Dear Colleagues,

By Dolores Weaver,2014-06-26 19:56
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Dear Colleagues, ...

Please find below a list of news items from the last 2 weeks which may be of interest to those

    involved in Public Health on the morning of Tuesday 1st September 2009. (Sorry the Berkshire

    version is going out today, 8 September, because I have been on annual leave) This news

    update service is provided to local public health teams in collaboration with three other library

    services in Hampshire, Bucks and Oxon. Please contact me if you no longer wish to receive this

    bulletin, or if you know of anyone else who would like to join the mailing list.

Child health

GPs 'struggle with child obesity'

    Front-line NHS staff are unlikely to have an impact on tackling childhood obesity, say UK

    researchers. GPs and practice nurses told a University of Bristol team there were limits on what

    they could do to solve what is effectively a social problem. See more:

Can the seasons affect diabetes risk?

    Children are more likely to develop diabetes in winter, newspapers have reported. The Times

    said that a large international study of 31,000 children from 53 countries suggests there is a

    correlation between the seasons and type 1 diabetes. It said the trend was more prevalent in

    boys and older children (5-14 year olds) of both sexes. NHS Choices


Chronic conditions

Ovarian cancer 'is being missed'

    Women with ovarian cancer may not be diagnosed as early as they could be because their

    symptoms are not being recognised, a study suggests.

    Writing in the BMJ, Bristol researchers said the cancer was not a "silent killer" as it is frequently

    dubbed, but was associated with specific symptoms. See more: NHS Choices summary:

Tamoxifen link to second tumours

    Long-term use of a common breast cancer drug may increase the risk of

    developing a deadly second tumour, a study suggests. Tamoxifen, given to

    thousands of British women, prevents tumours being fuelled by the sex

    hormone oestrogen, and stops them returning after surgery. See more: NHS Choices summary:

Marriage 'cancer survival impact'

    Married people are more likely to survive cancer, whereas those going

    through a break-up have the worst chance of beating it, a study shows.

    US researchers from Indiana University analysed data on 3.8m people

    diagnosed with cancer between 1973 and 2004. See more:

'Cancer hope' from WWII-era drug

    One of the earliest chemotherapy drugs appears to work against a

    genetic fault that can trigger bowel and other cancers, UK researchers

    say. In laboratory tests methotrexate, first administered in the 1940s,

was found to destroy cells containing the damaged MSH2 gene. See more:

Poor 'lacking lung cancer help'

    The poorest people in the UK are least likely to receive treatment when

    they get lung cancer, a study suggests. Analysis of data from 35,000

    lung cancer patients in northern England found living in a deprived area

    cut the chance of treatment such as surgery. See more:

Primary liver cancers 'soaring'

    Cases of primary liver cancer, an often preventable disease, have

    trebled in the last 30 years, figures suggest. While it is not uncommon

    for cancer to spread to the liver, Cancer Research UK statistics show

    incidents where it starts in the organ have risen sharply. See more: NHS Choices summary:

Candles, romance and... cancer?

    “A romantic candle-lit dinner can give you cancer”, according to

    the Daily Mail. The newspaper says that, while candles can add a hint of

    romance to a meal or make taking a bath a real luxury, the smoke

    produced by many “is laced with toxins linked to cancer, asthma and

    eczema”. Several other newspapers have picked up on a piece of research presented at the 238th National Meeting of the American

    Chemical Society (ACS) this week. The presentation suggests that burning

    candles made from paraffin wax is an “unrecognised source of exposure

    to indoor air pollution”. NHS Choices summary:

Projection of mesothelioma mortality in Great Britain

    There has been an increase in mesothelioma mortality in Great Britain,

    with 1705 deaths recorded in 2006. In 2005, a statistical model was

    developed based on a simple birth-cohort model, which assumes that the

    risk of mesothelioma depends on age and years of exposure and that an

    individual’s asbestos exposure depends on the year of exposure. See


Elderly skin 'raises cancer risk'

    Older people are more at risk of skin cancer and infection because

    their skin is unable to mobilise the immune system to defend itself, UK

    research suggests. It contradicts previous thinking that defects in a

    type of immune cell called a T cell were responsible for waning immunity

    with age. See more:

Obesity drug fears investigated

    US authorities are investigating concerns an anti-obesity drug widely

    available over the counter at chemists may cause liver damage. Orlistat

    went on sale under the brand name Alli without the need for a

    prescription in the UK in April. See more:

Stomach stapling and diabetes

The Times and other newspapers have reported on a large international

    study finding that “weight-loss surgery can eliminate the symptoms of type-2 diabetes in nearly eight out of ten patients”. NHS Choices


Apple-shaped women's asthma risk

    A study suggests apple-shaped women with a waist bigger than 88cm

    (35in) have a higher risk of developing asthma - even if their body

    weight is normal. Being overweight is well known to raise the risk of

    asthma. But the latest study suggests that the amount of weight women

    carry around the abdomen might be particularly important. See more:

Fears raised over cardiac rehab

    The recovery of heart attack victims and other cardiac patients is

    being put at risk because they are not getting proper rehab care, an

    audit suggests. The survey of cardiac rehab services in England, Wales

    and Northern Ireland found 38% of the 135,000 eligible patients received

    the care last year. See more:

Warning for healthy aspirin users

    Healthy people who take aspirin to prevent heart attacks could be doing

    more harm than good, experts said.

