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Weekly News Summary – 7th December 2017

Migraine

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Welcome back to this week’s edition of the news summary blog. This blog outlines the highlights in health news that occurred from 30th November to 6th December. This week a patient’s family have received a pay-out after a woman was kept alive against her will. A new migraine drug has been proven to prevent migraine attacks, and research recently published has shown that brushing your teeth could protect you against oesophageal cancer.

Brenda Grant made a living will that stated she did not want to be kept alive if she was no longer sound of mind or had suffered from a list of medical conditions. Mrs Grant’s family has received a £45,000 pay-out after her wishes were not followed and she was kept alive against her will. After suffering a stroke, Mrs Grant was fitted with a stomach peg and kept alive for 22 months. The hospital were unaware of her living will as they had not read the advance directive document within her notes. Eventually, her GP alerted the hospital before Mrs Grant was re-admitted. The family of Mrs Grant wanted to pursue legal action to highlight the case and prevent situations like this from reoccurring in the future.  

A new drug used to treat migraines can halve the length of time patients suffer with the condition. The drug, Erenumab, is a laboratory-made antibody that has been designed to block neural brain pathways and prevent migraine attacks. A recent trial of the drug on 1,000 patients showed that on average it cuts between three to four migraine days per month. Half of the patients treated with the drug also reported that their migraine duration was reduced by at least half.

Research published has suggested that cleaning your teeth could protect you against developing oesophageal cancer. There are two types of oesophageal cancers and the study showed that a bacteria that causes gum disease, tannerella forsythia, is more common in patients with oesophageal adenocarcinoma. The risk for developing the cancer was increased by over 20% in those who had double the number of tannerella forsythia bacteria. However, the study only looked at a small number of participants and found a link to just one bacteria. The findings in the study need to be replicated in a larger cohort of patients before the link becomes certain.

Words: Joelle Booth

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