Hello and welcome back to the weekly News Summary here at The Medic Portal. Today’s blog will cover the highlights in medical and health news from the 4th to the 10th of April. This week, learn about further research into the Zika virus, a new method of labelling food packaging to promote health and an increase in the number of people living with diabetes worldwide!
It is thought that the Zika virus spread by mosquitos may cause a wider range of brain disorders than first thought. Scientist already knew that the virus was linked to foetal brain disorder and temporary paralysis, however, a study released on Sunday suggests that it could be linked to other brain disorders.
The study followed a group of patients in Brazil with symptoms of arboviruses, the family of virus that Zika belongs to. Six people in the study developed neurological symptoms such as swelling of the brain and damage to myelin, a fatty substance that surrounds nerves to increase their conductivity.
All six of these patients tested positive for the Zika virus and negative for other viruses in the arbovirus family. After leaving the hospital five of the patients reported motor functioning problems, whereas one experienced disturbances in vision and memory.
The study highlights some of the long term problems associated with the virus that have been previously unstudied, although further investigations with larger patient numbers are needed to confirm the link.
In an opinion piece published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) the chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health has argued that the current traffic light food labelling system does not promote positive changes in public health.
A survey completed in the UK found that 41% of adults found current front-of-pack dietary information confusing. Instead, Shirley Cramer (the chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health) has suggested that activity equivalent labelling should be used.
This would involve icons showing activities such as walking, running and swimming alongside the number of minutes you would need to spend doing the activity to burn the calories contained in the food or drink.
Cramer has suggested that the new scheme would encourage the public to take up activity rather than cutting out their favourite foods. Although it is unlikely that the scheme will be introduced, it is possible that some food and drink manufacturers may voluntarily adopt the new labelling strategy.
The World Health Organisation has published a report showing that the number of people with diabetes has quadrupled worldwide over last 35 years. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that diabetes is now a “serious threat to population health”, as obesity has caused an increase in those suffering with the disease.
Whilst it was previously a disease of Western countries, the number of those living with diabetes is now increasing in middle and lower-income countries. In 1989, 108 million people suffered with diabetes, however by 2014 this had risen to 422 million.
The WHO have said that the best way to tackle the disease is by promoting healthy eating habits in childhood along with 30 minutes of exercise every day and giving up smoking.
Uploaded by Joelle on 11 April 2016
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