Category Archives: News and Interest

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Nestle to slash amount of sugar in chocolate bars by 10% by 2018

Some of the UK’s favourite chocolate bars – including Kit Kats and Yorkies – will contain 10% less sugar by 2018, Nestle has announced.

The confectioner said it would use around 7,500 tonnes less sugar to make its products by next year.

The sugar will be replaced with higher quantities of other existing ingredients or other, non-artificial ingredients

Nestle has said it will use 10% less sugar in its chocolate bars, which include Kit Kats, by 2018

Products will also be kept below a certain amount of calories.

Fiona Kendrick, Chairman and CEO of Nestle UK and Ireland, said: “Our confectionery brands have been enjoyed in the UK for more than a century and we know that if we can improve these products nutritionally, provide more choice and information for the consumer, together with other categories, we can have a significant impact on public health.

“Nestle is at the forefront of efforts to research and develop new technology that makes food products better for our consumers.

“These innovations will help us to reduce sugar in confectionery when they are combined with other, more common methods like reformulating recipes and swapping sugar for other, non-artificial ingredients.

“Making these improvements to our products is key to us delivering better choices for our consumers while retaining the same great taste that they know and love.”

Sourced by the Mail Online

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Cancer patient who was given just 18 months to live now has NO TRACE of the disease

A cancer patient given just 18 months to live now has NO TRACE of the disease  after testing a new wonder drug.

Terminally ill Bob Berry was one of the first in the world to take part in the trial after being diagnosed with lung cancer three years ago.

The 60-year-old is just one of just 12 across the world to try the brand new drug, which cannot yet be named.

It has left him with no apparent trace of tumour in his body.

Bob, from Stockport, had tried surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy – all of which were unsuccessful.

Medics told him he had around a year-and-a-half left to live.

But Bob took part in the clinical trial using the drug which combines the drug with an immunotherapy treatment.

His consultant at The Christie, one of the largest cancer treatment centres in Europe, Dr Matthew Krebs, said: “Bob has had a phenomenal response to taking part in this clinical trial.”

Mr Berry said: “Three years ago, I was given 12 – 18 months to live but I have already surpassed that and I feel well.

“At the end of the day, this clinical trial at The Christie has extended my life and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Source The Sun

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Completely ‘locked-in’ patients can communicate

Patients with absolutely no control over their body have finally been able to communicate, say scientists.

A brain-computer interface was used to read the thoughts of patients to answer basic yes-or-no questions.

One man was able to repeatedly refuse permission for his daughter to get married.

The study on four patients in Germany- published in PLOS Biology – also showed they were happy despite the effects of being “locked-in”.

The patients all had advanced forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in which the brain loses the ability to control muscles.

It eventually traps people in their own body – they are able to think, but incapable of moving or talking.

When they become “locked in”, it can still be possible to develop ways of communication using eye movements.

But all the patients in the study were “completely locked in” and could not even move their eyes.

Brain signals

The activity of brain cells can change oxygen levels in the blood, which in turn changes the colour of the blood.

And scientists were able to peer inside the brain using light to detect the blood’s colour, through a technique called near-infrared spectroscopy.

They then asked the patients yes-or-no questions such as: “Your husband’s name is Joachim?” to train a computer to interpret the brain signals.

The system achieved an accuracy of about 75%.

It means questions need to be asked repeatedly in order to be certain of a patient’s answer.

Prof Ujwal Chaudhary, from the Wyss Center in Switzerland where the work was pioneered, told BBC News: “It makes a great difference to their quality of life.

“Imagine if you had no means of communicating and then you could say yes or no – it makes a huge impact.”

Insight

Patients who have recovered from locked-in syndrome say being able to communicate makes a huge difference.

Kate Allatt, became locked in for five months when she had a stroke at the age of 39.

Unlike the patients in this study, she became able to communicate when her friends asked her to blink once for yes or twice for no.

She told the BBC: “It was phenomenal, that moment if you could wrap every single Christmas, every single birthday, every single child you’ve ever held in your arms for the first time – that was how exciting it was.”

In one case a daughter wanted the blessing of her completely locked-in father before marrying her boyfriend.

But eight times out of 10 the answer came back no.

“We don’t know why he said no,” said Prof Chaudhary.

