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Medical News Summary Aug 16, 2016

Hello and welcome back to this week’s edition of the Medical News Summary Blog. This blog post covers the highlights in medical news from the 8th to the 14th of August. In this edition, read about how the junior doctors threaten further industrial action, the occurrence of two new polio cases in Nigeria and an increase in the number of measles cases in the UK.

Junior doctors call for further action

Junior doctors propose new round of strikes
Junior doctors propose new round of strikes

It was announced this week that junior doctors are calling for the British Medical Association to back more industrial action from September. The junior doctors committee that is part of the British Medical Association (BMA) have expressed concern that ministers have failed to address their concerns about the new contract.

In July junior doctors and medical students voted to reject a deal on the new contract agreed between the government and the BMA. The vote was rejected by 58% of its members. Following the vote, Jeremy Hunt the UK Health Secretary said that the contracts would be imposed.

The government have remained silent on the concerns expressed by junior doctors. As a consequence the Executive of the junior doctor committee has voted to call for formal re-negotiations. A formal request has been made to the BMA council to authorise a programme of repeated industrial action starting from early September.

Polio cases in Nigeria

Polio Virus
Polio Virus

Two new polio cases have been reported in Nigeria, the first re-emergence of the disease since 2014. Two children in the state of Borno have been paralysed by the disease. Polio is a highly contagious virus that mainly affects young children and can lead to permanent paralysis.

There is no known cure for the disease but it can be prevented through effective immunisation. The new cases represent a huge setback for Nigeria as well as the World Health Organisation who are working towards eradicating Polio.

Nigeria had recently celebrated two years without polio and was on track to be certified free of the virus by July 2017. Concerns have also been expressed over the food crisis in Borno state due to conflict in the area. Around 50,000 Nigerian children are thought to be at risk of starving to death.

Measles outbreaks on the rise in the UK

Number of measles cases increasing in the UK
Number of measles cases increasing in the UK

Public Health England have expressed concern as the number of diagnosed cases of measles has quadrupled in the last year. Until June this year 234 people were diagnosed with measles compared to only 54 in 2015.

A large proportion of the cases have been linked to music festivals which is thought to be due to low hygiene levels and high densities of festival-goers.

Measles is a viral illness which can lead to sore eyes, rashes and cold-like symptoms as well as long term serious complications. It is uncommon due to the fact that most people are vaccinated as part of the mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) jab.  Public Health England are urging those with symptoms to not attend big events and call their GP or NHS 111.

How Alzheimer’s progresses in the brain

What happens to the brain when Alzheimer's takes effect
What happens to the brain when Alzheimer’s takes effect

Scientist’s researching Alzheimer’s disease have found that the gene patterns in specific areas of the brain may explain how the disease progresses. The specific gene patterns analysed were found in areas of healthy brains, these were the areas that tended to develop the signs of Alzheimer’s disease first.

Alzheimer’s disease is characterised by a build-up of abnormal masses of protein called tangles of plaques and it is thought that these gene patterns contribute to the formation of these proteins. The researchers hypothesised that as we age our bodies become less able to prevent these protein build-ups and new treatments should be focused on a way to strengthen these natural defences to slow disease progression.

Uploaded by Joelle on 16 August, 2016

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