Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of the news summary blog. This blog will cover the highlights in medical news from the 22nd to the 28th of August. In this piece, you’ll read about new plans to cut NHS services in England, a link between serotonin and anxiety and an indication that stressful commutes could be shortening lifespan.
NHS England have drawn up plans to cut NHS services in order to tackle the increasing debt. Draft sustainability and transformation plans (known as STPs) propose ward closures, cuts in bed numbers and alterations to GP and A&E services.
NHS England need to reach their target of finding £22 billion in efficiency savings by the year 2020. The majority of plans which are due to be signed off in October have remained unpublished and away from public scrutiny. The STPs are unique to local areas rather than a plan to address the NHS nationally.
Many of the plans involve moving patient care into the community as to free up hospital resources. Local doctors, hospitals and councils are all working together to develop STPs for their areas. Communities are encouraged to get involved with the development of STPs by speaking to their local councils and representatives.
Scientists have discovered that some of the leading anti-depressant drugs such as Prozac may be involved in triggering anxiety within the brain. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) increase the amount of serotonin in the brain and help to combat depression.
The new study published in Nature has found that serotonin may not only produce positive feelings in the brain. The researchers delivered a mild shock to the paws of mice that activated neurons to produce serotonin in the brain. They found that increasing serotonin production caused the mice to become anxious.
Professor Thomas Kash who led the research hopes that the group will go on to find a way to inhibit the circuit in the brain that causes serotonin to produce anxious feelings. Additionally, the researchers still need to confirm whether the same circuit exists in humans.
The Royal Society for Public Health published a report stating that commuting can negatively impact both mental and physical health. The report suggests that non-active commuting such as sitting on the tube is detrimental to our health.
The research indicates that it may increase the number of unhealthy foods we eat, raise blood pressure and impact our mental health. There is now thought to be 24 million regular commuters in England and Wales with the average commute now being 56 minutes per day.
The report calls for action to be taken to decrease the health risks associated with commuting such as having healthy food available in stations and increasing seating capacity. Steps that you can take to decrease the risk of a long commute is getting off a stop early to walk and planning your journey at non-stressful times when possible.
Uploaded by Joelle on 30 August, 2016
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