“But they got married… nothing can come between love.”

The form of communication is being used for more practical day-to-day means such as finding out if patients are in pain or want a family visit.

Prof John Donoghue, the director of the Wyss Center, told the BBC: “If a person who is totally locked-in is able to communicate, you’re freeing the mind to interact with the world around them.

“That is remarkable.”

 

Source BBC News

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Lack of money for care ‘will leave more people stranded in hospital’ say council leaders

A GROWING number of people in need of social care could be left stranded in hospitals because of “continued underfunding”, council leaders have warned.

Meanwhile, the number of people who had “unmet basic needs”, such as getting washed, dressed or getting out of bed, could also rise, the Local Government Association (LGA) said.
Those who got care could face shorter visits from strained carers, the LGA added.The comments came as the LGA, which represents 370 councils across England and Wales, warned that the Government’s Care Act was doomed to fail unless more money was allocated to the social care sector.
In a statement, the LGA said that “continued underfunding of social care is making it impossible for local authorities to fulfil their legal duties under the Care Act”.
This could leave the system “on the brink of failing altogether and councils facing the prospect of court challenges”, the LGA added.In its submission to the Treasury ahead of the Budget, the LGA said that if new money was not ploughed into the social care sector then ministers needed to be “honest and upfront” with the public about the level of care that could be provided.A poll conducted by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services found that just 8 per cent of directors of adult social care in councils were confident they could meet the full duties of the Care Act in the coming financial year.
Izzi Seccombe, the chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “The Care Act is a really important piece of legislation which the LGA fully supports.”But the intentions and the spirit of the Care Act that aims to help people to live well and independently, are in grave danger of falling apart and failing, unless new funding is announced by government for adult social care.”It is not good enough just to be trying to help someone get washed and dressed, adult social care is about much more than this.”It is about aspiring to help people live their lives to the fullest, and with dignity, not simply just get by. This is the great strength of the Care Act, which unfortunately is now at risk.
“If no new money is urgently announced, then government needs to be honest and upfront with the public about the limitations of the care and support we can provide, and the fact that as a society we will no longer be able to meet the ambitions and objectives of the Care Act.”Janet Morrison, the chief executive of the charity Independent Age, said: “The social care system is chronically underfunded, and this continues to undermine implementation of the Care Act.”The impact of this failure falls on older and disabled people, who can be left without any assistance to carry out day-to-day tasks such as washing or going to the toilet.”Last year, we saw record numbers of people stuck in hospital when they were well enough to leave, because of a failure to put an appropriate care package in place.
“With councils seemingly failing to meet their requirements under the Care Act, the Government needs to find a long-term solution on social care funding that all parties can support.”A Government spokesman said: “Local Authorities have a duty to implement new rights introduced in the Care Act and, while many are already providing high-quality social care services, we will continue to challenge and support those not currently doing so.”We have provided councils with up to £7.6 billion of dedicated funding for social care over the course of this parliament – significant investment to ensure that vulnerable people get affordable and dignified care as our population ages.”Matthew Swindells, NHS England’s national director for operations, said: “This month’s figures show a 42 per cent annual increase in delays in being able to discharge patients as a result of pressures in social care.”Hospitals report this affects their ability to quickly admit emergency A&E patients, so the NHS is working closely with local councils and community health services to enable older patients to get the support they need after a hospital stay, back at home.”Source The Express
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‘Dementia is not inevitable’ says David Cameron as he becomes President of Alzheimer’s Research UK

Former Prime Minister David Cameron vowed that ‘dementia is not inevitable’ as he became the new President of Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Mr Cameron made dementia a focus of his time in office, and in 2012 launched Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge which aimed to find a treatment or cure by 2025.

“Tackling dementia was a major focus while I was Prime Minister, and although improvements in attention and research innovation have been rapid, it remains one of our greatest health challenges,” he said.

“So I’m delighted to take up the Presidency of Alzheimer’s Research UK, an ambitious charity driving medical research to fight this devastating condition.

“As well as being a world-leading research organisation, the charity is also fighting the misconceptions of dementia that persist in society. Dementia is not inevitable and research is our greatest weapon against it.

“I’m committed to helping Alzheimer’s Research UK transform the lives of those affected by this life-shattering condition.”