    Many people are thought to take a daily dose of the drug in the hope it

    will help prevent heart trouble. See more:

NHS dystrophy care 'inadequate'

    NHS care for patients with muscle-wasting disorders is often

    "inadequate and not acceptable", MPs and peers say. The All-Party

    Parliamentary Group on Muscular Dystrophy inquiry found huge variations

    in life expectancy. See more:

    Full report:

    Communicable diseases

Flu drugs 'not needed' in healthy

    The World Health Organization has said healthy patients who catch swine

    flu do not need to be treated with Tamiflu. Antiviral drugs should be

    used in patients who are severely ill or those in high-risk groups

    including the under fives and pregnant women, it said. See more:

Suspected antiviral side effects

    A report on suspected adverse drug reactions to Tamiflu and Relenza has

    been published by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory

    Agency (MHRA). This is the first weekly report, and is based on

    information gathered between April 1 and August 13 2009. NHS Choices


Epidemiology of swine flu deaths

    Research describing the characteristics of 574 deaths associated with

    the pandemic H1N1 influenza up to July 16 2009 has been published

    online. The general themes from this research have already been

    communicated by policy makers across the world; however, this study

    gives some new data to back up the claims and helps build a more

    accurate picture of the underlying conditions that contributed to risk

    in the first 10 weeks of the pandemic. NHS Choices summary:

Coroners 'reject plea over vCJD'

    Coroners are refusing to test for an infection which causes vCJD -

    despite government pleas that it could help protect the public, the BBC

    has learnt. Scientists said the checks during post-mortem examinations

    could help find out how many people in the population have the infection

    without knowing it. See more:

Diet and nutrition

A few drinks 'cuts dementia risk'

    Older people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol may have a lower

    risk of dementia, a US study suggests.

    Researchers found people who consumed between eight and 14 alcoholic

    drinks a week had a 37% lower risk of the disease than the general

    population. See more:

    NHS Choices summary:

Prison food 'beats NHS hospitals'

    Researchers have claimed the food provided in prisons is better than in

    NHS hospitals. Experts from Bournemouth University examined the quality

    of food offered to prisoners and NHS patients. They say people in

    hospital are losing out on nutrition because they are not being helped

    with eating or having their diet monitored. See more:

    Health services administration

Many not applying for free drugs

    Nearly two thirds of the 150,000 cancer patients in England have not

    applied for free prescriptions - five months after they became

    available. The ?7.20 prescription charge was abolished for cancer

    patients after decisions in the rest of the UK to scrap all fees. See


Infant health

Sudden infant deaths 'tumbling'

    The number of unexplained infant deaths - or cot deaths - has been

falling, provisional figures from the Office of National Statistics

    suggest. There were 264 such deaths in 2007 across England and Wales,

    down 7% on the year before - which itself saw a significant fall in

    numbers. See more:

Safer births: supporting maternity services to improve safety

    While the overwhelming majority of births in England are safe, the lack

    of a systematic approach to ensuring safety across maternity services is

    creating unnecessary risks. There is evidence of local activity to

    improve safety in maternity services, but it is often small scale and

    fragmented. The challenge facing maternity units is to make systemic

    changes in care that are sustainable to ensure that safe care is

    reliably delivered. See more:

Mental health

Mental health support for workers

    People with mental health problems will get extra support to help

    manage their condition so they can remain in the workplace, the

    government has said. The move comes after pilot schemes that were said

    to be 90% successful in helping people with fluctuating mental health

    conditions retain their jobs. See more:

Depressed teens 'face adult risk'

    Teenagers who have minor depression are at a higher risk of mental

    health problems later in life, a study says. Psychiatrists at Columbia

    University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute spoke to 750

    people. See more:

    ‘Slow progress’ in improving mental health services for black and minority ethnic older people

    Little progress has been made in improving mental health services for

    black and minority ethnic (BME) older people over the last eight years,

    according to a new report from the Royal College of Psychiatrists. See


Alcohol and depression

    "Teetotallers suffer higher levels of depression than drinkers”, reported The Daily Telegraph. It said scientists have found that people

    who abstain are also more likely to lack social skills, have higher

    levels of anxiety and even have more mental health issues than “those considered heavy drinkers”. NHS Choices summary:

Older people’s services

Basic care 'lacking' in hospitals

    A patient lobby group is demanding an urgent review of basic hospital

    care after highlighting accounts of "appalling" NHS standards. The

    Patients Association highlighted 16 cases in England where people, often

    the elderly, were left lying in faeces and urine and were not helped to

eat. See more:

    Care quality commission reaction:


    Full report:


The pensioners cutting elderly falls

    Every year, more than 700,000 people over 65 attend accident and

    emergency after a fall. And falls are the leading cause of death for the

    over-75s. But one primary care trust in Lancashire has managed to slash

    its falls rate by a quarter - thanks in no small measure to the efforts

    of one elderly couple. See more:

Physical activity

Addicted to exercise?

