Round-Up of Global News In Health and Complementary Medicine
Week Beginning 10 June 2002
New Survey Of Hygiene
Most people wash their hands after going to the toilet, but are reluctant to remind others to do the same, according to a survey. The Food and Drink Federation surveyed more than 1,500 children and adults and found that most adults, 88 per cent, always wash their hands after going to the toilet - 12 per cent more than in last year抯 survey, with women far more likely to do so than men. However, a quarter of girls and almost half of boys aged 7-14, said they did not always wash their hands after going to the toilet. Research shows that there are up to 4.5 million cases of food poisoning every year in the UK, and it is estimated that many are caused by dirty hands.
WHO & EC Team Up To Fight Health Threats
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission (EC) have agreed to increase their co-operation in the fight against killer diseases such as AIDS. European commissioners for development, health, trade and research met WHO chief Gro Harlem Brundtland in Brussels last week to discuss joint actions against health threats including contagious diseases, over-priced medicines and smoking. The EC says the European Union has already committed �0 million to fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and aims to invest �0 million in gene and biotechnology research in the world抯 poorest countries.
The Daily Mail
Boost >From Special Drink After Chemo
The tiring effects of chemotherapy on cancer patients may be relieved by an energy drink, according to Italian scientists. Fatigue and weakness are well known side effects of the treatment and can severely impair the quality of life of patients. The drink � Carnitene � contains a substance called levocarnitine (l-carnitine) which is converted in the body to an amino acid, called carnitine, which is vital for delivering energy to the muscles. Chief researcher Dr Francesco Graziano, of Urbino Hospital in Italy, says that after chemotherapy, many patients have low levels of carnitine in their blood.
The Daily Mail
New Test >From Prostate Disease
A simple test has been developed to identify patients with the most aggressive prostate cancers early. At present the progress of the cancer is determined by the Gleason grading system, which is based on tumour shape and appearance. The new test, developed at the University of Minnesota, works by measuring concentrations of two chemicals. The ratio between them indicates changes in tumours that are not visible under the microscope. Dr Charlotte Bevan, of the Prostate Cancer Charity, says this is a 'very exciting development' which could aid physicians in determining what level of treatment would be best for individual patients.
The Daily Telegraph
Wound Infection Reduced By new Antibiotic?
US researchers say the application of an antibiotic to the noses of some surgery patients can reduce their risk of developing complications. Staphylococcus aureus infection costs between $5 and $10 billion annually in the United States. The bacterium is normally found in 25 to 30 per cent of patients in hospitals and usually causes little harm. However, it can cause serious problems if it contaminates wounds, especially among people whose immune systems have been weakened. Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore say the use of mupirocin to eliminate the bacteria in patients� noses could cut the risk of wound infection by nearly 50 per cent.
Nut Caution Too Much?
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) says people with nut allergies find it difficult to buy food because of inconsistent or misleading product labelling. Its commissioned research shows that many normally nut-free products are labelled as having a risk of trace contamination, with manufacturers using this policy 'to cover their backs'. The head of allergy and food tolerance at the FSA, Dr Catherine Boyle says using the words 'may contain' as a blanket insurance policy has a real impact on nut allergy sufferers, who find their choice of even the most basic of food items restricted.
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