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Friday, 28 July 2006 09:40
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Researchers from Oxford University suggest that all food labels should list all fats, not just the saturated kind, to help reduce rates of heart disease.

Helping consumers spot which products contain trans fatty acids - or trans fats - could cut the risk of heart disease, according to a British Medical Journal (BMJ) article.

Trans fats increase cholesterol and the risk of coronary heart disease, the BMJ article says.

They are made from a vegetable oil base and are used as an ingredient in processed foods such as margarine, biscuits, cakes and fast food.

The BMJ article says: "Mandatory addition of the content of saturated fat and trans fatty acids to nutrition labels would enable consumers to make healthier food choices that could lower LDL concentrations and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and other vascular events”.

The UK's Food Standards Agency is pressing for change to labelling rules at EU level.

British Heart Foundation policy officer Alex Callaghan said: "Manufacturers and retailers should clearly label trans fats on food packaging, so that people can make informed decisions about their diet. The British Heart Foundation supports action to amend European legislation to make such labelling mandatory”.

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Friday, 28 July 2006 09:34
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Elizabeth Russell, a two-year-old has died after contracting the E.coli O157 infection.

Elizabeth from Ballantrae, in South Ayrshire, died at the weekend after being taken to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow.

A health board spokeswoman said two children in the Dumfries and Galloway area, who had been in contact with the Elizabeth, had also tested positive.

A Scottish Executive spokeswoman said: "We are aware of these cases and are being kept informed by the relevant NHS boards.

"Both of these incidents are being managed by the local NHS public health team and Health Protection Scotland who are liaising with us”.

Dr Carol Davidson, director of public health at NHS Ayrshire and Arran, said: "Investigations into the source of the infection are ongoing, but at the moment we have no reason to believe that others outside the families affected and their contacts are at any increased risk."

A statement from NHS Dumfries and Galloway said: "A 20-month-old child from Wigtownshire whose family were in contact with the family of the child in Ayrshire was admitted to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary at the weekend with an E.coli O157 infection.

"The child was discharged from hospital on Wednesday evening.

"A second child aged three years who was also in contact with the family in Ayrshire was admitted at the weekend but was discharged from hospital on Monday”.

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Friday, 28 July 2006 09:25
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Dr Mahmood Bhutta, a specialist registrar in otolaryngology at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital in London, claims that the NHS could be exploiting developing countries who produce medical equipment.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, he said: "No systematic investigation has been undertaken into the sourcing of healthcare goods used in the developed world.

"When these have come from manufacturers in the developing world then, as is the case with other goods, the trade may be open to the exploitation of power by transnational companies, driving down prices and labour standards."

Dr Bhutta said the global trade in hand-held stainless steel surgical instruments was worth at least £352 million a year and many of these instruments were made by firms in Europe and Asia.

The two largest producers were Tuttlingen in Germany and Sialkot in Pakistan.

Dr Bhutta said: "Manufacturers of surgical instruments in Sialkot need to minimise costs to remain competitive.

"To reduce overheads, most firms subcontract the initial production of instruments to workers employed in a small workshop or their own home, with finishing and quality checking of the product in house.

"Manufacturing firms in Pakistan, however, rarely have the infrastructure or marketing presence to allow direct trade with the end users in the destination countries. Most therefore sell to suppliers and retailers in the developed world with only a small profit margin."

Dr Bhutta said more could be done and that the solution lay "in purchasers insisting on fair and ethical trade when sourcing instruments".


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Friday, 28 July 2006 09:21
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
A study revealed that some popular brands of cheese are saltier than the water of the Atlantic Ocean.

175 cheeses were examined Sainsbury's Pecorino Romano was the saltiest at 7.4g per 100g, compared with just 2.5g per 100g for Atlantic seawater.

Kraft Dairylea Light cheese slices contained 2.8g of salt per 100g, meaning a single slice has 0.8g - which is about 40 per cent of a three-year-old's recommended daily intake, the campaign group Consensus Action on Salt warned.

Only 23 per cent of the brands studied showed the salt level per serving on the pack.

A spokesman for Kraft said: "Salt is an essential part of the cheese-making process, and levels vary between different types of cheese."

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Friday, 28 July 2006 08:34
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
An eight year old boy, Mikey Handley, was forced to hobble about on a broken leg for three weeks after a doctor told him there was nothing wrong.

Mikey put up with two wrong diagnoses before medics eventually agreed to X-ray the leg.

The schoolboy was left writhing in agony after falling over while playing with his little brother.

But when his mum Claire Richardson carried her son to their doctor's surgery in Dumfries, she was told his leg was fine.

A week later, Mikey was still suffering and went back to the town's Lochthorn Medical Centre, only to be told again there was nothing wrong with his leg.

Last night, Claire said: "It all started when his little brother Lennox got a new bike and accidentally ran into Mikey, who tripped and fell over. His nana put a Tubagrip on, which held his leg in place.

"I got the impression the doctor thought Mikey was putting on an act. But he's a doctor, so I believed Mikey was alright".

But the youngster was still in unbearable pain, sobbing in agony in the middle of the night.

Dad Michael finally took him to Dumfries Infirmary.

Claire said: "The doctor there said I had been right all along and that Mikey had a three-week old broken leg.

"I was really furious because Mikey had been suffering for so long”.

Now the family is demanding an investigation.

Lochthorn Medical Centre refused to comment last night.

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Friday, 28 July 2006 08:11
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Researchers at Finland's University of Tampere claim that painkillers such as aspirin and ibuprofen, widely used by men for arthritis, may increase the risk of impotence.

