Welcome back to the news summary blog bringing you the highlights in medical and health news. This post will cover the biggest stories in medical news from the 17th to the 23rd October. This week has seen new research that has suggested vitamin D could help the symptoms of psychosis, doctors campaigning to increase support for those with prescription drug addictions and research that indicates that hip surgery does not improve physical activity levels.
Earlier this year Public Health England recommended that everyone in the UK should consider taking vitamin D supplements, especially during the dark winter months. A new study published this week has linked vitamin D deficiency to heightened depression and increases of cognitive impairment of those suffering with psychosis. Vitamin D is found in some foods such as oily fish but it is mainly obtained through the body’s reaction to sunlight. Low levels of vitamin D are already linked to bone conditions such as osteoporosis and it is known to affect muscle tissue.
However, the new study which tested vitamin D levels in those suffering with psychotic disorders and those without found that there was a significant link between low levels of vitamin D and higher levels of negative symptoms amongst those with psychosis. Experts have suggested that vitamin D could be used to help treat those suffering with schizophrenia and co-morbid depression conditions. The next step in the process would be for large randomised clinical trials to be conducted to determine whether vitamin D treatment can help the symptoms of those with psychotic disorders.
Doctors have been leading a campaign encourage the government to launch a 24-hour helpline in the UK for those with prescription drug dependence. The British Medical Association has expressed their concern that there is not enough support for those coming off prescription drugs. Of major worry are those addicted to benzodiazepines that are taken for anxiety, insomnia and occasionally pain relief. Dr Andrew Green, the GP clinical and prescribing lead for the British Medical Association, suggested that a national helpline and specialist services across the country should be a priority to help those with prescribed drug dependence. Current government guidance recommends that benzodiazepines should not be prescribed for more than four weeks to reduce dependence, however evidence published last year suggested that they were being prescribed for longer.
A study conducted by the University of East Anglia of 1,000 people found that hip replacement surgery is failing to improve the physical activity levels of patients. Currently 60,000 hip implants are completed in the UK each year with the major aim being to reduce pain and increase activity. The researchers who conducted the study suggested that doctors needed to encourage patients to keep active following their operations. Previous research has indicated that the reduction in mobility could be caused by some hip replacements being the incorrect size.
Uploaded by Joelle on 25th October 2016.
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