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News Archives, February 2005
Monday, 28 February 2005 11:08
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Botulism Vaccine Being Developed in UK
The US government has announced its support for a new British vaccine, which promises to provide an effective defence against the most deadly naturally occurring substance, botulism.

The technology is being developed by Cambridge Biostability. The vaccine will render botulism no greater a risk to public health than tetanus and eliminating its danger as a potential weapon.

Bruce Roser, Chief Scientific Advisor for Cambridge Biostability explains: “With our stable liquid technology you can encapsulate each toxoid in its own microsphere. The microspheres can be mixed and kept at room temperature without harming the vaccine. This means that for the first time it is possible to create a single multivalent vaccine which can be stored safely without refrigeration.”

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Monday, 28 February 2005 10:14
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
ADHD Breakthrough
A study published in Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry found that children who ignore visual information to their left may be suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) where dyslexia may perviously have been diagnosed.

The research showed this is more widespread in children than previously thought. Children with ADHD might simply stop noticing things to their left, particularly when they are doing boring or unstimulating tasks.

Dr Tom Manly and colleagues at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge said: “We have no idea how many children are affected, or if they grow out of it or if it is permanent. However, there are some effective treatments for this problem in adults and our early studies suggest they may work for children, but more research is needed. Nevertheless, improving early assessment in children should be a priority.”

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Monday, 28 February 2005 09:43
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Sorry about the three year wait
Janet Warnes, 68, who waited three years to see Mr Fraser a consultant, at Leeds General Infirmary finally got her appointment, only to be told that he had died two years earlier.

Janet was due to be fitted with a hearing aid when she first saw Mr Fraser in 2002 but she had to wait until last month for her second appointment only to be told of the sad news.

Mrs Warnes, said: “I was starting to think I might be dead before I finally saw a doctor, but I never expected him to be”.

When she was finally seen by another doctor, she was told that she could now go on the waiting list for a hearing aid, but that could take up to another two years.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Leeds General Infirmary, apologised to Mrs Warnes but said that her experience had been caused by a “one-off computer system error”.

A spokesman said: “The appointment letter in question was generated in error by our automated system. We are extremely sorry for any embarrassment or distress it might have caused and have taken steps to ensure this cannot happen again”.

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Monday, 28 February 2005 09:23
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
What’s in your air?
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) claims that diesel engines are a serious threat to health across Britain because they are pumping out PM10 - a chemical that can cause breathing problems.

The CSP studied levels of PM10 at various monitoring points around the country and found that the pollutant consists of tiny solid or liquid particles of soot, dust, smoke, fumes and aerosols which could cause coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

World Health Organisation (WHO) experts believe there is no safe limit for exposure to PM10.

But the CSP said its analysis revealed there were high levels across Britain, with an average of 23.3 micrograms per cubic metre of air (micrograms/m3).

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Sunday, 27 February 2005 10:37
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
NHS nurses lured with luxury hotel breaks
AstraZeneca a leading pharmaceutical firm have been luring NHS nurses into luxury trips to four and five-star hotels to ensure that their products are used in the NHS.

Since nurses have gained the power to prescribe medicines to patients on the NHS they have been a target for many drug firms to persuade them to use their brand of products.

Liz Darlington, a nurse in the north of England, wrote a letter to the British Medical Journal, complaining about the targeting of her profession. “I am utterly amazed at the pharmaceutical environment that prevails in primary care and the volume of invites to ‘educational meetings’ with free lunches, trips to TV shows etc that have been put my way,” she wrote.

AstraZeneca said it goes to great lengths to ensure its educational programmes are within industry guidelines.

“When deciding on a meeting location, AstraZeneca selects the venue that can best facilitate a robust educational programme while keeping costs to a minimum,” it said.

A spokesman for GlaxoSmithKline said: “Every hotel is chosen for its convenience and facilities and the hospitality has to be secondary”.

Matt Griffiths, joint prescribing adviser for the Royal College of Nursing, recently told the health select committee there was evidence that nurses were influenced by drugs marketing. “But we try to ensure that our patient care is not compromised,” he said.