    "Exercise can be as addictive as heroin”, warned the Daily Mail, which said that exercise “junkies” experience the same sort of

    withdrawal symptoms as heroin addicts when they try to stop exercising.

    The news story is based on research in rats, some of which were given an

    exercise wheel. The rats were injected with a drug called naloxone,

    which blocks brain activity that is usually associated with opioid (e.g.

    morphine) use. Rats that were more active had greater withdrawal

    symptoms after being injected with naloxone than rats that were

    inactive. NHS Choices summary:


'Better' test for asbestos cancer

    Scientists claim they have developed a more sensitive test for the

    asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma. The cancer develops long after

    exposure to asbestos but patients usually have a limited life

    expectancy. The test developed by a team at Oxford University looks at

    levels of a protein closely linked to the cancer in fluid around the

    lungs. See more:

    NHS Choices summary:

Women march for cancer awareness

    Forty-six women have marched through central London wearing pink

    camouflage uniforms to encourage women to be screened for breast cancer.

    See more:

'Simple' endometriosis test hope

    Scientists have developed a quick and simple way to diagnose

    endometriosis, without requiring surgery. All that is needed is a small

    sample of womb lining, taken in a similar way to a smear test, that can

    be checked for the

    presence of nerve fibres. See more:

NHS Choices summary:

Sexual health

Women 'doubt men will take pill'

    A university report has claimed that while men welcomed a male

    contraceptive pill, women said their partners could not be trusted to

    take one regularly. A Teesside University team questioned 380 people

    about their attitude to the male pill, which is still under test. See



US smoker's daughter gets $13.8m

    A US jury has ordered tobacco giant Philip Morris to pay $13.8m (?8.4m)

    to the daughter of a lifelong smoker who died of lung disease. The jury

    in Los Angeles decided in favour of Jodie Bullock, whose mother Betty

    died of lung cancer in 2003 aged 64. She had smoked for 47 years. See


Shisha 'as harmful as cigarettes'

    Smoking a shisha pipe is as bad for people as smoking tobacco, the

    Department of Health and the Tobacco Control Collaborating Centre has

    found. People who smoke shisha, or herbal tobacco, can suffer from high

    carbon monoxide levels, its research revealed. See more:

Fewer smokers quit in past year

    The number of people managing to stop smoking with NHS help in England

    has fallen slightly in the past year - despite a huge increase in

    funding. In 2008/09, the NHS spent an extra ?13m on helping people to

    quit - a 21% hike in resources. See more:

    Substance addiction & misuse

People drinking more 'by stealth'

    People are drinking more alcohol by "stealth" because of the stronger

    drinks on the market, an analysis of consumption in the UK suggests. The

    amount of alcohol consumed per person has risen by 10% since 2000 -

    despite drink sales remaining steady. See more:

English turn to booze on holiday

    English holidaymakers are turning to drink on their breaks with the

    average adult consuming eight alcoholic drinks a day, a survey suggests.

    That equates to 80 drinks over the course of the average holiday, or

    well over 200 units of alcohol. See more:

Female drug deaths 'rise by 17%'

The number of women dying drug-related deaths in England and Wales rose

    by 17% in 2008 to 853, according to the Office for National Statistics.

    The number of male deaths also rose 8% compared with 2007 to 2,075 - the

    highest total since 2001. See more:

'Legal highs' set to be banned

    Two so-called "party" drugs and a man-made cannabis substitute will be

    banned by the end of the year, the Home Office has announced. At the

    moment, these "legal highs" are sold openly across the UK and on the

    internet, but ministers say they are an "emerging threat". See more:

Local news: Berks

Sexual Health Week

    Slough Borough Council’s health improvement team will be raising awareness of sexually

    transmitted illnesses during Sexual Health Week from September 14 to 18. The FPA, formerly

    Family Planning Association, established the national week as part of an ongoing campaign to

    raise young people’s awareness of their sexual health. See more: New DAAT website launched

    Slough’s DAAT (Drugs and Alcohol Action Team) has launched a brand new website containing

    important information about drugs and alcohol and where to go to get help. See more:

Local news: Bucks

Invitation To Have your Say On Cohesion And Inequalities in South Bucks

    There are many parts to building community cohesion, from tackling inequalities to developing

    people's understanding and tolerance of others. Residents of South Bucks are being invited to

    have their say on the South Bucks Partnership's draft Cohesion And Inequalities Strategy 2009 -

    2012.See more:

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