Hello, and welcome back to the weekly News Summary here at The Medic Portal. This week’s blog will cover the highlights in medical and health news from the 1st to the 7th of February. This week has seen further development relating to both the Zika virus and the junior doctor’s strikes as well as research relating to body mass index.
This Saturday junior doctors staged a March in London in protest to the proposed changes to the junior doctor contract. The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt has accused the British Medical Association (BMA) of being “irresponsible” as they continue to go ahead with planned strikes for Wednesday. The 24-hour strike will mean that only emergency care will be provided from 8:00am on the 10th February. The dispute revolves around a contract that impacts pay and weekend working which junior doctors have currently rejected. The government say that the changes are needed to create more seven-day services but the BMA have warned that current safeguards put in place to prevent excessive working hours are being weakened by the new proposed contract.
It is thought that releasing millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could solve the Zika virus crisis. Currently Latin American areas affected by Zika, thousands of babies have been born with shrunken heads after their mothers were bitten by mosquitoes carrying the virus. The World Health Organisation has declared the outbreak as a ‘global public health emergency’, and has asked countries from around the globe to contribute to defeat the virus. Scientists at a company called Oxitec in England believe that the virus could be controlled by releasing millions of genetically modified mosquitoes into affected areas. Trials in Brazil have shown that the GM insects can cause populations of the dangerous mosquito specie, Aedes aegypti, to drop by 90%. It is thought that in the near future, the Brazilian Health Ministry will give the go ahead for Oxitec to begin supplying GM insects to the country.
Body Mass Index (BMI) has been indicated to be an unreliable assessment of health by a group of psychologists researching the link between BMI and markers of health. They found that almost half of Americans that were considered obese were actually healthy, along with 19.8 million who were deemed overweight. The paper that was published in the International Journal of Obesity also discovered that around 20% of Americans who had a normal BMI were unhealthy. Health was assessed by looking at health markers such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The study highlights the need to assess health markers in all groups even those that are of a healthy weight.
Uploaded by Joelle on 8th February 2016
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