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Sunday, 27 February 2005 10:13
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Tesco misleading shoppers
The trading standards claim that TESCO a supermarket chain in Britain is misleading customers over the nutritional and health benefits of a series of products in stores throughout the country.

Trading standards officers have found more than 20 alleged failings after an eight-week study testing their products.

Among the findings of trading standards officers were:
• Own-brand Tesco Kids pizza labelled as having “controlled sodium” — suggesting low salt — which contained 10 times the amount of salt allowed for “reduced salt” foods.
• An own-brand cereal with “controlled sugar” that was almost one-third sugar.
• A Tesco juice drink labelled as having “added vitamin C” that, when tested, was found to contain only a tiny amount of the vitamin — and far less than that advertised.
• Frozen lamb mince contaminated with traces of pork.
• Fresh leaf spinach with almost double the permitted level of nitrates.
• A chicken sandwich contained 57% more salt than stated on its label.

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Sunday, 27 February 2005 09:54
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
babies hit by MRSA
A study by the Patients Association have found a large number of babies, many just a few days old, have been infected with the deadly superbug methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in hospitals across Britain.

The Department of Health is alarmed about the increased number of cases of babies with MRSA that it has commissioned a £140,000 study into the problem.

Professor Hugh Pennington of Aberdeen University, a microbiologist and expert in hospital-acquired infection, said: “If babies are getting MRSA that is of concern because it shows there is something seriously wrong with the infection control procedures”.

He added it was likely the infection had been carried into the neonatal units by people walking from ward to ward. “If we had been more aggressive in tackling the problem, like the Dutch and the Scandinavians, this would not have happened”.

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Sunday, 27 February 2005 09:35
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Milk can cause acne
A study, reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, claims that milk can cause acne, the study found that women who drank two or more servings of skimmed milk a day were 44 per cent more likely to have developed severe acne.

The survey was based on analysis responses from 47,335 women involved in an ongoing health study.

Researchers conclude: "We found a positive association with acne for intake of total milk and skim milk.

"We hypothesise that the association with milk may be because of the presence of hormones and bioactive molecules in milk”.

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Saturday, 26 February 2005 11:13
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Tilly tastes real food
Matilda "Tilly" Merrell an eight-year-old girl has enjoyed her first taste of food after being fed through a tube into her stomach because British doctors misdiagnosed a rare eating disorder.

When Tilly was 12 months old specialists diagnosed Isolated Bulbar Palsy, a weakness in the nerves controlling swallowing, meaning that food could enter her lungs instead of her stomach which then meant Tilly had to be fed directly into her stomach.

After years of frustration and endless investigations Tilly’s friends and family raised £10,000 to take her to the Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University in California, which specialises in treating the condition.

The doctors in America who examined her said they could find no trace of the condition she was supposed to have all that was wrong was enlarged tonsils which meant Tilly could eat normally. She is expected to lead a full and normal life.

Tilly’s mother, Amelia, 36, said: "I'm so grateful to everyone who has helped. It has been really difficult for Tilly. She could be very nasty to me. She would snatch at the dinner table. You couldn't sit and have a meal in peace. It was traumatic for her”.

Marianna Thorn, an occupational therapist treating Tilly, said the medical team had not ruled out that the youngster had had a problem at some point, such as a viral infection that cured on its own."

Dr Peter Koltai, who also treated Tilly, said it was a "pretty strange case", but he refused to blame British doctors for not making the same discovery.

A spokesman for Birmingham Children's Hospital, said: "We cannot comment further until these results are available."

A spokesman for Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust said it was awaiting with interest the finding of the American team.

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Saturday, 26 February 2005 10:34
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Are we getting fatter?
Data gathered for the Health Survey for England for 2003 shows an alarming increase of adults who are dangerously overweight figures show a 75 per cent increase in obesity over the past decade.

According to health analysts more than eight million Britons are categorised as clinically obese, which could increase their chances of severe risk of chronic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

The data showed that 22.9 per cent of men and 23.5 per cent of women have a body mass index (BMI) rating of more than 30, the yardstick of obesity and the number of fat women increased by 50 per cent with the number of obese men rose by almost 75 per cent.

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