Welcome back to The Medic Portal’s news summary blog to keep you up to date with the all the main headlines in medical news. This blog post will cover the highlights in health news that occurred from 28th November to 4th December. This week has seen the NHS agree to trial a new drug to reduce a patient’s risk of being infected with HIV, research that links bacteria in the gut to the development of Parkinson’s disease and a survey that indicates sleep deprivation could be costing the UK around £40 billion per year.
New research involving mice suggests that bacteria in the gut may lead to a greater decline in motor function in patients with Parkinson’s disease. The study involved a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. The researchers gave some of the mice in the study gut bacteria from people suffering with Parkinson’s disease and then compared them to mice given gut bacteria from healthy participants. The results showed that there was the greatest decrease in motor function in those mice infected with gut bacteria from people with Parkinson’s disease. It is thought that the gut bacteria may cause a build-up of proteins that are found in patients with Parkinson’s disease. The researchers cannot be sure that the same results will occur in a human population so the study needs to be replicated in a human cohort.
A new drug that significantly reduces the risk of being infected with HIV will now be given to patients by the NHS. During the summer, the health service lost a court battle arguing that local authorities should pay for the drug rather than the NHS. Before the preventative measure is rolled out across the UK, 10,000 people will be given the drug in a clinical trial over the next three years. It is hoped that the trial will help NHS England to determine how to offer the drug more widely. Pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP is a pill that is taken daily and disables HIV before it causes an infection. The preventative treatment costs £400 a month per person but cuts the risk of being infected with HIV by up to 86%.
It is thought that workers who are sleep deprived are costing the UK around £40 billion per year. Many workers don’t turn up to work due to exhaustion or feeling ill due to a lack of sleep. Researchers at the global policy think tank Rand analysed survey data from five countries: the US, Japan, the UK, Germany and Canada. The results indicated that employees who sleep less than six hours a night lose around six or more days a year at work more than those who sleep over seven hours. Researchers recommended that companies provide their employees with support and advice to help them get at least seven hours sleep a night.
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