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Medical News Summary, 22 August 2016

Hello and welcome back to the regular news summary blog here at The Medic Portal. This instalment gives you the latest in health news from the 15th to the 21st of August. This week has seen Government release a new obesity strategy, a research study that links the Zika virus to memory loss in the adult brain and a suspension on surgical abortions at Marie Stopes clinics following a care quality commission inspection.

How the government plans to tackle obesity

Childhood obesity is rife in the UK
Childhood obesity is rife in the UK

This week the government released its obesity strategy after months of delays. The document states that the food and drinks industry would pledge to reduce the amount of sugar in its products by 20% in an exchange for becoming exempt from the sugar tax proposed earlier this year. The document aimed to reduce the increasing issue of childhood obesity, but does not tackle the issue of junk food marketing and advertising.

One third of children in the UK are overweight or obese by the age of 11. The government asked Public Health England to make a series of recommended interventions. These included targeting supermarket promotions on junk food and stopping TV advertising before 9 pm for foods that were high in fat, sugar or salt.

However, experts in the field were angered when the strategy was published as it did not address these issues and focused only on reducing sugar consumption and increasing physical activity in children.  The British Retail Consortium that represents supermarkets wanted the strategy to make the cuts in sugar compulsory. Companies are currently working towards reducing sugar in children’s breakfast cereals, yoghurts, cakes and puddings but this does not address the substantial issue of “hidden sugars” that are found in products such as ketchup, ready meals and pasta sauces.

Zika virus damage likened to Alzheimer’s

Zika virus causes flu-like symptoms
Zika virus causes flu-like symptoms

Animal research suggests that the Zika virus may cause long-term memory damage in the adult brain causing damage similar to Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, the main concern of the Zika virus is the neurological damage caused to unborn babies. Usually in adults the symptoms are short lived are include flu-like symptoms such as fever and joint pain.

The research involved mice that were bred to have no immunity against the Zika virus. Researchers then found that after infecting them with the virus they were on to develop similar effects on areas of the brain involved with memory and thinking. Although the research is concerning it is still too early to determine whether there is a link between the Zika virus and memory. Officials are recommending that if you are travelling to an area with the Zika virus that standard precautions to prevent mosquito bites are taken.

Marie Stopes Clinics suspended abortion procedures

Marie Stopes clinics to supsend abortion procedures
Marie Stopes clinics to supsend abortion procedures

Marie Stopes clinics have suspended surgical abortions following an inspection by Care Quality Commission inspectors. The clinics who perform abortions under sedation or anaesthetic for under-age girls and vulnerable women were found to be potentially putting patients are risk.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) who performed the surprise inspection said it could not be certain that staff had the correct levels of training to administer sedatives and general anaesthetic. They also had concerns involving the issues of consent. The 250 women a week that were booked in would be sent elsewhere for treatment. The other services offered by Marie Stopes are unaffected.

Uploaded by Joelle on 22 August, 2016

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