This week, I’ll be covering the health and medical news from the 21st of February to the 28th of February. This includes new advances on treating Huntington’s disease, developments on the junior doctors strike and contract and new figures relating to dental decay in children.
Huntington’s Disease Potential Treatment
A drug that could potentially reverse Huntington’s disease is currently being trialled in humans after it has been shown to be successful in monkeys and mice.The drug, called IONIS-HTTRx, works by silencing a gene which produces the protein responsible for causing Huntington’s disease. Huntington’s is a hereditary condition that causes damage to nerve cells within the brain. Around 7,000 people in Britain suffer with the condition that causes a loss of cognition, involuntary movements, emotional disturbances and eventually death. The drug suggests that it is not only possible to stop progression of the disease but also to reverse the damage caused by Huntington’s. When the drug IONIS-HTTRx was tested on mice, their motor function improved within a month and after two months their function had returned to normal. The drug has to be administered by a lumbar injection into the cerebral spinal fluid, this allows it to cross the blood brain barrier and reach the brain.
BMA and the Junior Doctors Strike News
The British Medical Association has announced three more 48-hour strikes over the new contract that Jeremy Hunt is imposing upon junior doctors. Junior doctors will go on strike in an attempt to stop the new contract. The British Medical Association (BMA) has said that it will mount a legal challenge to Jeremy Hunt’s policy in the courts on the grounds that the Government has not performed an equalities impact assessment prior to imposing the new contract. The three strikes are currently planned to go ahead on the 9th of March, 6th of April and the 26th of April. Jeremy Hunt the Health Secretary feels that the new contract will improve patient care at the weekends but Dr Johann Malawana, chair of the BMA has expressed concern that he feels the contract will undermine the ability of the NHS to recruit and retain junior doctors.
More Children With Tooth Decay
A new report has shown that decayed teeth have been removed from 128,000 children in England since 2011. The latest figures show that tens of thousands of children are currently having decaying teeth removed in hospitals within England and the figures are increasing for the fourth year in a row. The rise has almost been as much as 10% in child hospital admissions due to severe tooth decay. The report also shows a strong correlation between areas of deprivation and the rate of tooth extraction. The worst area affected is Yorkshire where the rate of tooth extraction is more than five times that of the east of England.