Welcome to this week’s edition of the News Summary. This News Summary will cover the latest health and medical research news from the 15th of December to the 22nd of December.
This week has seen a series of headlines highlighting the growing concern over antibiotic resistance. Public Health England have discovered that antibiotic resistant E.coli is affecting patients throughout Britain. It is thought that bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella have mutated to become resistant to currently used last-line antibiotics. This advancement is causing serious concerns regarding to antibiotics and it is believed that with antibiotic resistance medicine could re-enter the dark ages in which infections were commonly lethal. The current course of treatment when all other drugs fail is to prescribe a group of drugs known as polymyxins. However, Public Health England has discovered that there has been at least two known cases in which patients infected with E.coli have been resistant to these drugs. The resistance is caused by the gene MCR-1 which can easily be passed between bacteria. The antibiotic Colisitin in used in intensively farming both pigs and poultry. Scientists believe that the MCR-1 gene has managed to spread from bacteria affecting animals to those affecting human. Campaigners are calling for a ban on the use of colistin in animals. The antibiotic resistance was first discovered in China last month and those in the UK predicted that it would be at least three years before colistin-resistance would be seen in Britain. However, Public Health England analysis 24,000 bacterial samples from 2012 to 2015 and found 15 testing positive for colistin-resistance.
The failure of the government to add folic acid to flour is leaving 150 babies a year suffering from developmental diseases such as spina bifida. A lack of folic acid is currently causing more deformities than the drug thalidomide caused in the 1950s and 1960s. Folic acid is required for the healthy development of a baby during pregnancy and it has been shown to prevent certain defects of the brain and spinal cord. Despite health education and campaigns to encourage women to consume more folic acid the rates of neural tube defects have not fallen. In the USA bread is supplement with folic acid and when comparing health data it has been concluded that more than 2,000 babies would not have been born disabled or been aborted between 1998 and 2012 if the UK too supplemented their bread with folic acid.
A recent study focusing on the epidemiology of cancer has indicated that 13.1 million new cancer cases were diagnosed in 2012 worldwide. The in-depth analysis shows areas in which cancer is more common. The results show that cancer is increasing in lower income countries but decreased in high-income countries. This is especially the case for cancers such as that of the lung and breast. One of the thoughts behind this is that lower-income countries are adopting a Western lifestyle in terms of being less active, consuming unhealthy foods and increasing their use of transport. The reduction in cancer in high-income countries is thought to be due to a decrease in smoking, better screening programs and early detection of cancers.
Wishing all readers of the News Summary blog a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
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