 people, in The Lancet, 26% saw their disability worsen after three months taking siponimod compared with 32% taking a dummy drug. No drugs currently exist for secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis.
  • David Tredinnick, Conservative MP asked the Health Secretary whether Brexit could provide an opportunity to integrate Chinese medicine into the NHS. He has been an outspoken advocate of alternative medicines, asked Jeremy Hunt whether he agreed leaving the EU would “be a good opportunity” to build links with healthcare systems in other countries, before specifically citing China and Chinese medicine.
  • New figures show rates of tuberculosis (TB) in England have declined by a third in six years, and are currently at their lowest level in 35 years. The data from Public Health England shows a 38% fall since 2012, with a 9.3% decline in cases in 2017 alone. Improved diagnosis, treatment and awareness are being credited for the fall.
    But England still has one of the highest rates of TB in Western Europe with just under 5,200 affected in 2017.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-43502845

 

A study of a new drug to treat advanced cases of multiple sclerosis suggests it may be possible to delay progression of the disease in the short term, although the effects were small. In a trial of one thousand three hundred twenty seven people, in The Lancet, twenty six percent saw their disability worsen after three months taking siponimod compared with thirty two percent taking a dummy drug. No drugs currently exist for secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis. An MS expert expressed caution, saying other new treatments were still needed. About one hundred thousand people in the UK have MS – a lifelong, progressive condition. Most are diagnosed between the ages of twenty and seventy.
….
Most cases start as relapsing-remitting MS and most of these develop into secondary-progressive MS within fifteen to twenty years. Patients in this trial, which was funded by drug company Novartis, had had MS for an average of seventeen years – four years with secondary MS, the advanced stage. Most needed assistance with walking before the trial began.

When standard measures of disability were used to track their progress, there was a twenty one percent lower risk of walking or arm movements getting worse for those given the drug, compared with those taking the placebo. But the international research team found the drug had no effect on maintaining patients’ walking speed and it had some side-effects, although it was still thought to be safe.
….
Before the drug becomes available on the NHS, it would need to be approved by the European Medicines Agency and then recommended as cost-effective by bodies in the UK.

 

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nhs-chinese-medicine-after-brexit-david-tredinnick-tory-a8269461.html

 

A Conservative Member of Parliament asked the Health Secretary whether Brexit could provide an opportunity to integrate Chinese medicine into the NHS. David Tredinnick, who has been an outspoken advocate of alternative medicines, asked Jeremy Hunt whether he agreed leaving the European Union  would “be a good opportunity” to build links with healthcare systems in other countries, before specifically citing China and Chinese medicine.

Speaking in the House of Commons, he said: “Does Mister Hunt agree that leaving the EU will be a good opportunity to build links with other countries’ medical systems, particularly those of the Chinese, who have, for instance, integrated Chinese medicine and western medicine to reduce the demand for antibiotics?”

Mister Hunt said Mr Tredinnick was “right to draw attention to antimicrobial resistance because China is one of the big countries that can make a difference on that, and yes, we have had lots of discussion with Chinese health ministers about how we can work together on that”.

On its website, the NHS cautions: “Evidence for the effectiveness of herbal medicines is generally very limited.” It adds: “Although some people find them helpful, in many cases their use tends to be based on traditional use rather than scientific research.”
….

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-43517246


New figures show rates of tuberculosis (TB) in England have declined by a third in six years, and are currently at their lowest level in thirty five years. The data from Public Health England shows a thirty eight percent fall since two thousand twelve, with a nine point three percent decline in cases in two thousand seventeen alone. Improved diagnosis, treatment and awareness are being credited for the fall. But England still has one of the highest rates of TB in Western Europe with just under five thousand two hundred affected in two thousand seventeen. And TB is still one of the leading causes of death worldwide. The data has been released to coincide with World TB Day on March twenty four.
….
Doctor Sarah Anderson, head of the National TB Office at Public Health England, said: “People often think that TB is a Victorian disease that is no longer a problem in England, but in fact it still affects over five thousand people a year and there is still a lot to do until the target to eliminate TB is met.”

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The BCG vaccine offers protection against TB, and is recommended for babies, children and adults under the age of thirty five who are at risk of catching TB.  At-risk groups include: children living in areas with high rates of TB and people with close family members from countries with high TB rates. The most recent data on infection rates show parts of London still have higher rates of TB than some developing countries, such as Iraq, Libya and even Yemen.

London is known as the TB capital of Western Europe and has seen initiatives such as a mobile clinic taking to the capital’s streets to test vulnerable people, such as the homeless.
Free testing and treatment of latent TB is available in England for people from areas where TB is common. Last year researchers in Oxford and Birmingham reported they had made a world-first breakthrough in the diagnosis of tuberculosis.

 

They managed to isolate different strains of the disease using a process called genome sequencing. It means patients who may have waited months to get the right drugs can now be diagnosed in only a few days – so they have a greater chance of recovery.
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A recent study found one in five global cases of the disease is now resistant to at least one major treatment drug.

 

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