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.
James Paget Hospital to Use Palforzia Peanut Allergy Treatment
A hospital in Norfolk has become the first in the UK to use the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approved drug Palforzia to treat patients with peanut allergies. Children will receive the drug in oral form; the immune system will be densensitised to peanut proteins by steadily increasing exposure to them. Patients will receive a monthly dose such that tolerance can be carefully and slowly built over time. The hospital intends on treating between 10 to 12 children in the first year.
This pioneering treatment could be life-changing for patients and families. Reducing the severity of allergic reactions to peanuts could make birthday parties and holidays abroad a lot easier for some kids, for example.
Parkinson’s Disease: Bad Dreams Could Be an Early Warning Sign – New Study
A recent study has found that frequent bad dreams or nightmares in older age could be predictive of developing Parkinson’s disease in otherwise healthy people.
The study sample consisted of older men in the United States over a period of 12 years; people who reported bad dreams at least once a week were followed for an average of 7 years.
Since Parkinson’s is a rare condition, most people who frequently experience nightmares are unlikely to develop the disease. However, this finding could be important for those who have other known risk factors for Parkinson’s disease, as it could allow for earlier diagnosis and treatment.
Medical Gaming Treating Life-changing Injuries
Rehabilitation centers are using computer games to help patients who have experienced serious illness or injury. These games, like MindPod, are used alongside conventional treatments, to help patients regain strength, balance, and coordination. The novel video-game inspired therapy was developed by Dr. Omar Ahmad and Dr. John Krakauer at Johns Hopkins University in the US. Although it could be months or years before rehabilitation technologies are widely available, they may be well worth the wait.
This article is a nice blend of technology and medicine; this is the kind of work you could do if you go into biomedical engineering.
Drugmakers Urged to Give Poorer Nations Access to More Antibiotics
Low and middle income countries have reduced access to antibiotics and antifungal drugs. Instead of providing older medicine available to these countries, more focus has been placed on developing new antibiotics to tackle antibiotic resistance. The Access to Medicine Foundation is sending a study discussing this to the group of G20 nations in the hope of them discussing it at the next summit in November.
When doctors are unable to prescribe the drugs they need, as is the case in these low and middle income countries, there is potential for viruses and bacteria to develop resistance and become “superbugs.” Drugmakers have little incentive to sell their products in poorer countries due to reduced profit margins.
This global health issue is long-lasting and has resulted in disproportionate rates of mortality and disease in low and middle income countries. As an aspiring healthcare professional, you could work to help solve such issues within the field of global health.
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!