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News Archives, May 2005
Tuesday, 31 May 2005 12:42
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Website to improve mental health care for young adults
The Mental Health Foundation has today launched a new website aimed at allowing young people between the ages of 16 and 25 to have their say about the state of mental health care.

The charity hopes that the SpeakUp! site, which will enable people to talk to each other about mental health services, as well as professionals and carers, will help to improve mental health provision across the UK.

SpeakUp! is being launched after a study by the Mental Health Foundation found that many people in the 16 to 25 age range were being missed by tailored care plans and their problems only detected after becoming much more severe.

Andrew McCulloch, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, says:
"We hope that Speak Up! will provide a contribution to the debate about how mental health services in the UK engage young people. Children and Adolescent Mental Health services are developing rapidly, yet they do not seem to be structured in a way that engages this age group.

“We hope this project will open up communication between young people and mental health professionals and that people will use this opportunity to engage with each other in the sharing of experience and ideas.”

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Tuesday, 31 May 2005 12:27
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Cancer risk determined by first days of life
Researchers have discovered that the first days in a person’s life may determine whether potentially cancerous genes will eventually trigger the illness.

Studies on rats suggested that exposure to the hormone oestrogen after birth could increase the likelihood of genes such as BRAC1 and BRAC2, which can lead to breast cancer, developing into tumours.

The study focused on female rats with a genetic defect which predisposes them to uterine leiomyoma, a benign tumour similar to those which develop in many women.

Groups of the genetically defective rats were exposed to the oestrogenic drug, diethylstilbestrol (DES) in the days after they were born.

The scientists from the University of Texas found that nearly all the rats exposed to DES went on to develop cancer. Conversely, for rats without a genetic predisposition to tumours, exposure to DES did not lead to a single case of cancer in adulthood.

Professor Cheryl Walker, who led the research, said that these findings provide evidence that early exposure to oestrogen can cause genes to become sensitised to the hormone and can determine whether or not a person will eventually develop tumours.

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Tuesday, 31 May 2005 12:00
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
NHS to ask ‘healthy’ donors for kidneys
The NHS is to attempt to encourage more healthy people to donate a kidney in a bid to ease the severe shortage of organs in the health service.

A change in the law will allow people to donate their kidneys to strangers, although donors will not be allowed to receive payment for their organs.

Of the 1,915 transplants carried out in the last 14 months, 526 were from healthy friends or relatives, a much smaller proportion than in other countries.

Patients who receive kidneys from living donors have a 93 per cent survival rate in the first year and an 84 per cent survival rate five years later. Those receiving kidneys from dead donors have only an 87 per cent survival rate after one year, dropping to 73 per cent after five.

Health officials will now focus on educating patients who have just been diagnosed with kidney failure so that they might find a donor far more quickly than is possible at present.

People are able to live comfortably with one kidney but a survey by YouGov shows that only 44 per cent would donate a kidney as they worry about something going wrong with the one remaining organ.

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Tuesday, 31 May 2005 11:21
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Private medical care take-up declines
Latest figures form the Association of British Insurers (ABI) shows that subscriptions to private medical insurance (PMI) have fallen for the first time in a decade.

There are now 3.68 million subscribers to private care in the UK after take-up dropped by 28,748 between 2003 and 2004.

However, corporate subscriptions increased by 11,000 over the same period and premium income also rose by £100,000.

Despite this, it is believed that the drop in PMI among private individuals is down to an unwillingness to pay rising premiums.

The ABI has called on the government to reduce the taxation of PMI providers because, it says, they save industry billions of pounds every year by keeping the workforce healthy.

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Tuesday, 31 May 2005 10:54
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Self-hypnosis can ease labour pains
An American technique that uses hypnosis to ease the pain suffered by women during labour is to be taught to midwives in Scotland.

HypnoBirthing was developed in the US by an English obstetrician, Dr Grantly Dick-Read, who noticed that calm and positive women experienced less pain during childbirth than distressed women.

Under the technique, women learn self-hypnosis which helps them with relaxation and breathing and can lead to an easier and even pain free birth.

Renee Buchanan, of the UK HypnoBirthing Advisory Board, said in The Scotsman: “Many women are afraid of childbirth. They hear stories about dramatic and painful births, which are also depicted on TV.

“This causes tension, which in turn causes pain and doesn’t allow the birth to progress as naturally as it should.

“HypnoBirthing doesn’t promise pain-free labour, but says labour should be much more comfortable.”

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Tuesday, 31 May 2005 10:39
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Healthy eating prizes attract global interest
A scheme designed to promote healthy eating among school children in Glasgow by offering hi-tech gadgets as rewards has attracted interest from across the globe.

