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Weekly News Summary – 18th September 2017

Welcome back to this week’s news summary blog. This blog will outline the highlights in medical and health news from 12th to 18th September. This week’s news includes: poor diet is now a factor in one in five deaths according to a new global study, every childhood vaccine could be given in one single jab and NHS shortages now mean in some areas 436 patients are left in the care of just two junior doctors.

An ongoing study conducted, the Global Burden of Disease, has found that as many as one in five deaths worldwide is linked to poor diet. The study indicates that millions of people are eating the wrong foods for good health. In particular, a diet low in whole grains and fish oils but high in salt carries a risk of early death. The University of Washington has collected data from every country around the world. The highest life expectancy was found in Japan and the lowest in Central African Republic. Smoking is still the number one highest risk factor for early death, however this was closely followed by diet. Other high risk factors included high blood glucose, high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol.

A new technology developed by US researchers means that in the future every childhood vaccine could be delivered in a single injection. Currently, childhood immunisations are given at multiple visits over several years. The drawback of this is that it is more traumatic for the child and compliance drops.  The new type of vaccine being developed uses a micro-particle that combines everything into a single infection. The various vaccines are held within compartments in the body that break down to release their contents at the right time. The contents could be released up to 41 days after they were injected. Currently, trials have only been conducted on mice so further clinical trials will need to be completed.  

An NHS report has shown that in Derriford Hospital, Plymouth as many as 436 patients were left in the care of just two junior doctors. Clinicians have expressed concern that patients were left at risk during a “very unsafe shift” due to low staffing levels. The low staffing levels meant that often doctors did not have time to take a break and felt rushed when caring for patients. The report which was presented to the hospital board in July suggests that little is being done to remedy the staffing levels and there are plans to make it the norm with plans to allocate two doctors for every 450 patients.

Words: Joelle Booth

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