The former prime minister says he waned to ensure academics searching for treatments are “properly funded”

“We must win the battle of priorities,” he added. “Cancer research and stroke research deserve all their funding – but dementia shouldn’t be so far behind.

“Dementia steals people’s lives, turns their relationships upside down, destroys their hopes and dreams.”

Welcoming Mr Cameron’s appointment, Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said that Mr Cameron had done ‘more than anyone’ to keep dementia high on the world’s agenda.

“As a world leader, Mr Cameron has done more than any other to put dementia on the global agenda, driving an ambition shared by all G7 nations to find a disease-modifying treatment by 2025,” she said.

“Alzheimer’s Research UK is a hugely ambitious and growing charity, uniquely set-up to tackle our greatest medical challenge. We have a clear focus on pioneering research, working with leading scientists across the UK and the world.

“We are committed to bringing together the brightest minds and most innovative ideas in powerful collaborations that reach breakthroughs faster. David Cameron’s support of our work will help us continue our positive growth and further bolster our research efforts, through which we will end the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.”

Source The Telegraph

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Nurse, 55, who allowed a dementia patient to be left in a ‘dangerous and frightening’ equipment cupboard for six hours while she was ‘shivering and hallucinating’ is struck off

A nurse who allowed a dementia patient to be locked overnight in a ‘dangerous and frightening’ cupboard while she was ‘sweating, shivering and suffering hallucinations’ has been struck off.

Supervisor Heather Davies, 55, advised a colleague to push the patient’s bed into an equipment storeroom so she would not disturb others on the ward at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

The woman – who had been distressed and shouting for about one hour – was then left shivering and sweating in the cupboard for six hours.

Heather Davies, who allowed a dementia patient to be locked overnight in a ‘dangerous and frightening’ cupboard while she was ‘sweating, shivering and suffering hallucinations’, has been struck off. The incident took place at Hinchingbrooke hospital, Cambs (pictured)

According to an investigation into the incident, the patient was not given a call bell and was delirious during the episode.

Davies has now been banned from work for 18 months after a panel found her behaviour amounted to misconduct.

Ruling that her fitness to practice was impaired, the panel said the patient’s ‘privacy and dignity’ had been compromised and that her failure to move the patient was ‘deplorable’.

It ruled: ‘She (Davies) did not assess the patient’s overall needs nor did she conduct a safety risk assessment or instruct anyone else to do so.

‘Patient A was suffering from delirium and felt as if she was falling, Mrs Davies should have conducted a full assessment of her condition or instructed another member of staff to do so.’

The incident unfolded on the Cherry Tree Ward – which is generally for elderly patients with conditions such as dementia – in May 2015.

The hearing was told how, when the patient began shouting, the nurse assigned to care for her decided to move her to the corridor.

But when she asked Davies where she could take her, Davies explained that the patient’s bed would not fit into a doctor’s room and that she needed to take her somewhere with double doors, such as the equipment room.

But when another healthcare assistant raised concerns about the patient being in the cupboard, Davies did not move her and instead decided to monitor her ‘periodically’ through the night.

The report said the patient was left in the dark, with an open window, for six hours.

Davies was put under review when an assistant reported the incident.  The probe ruled the room was ‘unacceptable, dangerous and frightening’.

In a statement, she said: ‘I have repeatedly pointed out that I did not carry out this action, and I certainly do not condone it, but as I was the nurse in charge of the ward at the time, I do accept some responsibility for failing to act in the correct manner to prevent the incident from happening in the first place.’

The NMC imposed the 18-month ban because they said there was a risk of repetition.

Source Mail Online

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‘Dementia link to sudden low blood pressure and dizziness’

People who experience frequent drops in blood pressure or dizziness when suddenly standing up are at increased risk of dementia, scientists say.

Writing in Plos Medicine they suggest that less blood reaches the brain during these moments, leading to brain cell damage over time.

Dementia experts say this is a “robust study” and “plausible explanation” that needs further investigation.

Charities point out that factors such as smoking carry higher risks.

But they say the work adds to growing evidence that changes in blood pressure have an impact on the brain.

‘Light-headedness’

Previous studies have linked high blood pressure to types of dementia.

But in this paper scientists focused on transient periods of low blood pressure – also known as postural hypotension – which become more common in older age.