A study of 1,126 men aged 50 to 70 showed that those taking painkillers were twice as likely to suffer erectile dysfunction as non-users.

Sexual difficulties are common among men with arthritis but doctors have believed this is an effect of the disease rather than the pain relief. The researchers have been unable to give an explanation for their findings.

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Thursday, 27 July 2006 10:22
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
GlaxoSmithKline has unveiled a H5N1 bird flu vaccine that it believes will give it a significant edge over competing treatments.

The UK pharmaceuticals group's vaccine has been produced using lower levels of antigen, the active ingredient in vaccines that causes the body to produce an immune response.

The company said the vaccine provoked a strong response in more than 80 per cent of the people tested, with a higher efficacy than any other H5N1 vaccine in development. By the end of the year the company will know if it will be possible to mass-produce the vaccine, estimating that the cost per dose could be £4. "These results are highly significant and mark real progress," said J P Garnier, GlaxoSmithKline's chief executive officer, although he added: "There is still a lot more work to be done”.

Dr David Nabarro, of the United Nations, said: "It is a good and exciting piece of science." But Prof Peter Dunnill, the chairman of University College London, said: "It would still only allow coverage of five per cent of the global population if the entire world's viral influenza vaccine capacity was used”.

Dr Paul Digard, a virologist at the University of Cambridge, said the two key problems that companies faced were producing enough vaccine in time to tackle an outbreak and not knowing the exact strain of a pandemic strain before it evolved.

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Thursday, 27 July 2006 10:11
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
A team of scientists at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, say they have made a crucial step forward in understanding and treating endometriosis.

This painful condition affects between 10 to 15% of women, and is caused by tissue that normally lines the womb growing elsewhere in the pelvis.

The team of scientists at the University of Louvain believe that iron could be to blame, because of the high-levels of iron found in sufferers pelvises'.

Some scientists believe the excess iron is created as the body breaks down the red blood cells from the monthly internal bleed.

To test their hypothesis, the scientists induced endometriosis in mice.

In some of the mice, they added iron-containing red blood cells, in others they added a molecule, desferrioxamine, which binds to iron and neutralises its effect, and the rest were left with endometriosis alone.

They discovered the numbers of lesions in the mice in the three experiments were approximately the same.

But they found the cell growth in the lesions were much greater in the mice with added iron than in the mice that simply had endometriosis.

By comparison, the mice treated with desferrioxamine had less cell activity than the other mice.

The team concluded that iron was causing increased cell growth in the mice.

Professor Jacques Donnez, lead author on the research and head of the department of gynaecology at the Catholic University of Louvain, said the use of iron-binding molecules might form the basis of future treatment for the condition.

He said: "Our findings represent a crucial step in finding the answer to endometriosis because we are focusing our research more on the origins and causes of the disease in the context of prevention, than on surgical treatment when the disease is already present.

"We really hope that, in the future, genetics will help us to determine the population of young women at high risk of endometriosis, and that treatment, resulting from our findings, may then prevent the development or evolution of the disease."

Tony Rutherford, a spokesman for the British Fertility Society and a consultant gynaecologist at Leeds General Infirmary, UK, said: "Endometriosis is a condition which affects many women and is particularly prevalent in the Western world.

"It can cause a great deal of problems, from pelvic pain to infertility.

"This paper shows that iron may be a factor which stimulates the number of cells in the endometrial tissue.

"It is an important observation, but this is a mouse study, and you cannot always translate animal studies into humans, so further studies are needed to see whether this will truly be of clinical benefit”.

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Thursday, 27 July 2006 09:56
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Around 500 jobs are to be axed at the NHS foundation hospital in Sunderland to save £20m over the next three years.

City Hospitals Sunderland Foundation Trust said it had to cut 10% of its 5,000 workforce to clear a debt of £5m.

The trust, which runs Sunderland Royal Hospital, Ryhope General and Monkwearmouth Hospital.

Chief executive of the trust, Ken Bremner, said losing jobs was a major concern, but necessary to save money over the next three years.

He said: "Our priority is to regain financial stability for the next step in the development of the trust.

"We have achieved the levels of service we have today because of the quality of our staff and we understand that any job lost is a major cause for concern.

"It must be remembered that the trust has come a long way in 10 years - patient care, facilities, staff numbers and waiting times are now very different from a decade ago”.

Paul Summers, regional officer for the health union Unison, said the move was a "kick in the teeth".

He said: "We are shocked to hear of the scale of potential job losses and cost cutting - particularly since only two years ago many temporary jobs were lost to help balance the books.

"Even if the staff cuts are achieved by what the trust calls "natural wastage" these are still real jobs and getting rid of them will have an unavoidable impact on services.

"Our members have been working hard to achieve government targets and this is a real kick in the teeth”.

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Thursday, 27 July 2006 09:38
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Asthma sufferers could be risking their lives by using drugs that treat the most severe forms of the disease, doctors warned yesterday.

Experts in respiratory care have called on the Europe’s drug watchdog, the European Medicines Agency, to warn patients of the dangers of long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) drugs, which are used to treat the more severe forms of asthma.

Dr Vassilis Vassiliou and Dr Christos Zipitis, from Addenbrooke's Hospital, said that the drugs, which include Serevent, salmeterol and formoterol, should not be used on their own, and were safe only when used in conjunction with a steroid inhaler. However, he said that more and more people were using them as a single treatment.

Dr Vassiliou said: “We are seeing an increasingly worrying trend where chronic asthma sufferers, mainly children, are being treated solely by LABA drugs.

“LABA on its own is not safe and this monotherapy is neither supported by current evidence nor encouraged by the current British Thoracic Society guidelines”.

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