The initiative involves awarding children points, which they store on a swipe card, based on how much healthy food they buy at lunch times. At the end of the year, the points can be traded for prizes including Xbox consoles, iPod music players, book tokens and cinema tickets.

Following the scheme’s introduction, Glasgow City Council has been contacted by health organisations from Norway, France and the Republic of Ireland, with further interest from Canada, New Zealand and Japan.

Council leader Steven Purcell said: “The interest in the reward scheme has been truly phenomenal. It is a revolutionary project which appears to have captured the attention of interested parties across the globe.

”It is heart-warming to think that children from France to Fiji may reap the benefits of a scheme pioneered in Glasgow.”

Scotland’s food and health co-ordinator, Gillian Kynoch, is now believed to be considering a nation wide rollout of the scheme.

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Tuesday, 31 May 2005 10:31
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
More help to quit smoking
The Government is to help more people to give up smoking, with quitting services expanding to reach more people in places like pubs and supermarkets.

World No Tobacco Day is being launched in England for the first time, with health experts outlining the benefits of kicking the smoking habit to a global audience in London.

Public health minister Caroline Flint revealed statistics claiming that more people are successfully quitting the habit using NHS Stop Smoking Services it shows an increase of 63% in 2004 compared to the previous year.

Ms Flint said: "The problem of smoking-related disease is not confined to one country or one continent - it is a global issue that can be tackled by learning from the success of others.

"Giving up smoking is the single best thing anyone can do for their health.

"In the UK smoking causes over 100,000 deaths each year and treating smoking related diseases costs the NHS about £1.7 billion a year”.

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Tuesday, 31 May 2005 10:21
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Brain patches exposed patients to CJD
As many as 50 patients who received brain surgery in the 1980s may have been given tissue infected with Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (CJD), the human form of BSE or Mad Cow Disease.

The alarm was raised following the death of a 34-year-old patient in England, who became infected with CJD after receiving a contaminated Lyodura graft.

The operations, most of which were carried out at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital, involved taking material from dead bodies to provide a dura – a thick patch for the outer layer of the brain.

However, the Lyodura was discontinued nine years ago after first being linked to CJD.

Now doctors are struggling to track down patients who received the patches between 1982 and 1992, as many medical records have been destroyed in line with national policy on the retention of records.

NHS Lothian has reported the discovery to the Department of Health’s CJD Incidents Panel and has stressed that the risks of infection were very small.

Dr Charles Swainson, medical director of NHS Lothian, said: “Risk of contamination is thought to be between 1982 and 1992, and there have been 150 cases of CJD associated with similar products worldwide, including six deaths in the UK.

”In Edinburgh, four to five patients per year may have had this material used. Many of the notes of these patients have been destroyed so it will be impossible to know whether this was used.

“There is no cause for concern . . . The CJD Surveillance Unit in Edinburgh is monitoring the situation and providing evidence to the coroner.”

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Tuesday, 31 May 2005 09:54
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Mass polio vaccination in Indonesia
The Government in Indonesia have kicked off a massive campaign to vaccinate 6.4 million children against polio in just two days.

The latest cases of the crippling disease which is spread by contaminated water, is incurable and causes paralysis and sometimes death have been in the Bogor and Lebak regions of West Java.

The country is suffering its first outbreak of the disease for nearly a decade, with 16 cases reported so far.

The announcement came after Vice-president Jusuf Kalla's wife, Mufidah Kalla, squeezed droplets of vaccine into a young boy's mouth to symbolise the start of the immunisation drive that will occur in the capital, Jakarta, neighbouring West Java and Banten on Tuesday.

“It will be carried out in all hospitals, public health centres, airports, seaports, railway and bus stations as well as other public places," Yusharmen said.

"We hope we can finish it in one day”.

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Tuesday, 31 May 2005 09:28
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Staff get burn-out
According to human resources consultancy Hudson more than half of British workers say they have experienced symptoms of overwork and burn-out in the last six months.

The Survey Shop polled 1,006 employers, HR managers and staff for Hudson and found that one third said they had suffered exhaustion, while 26% had lost sleep or been ill from worry about work.

14% of HR managers said they had lost staff due to burnout, while 36% said they had seen a decline in productivity and 79% said there had been an increase in the number of sick days being taken.

John Rose, chief executive of Hudson, said: "Working long hours and being available 24/7 goes with the territory for many UK employees.

"Burnout, however, goes deeper than this. It is worrying that business managers do not appear to be able to increase productivity and hold on to top talent at the same time.

"For employers, an increase in absenteeism, premature career change and a decline in interest and productivity among employees can have a serious long-term effect on businesses success”.

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