These episodes can sometimes leave people feeling dizzy or give them “head rushes” when standing up suddenly.

Researchers from the Erasmus Medical Center, in the Netherlands, tracked 6,000 people for an average of 15 years.

They found those who suffered repeated periods of low blood pressure on standing were more likely to develop dementia in the years that followed.

Researcher Dr Arfan Ikram said: “Even though the effect can be seen as subtle – with an increased risk of about 4% for people with postural hypotension compared to those without it – so many people suffer from postural hypotension as they get older that it could have a significant impact on the burden of dementia across the world.”

He told the BBC: “If people experience frequent episodes of dizziness on standing, particularly as they get older, they should see their GPs for advice.”

But he added that young people, who have one-off episodes of dizziness when standing up because of dehydration for example, should not be unduly worried.

‘Not death sentence’

Prof Tom Dening, from Nottingham University, described the research as “an important study”.

He added: “The suggestion is that feeling dizzy, which results from a fall in blood pressure, may interfere with the circulation of blood round the brain and that over time, this causes damage which may contribute to dementia.

“This is a plausible hypothesis and has support from other research. It is possible that something else may be going on.”

He said: “A dizzy spell is not a death sentence nor does it mean you are certain to develop dementia.

“On the other hand, if this problem occurs frequently, then it is worth seeing your doctor as there may be remediable causes, for example if you are taking medication it should be reviewed.”

Dr Laura Phipps, of the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “While the risks found in this study are reasonably small compared to other known risk factors for dementia, it adds to a growing and complex picture of how blood pressure changes throughout life can impact the brain.

“As well as maintaining a healthy blood pressure, the best current evidence suggests that not smoking, only drinking in moderation, staying mentally and physically active, eating a balanced diet, and keeping cholesterol levels in check can all help to keep our brains healthy as we age,” she said.

Source BBC News

 

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A lack of vitamin D ‘could cause dementia’

A lack of vitamin D – which comes from sunshine – could raise your risk of getting dementia, according to research.

It is already known that someone’s genetics can raise their danger of developing dementia, as can smoking or being overweight.

But a new study from Edinburgh University has found a lack of sunshine could increase the risk.

People around the world with low vitamin D levels were found to have a higher risk of developing dementia, with researchers suggesting they could in future be advised to take supplements or spend more time outside to protect themselves.

The vitamin, which people get when their skin is exposed to sunlight, helps to clear the protein build-up which can cause Alzheimer’s disease.

It was found to be a potential environmental cause of dementia along with exposure to air pollution, pesticides and excessive levels of minerals such as aluminium in drinking water.

Dr Tom Russ, of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh, said: ‘Our ultimate goal is to prevent or delay the onset of dementia.

Environmental risk factors are an important new area to consider here, particularly since we might be able to do something about them.’

Source Mail Online
Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy cancer drug hailed as ‘game changer’

An immunotherapy drug has been described as a potential “game-changer” in promising results presented at the European Cancer Congress.

In a study of head and neck cancer, more patients taking nivolumab survived for longer compared with those who were treated with chemotherapy.

In another study, combining nivolumab with another drug shrank tumours in advanced kidney cancer patients.

Immunotherapy works by harnessing the immune system to destroy cancer cells.

Advanced head and neck cancer has very poor survival rates.

In a trial of more than 350 patients, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 36% treated with the immunotherapy drug nivolumab were alive after one year compared with 17% who received chemotherapy.

Patients also experienced fewer side effects from immunotherapy.

Double hit

The benefits were more pronounced in patients whose tumours had tested positive for HPV (human papillomavirus). These patients survived an average of 9.1 months with nivolumab and 4.4 months with chemotherapy.

Normally, this group of patients are expected to live less than six months.

Early data from a study of 94 patients with advanced kidney cancer showed that the double hit of nivolumab and ipilimumab resulted in a significant reduction in the size of tumours in 40% of patients.

Of these patients, one in 10 had no sign of cancer remaining.

This compares with 5% of patients showing tumour reduction after standard therapy.

About 12,000 people are diagnosed with kidney cancer in the UK each year and an average of 12 people die from the disease each day.

