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Weekly News Summary – 13th March 2017

Welcome back to this week’s edition of the news summary at The Medic Portal. This blog brings you the key health news stories that occurred from 6th to 12th March. This week has seen research that links tooth loss to an increased risk of dementia, analysis that indicates high death rates have been recorded at a number of NHS trusts throughout England and a new study has shown a link between a gluten-free diet and developing diabetes.

A study completed in Japan with more than 1,500 elderly participants has found that participants with fewer teeth had a greater chance of developing dementia. Those participants with only one to nine teeth had a 81% higher risk of dementia than those with 20 or more teeth. Currently there are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and this is thought to increase to more than a million by 2025. The study shows a link between tooth loss and dementia but it is not possible to determine whether or not this is due to dementia leading to poor oral hygiene. Another explanation for the results of the study is that poor oral hygiene is often a sign of poor overall health or an unhealthy lifestyle which in turn could increase the risk of dementia. Poor oral health has also been previously linked to heart disease and poor blood sugar control in diabetics.

Gluten Free
Gluten Free

Gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular over the last ten years. A major study by Harvard University suggests that cutting down on gluten or eliminating it from your diet increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 13%. It is thought that only 1% of the population is gluten intolerant, but in the UK over 12% of adults adhere to a gluten free diet. The study showed that of 200,000 patients, those who were eating the highest percentage of gluten had a 13% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those with a restricted gluten intake.

A BBC investigation has found significantly high death rates recorded at 19 out of England’s 133 NHS trusts. This equates to 15,396 more deaths than expected at the trusts from 2011 to 2016. Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust had the highest number of excess deaths over the five year period. Analysis of the figures indicates a strong link between the high number of deaths and a lower than average number of doctors. In addition to this, high levels of hospital bed occupancy also appears to have a link to the higher mortality rates. The analysis was completed as part of an NHS performance monitoring process.

Words: Joelle

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