The Top Medical/Health News Stories of the Week
Here’s our round-up of the medical and healthcare news stories of the week – and what a week it’s been! We’ve scoured the news for the stories we think are important to know about. Every week, we’ll bring you a fresh batch of healthcare stories for you to feast on.
Use these stories to help boost your knowledge of the healthcare sector and the biggest health topics affecting us.
NHS Trials Using Drones to Deliver Chemotherapy Drugs
The NHS has announced its plans to use drones to speed up the delivery of vital medicines. Pilot schemes are currently being trialled in Northumbria and Isle of Wight.
The scheme will cut delivery times, as the drugs will be flown directly from the pharmacy at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust to St, Mary’s hospital, where distribution will then occur. The new delivery method has been developed in partnership with a tech company called Apian. This is particularly useful for patients in the Isle of Wight, as many of them have to travel to the mainland for treatment.
Delivery of chemotherapy drugs by drone is an exciting development for cancer treatment, as not only do certain drugs have a short shelf life (making traditional transport methods more difficult) but patients will have to travel less to receive necessary treatment.
Hospital Admissions with Covid Likely to Rise Further, Says Health Chief
The UK is currently experiencing a jump in Covid-19 infections, resulting in physicians anticipating a rise in hospital cases. A health chief, Dame Jenny Harries, urges people to go about their normal lives, but in a precautionary way. This could include wearing a face mask in poorly ventilated places, like the tube.
As always has been said, the pandemic is ever-evolving, and the new wave, which has not yet peaked, exemplifies this.
ADHD Drugs Could be esed to Treat Alzheimer's, Scientists Now Believe
Researchers at Imperial College London have found evidence suggesting drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be successful in treating key aspects of Alzheimer’s disease.
Essentially, noradrenergic drugs, like the ones used to treat ADHD, target a specific neurotransmitter called noradrenaline (or norepinephrine). In Alzheimer’s disease, this neurotransmitter is disrupted. Although researchers cannot yet be sure if the benefits of such a drug outweigh the costs or the effects on a person’s day-to-day life, this new researcher highlights the need for clinical trials.
These findings are impactful and exciting, as these drugs could potentially keep people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease connected to their families and worlds longer.
Nitrites in Bacon: MPs and Scientists Call for UK Ban over Cancer Fears
Nitrites, which are used to cure bacon, are associated with a heightened risk of several forms of cancer, including bowel, breast, and prostate cancer. Approximately 90% of bacon sold in Britain is thought to contain these chemicals. As a result, food scientists and MPs, across parties, are calling for the phase out of nitrites to protect public health.
The major crux of their argument involves the idea that current advances in food manufacturing means it is possible to produce bacon that is similar in flavour and colour without nitrites. Although the amount of nitrite additives used in production of British pork are within legal limits, processors have reduced the level of additives by up to 60% this year alone. However, the European Food Standards Agency hints that a ban is unlikely.
The link between nitrites and negative health outcomes has been found in the literature, but they do have preservative properties. What do you think is the right course of action in this case?
Biden Signs Abortion Rights Executive Order amid Pressure
On Friday morning, President Joe Biden of the United States signed an executive order to secure abortion access following the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court two weeks ago.
This overturning resulted in several states eliminating access to abortion. Importantly, none of the steps outlined in the executive order will fully restore abortion rights to the millions who lost them. Many, including Planned Parenthood and the National Women’s Law Center, view the executive order as a positive first step. However, most organisations believe the current administration needs to build on this executive order in the coming weeks.
As a society, we are witnessing an important time in history. Although you do not live in the United States, the consequences of Roe v. Wade’s overturning are felt worldwide because of the country’s influence. This is an important story to follow regardless of your country of residence.
That’s a wrap on this week’s news round-up, before you leave, pick one that you found the most interesting out of our selection.
Stay tuned for next week’s roundup. Who knows what will happen in the next seven days?
Before you leave, take 5 mins and reflect on what you’ve learnt from this
- What surprised you? What was expected?
- How has this improved your knowledge of healthcare developments?
Make a quick note of these reflections (bullet-points are fine) in your reflective diary. You might find it useful when answering medical interview questions!