Peter’s journey

“I feel a bit of a fraud having terminal cancer because I haven’t been in pain at all,” says Peter Waite, 64, from Hertfordshire.

“There’s been nothing negative about it for me and I feel a bit embarrassed really.”

Peter started receiving combined immunotherapy (nivolumab and ipilimumab) in a clinical trial in early 2015 after doctors discovered he had a type of renal cancer several years after recovering from kidney and lung cancer.

He was told he probably had three to five years left.

Instead of being treated with chemotherapy, he spent four months receiving both immunotherapy drugs and experienced virtually no side effects, allowing him to continue working as a motor technician throughout his treatment.

Scans of his kidney and lungs show that one of his tumours has shrunk and two others have not shown any further growth.

He is no longer taking the drugs and is being monitored every 12 weeks with scans.

Mr Waite said his daughters have teased him about being a guinea pig – and considered buying him some hay.

“I’m a very upbeat sort of bloke and I’ve been very lucky,” he says.

“I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to go on the trial.”

As yet, nivolumab has only been approved for treating skin cancer and in June it became one of the fastest medicines ever approved for NHS use, in combination with ipilimumab, for the same cancer.

Nivolumab and ipilimumab both work by interrupting the chemical signals that cancers use to convince the immune system they are healthy tissue.

‘Extend life’

Prof Kevin Harrington of the Institute of Cancer Research and consultant at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, who led the head and neck cancer trial, said nivolumab could be a real “game changer” for patients with advanced head and neck cancer.

“This trial found that it can greatly extend life among a group of patients who have no existing treatment options, without worsening quality of life.

“Once it has relapsed or spread, head and neck cancer is extremely difficult to treat. So it’s great news that these results indicate we now have a new treatment that can significantly extend life, and I’m keen to see it enter the clinic as soon as possible.”

Prof Paul Workman, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, said nivolumab was one of a new wave of immunotherapies that were beginning to have an impact across cancer treatment.

He added: “We hope regulators can work with the manufacturer to avoid delays in getting this drug to patients who have no effective treatment options left to them.”

Source BBC News

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MP shares memories of Morton legend dad with dementia

INVERCLYDE MP Ronnie Cowan has shared treasured memories of his Morton legend dad with a group of elderly football fans who have dementia.

Mr Cowan’s father Jimmy also famously starred for Scotland and he is one of the favourite topics of conversation for those taking part in the new memories group at Cappielow.

Ronnie, who was elected at last year’s general election, was delighted to come along to their latest meeting to chat about the glory days – and it proved an emotional day for all those round the table.

“I spoke with Tracy from Alzheimer Scotland and wanted to do all I could to help, so I brought along images that I have around the house.

“It is incredible my dad died when he was 42 but people still remember him and talk about him.

“There were stories that I heard growing up, and they were being talked about by the group.

“I thought to myself – ‘so they were true!’.

“It was a great way to get people talking.”

Morton Memories was set up by the local branch of Alzheimer Scotland and the club community trust to help those with dementia revive memories.

Football fan Roy McGibben, who lives in Marchmont Nursing Home, is one of those taking part.

He said: “It is really wonderful, out of this world. Jimmy Cowan was a lovely man.”

Roy spent time talking to Ronnie and others about all the players of Jimmy’s generation.

Jimmy Cowan, main pic and inset after Scotland’s famous 3-1 victory over England in 1949, is regarded as one of Scotland’s finest ever ‘keepers.

He signed for Ton in 1944 and stayed for nine years, playing against Rangers in the famous Scottish Cup final of 1948.

During that time he was capped a remarkable 25 times for Scotland.

Jimmy remained a popular figure in the town after his retirement before he passed away in June 1968.

In 2007 he was recognised as a true Scottish footballing great by being inducted into the Hampden Hall of Fame.

Marchmont’s senior carer Sarah White brought a group of elderly residents to Cappielow for this week’s memories session along with activities co-ordinator Fiona McNeilly and they said it had a terrific impact.

She said: “To get that kind of reaction from Roy and others is incredible. It is amazing. Roy just didn’t want to stop talking.”

Alzheimer Scotland Inverclyde branch co-ordinator Tracy Gilmour today thanked MP Mr Cowan for his support.

She said: “Everyone wanted to talk about Jimmy Cowan, so I got in touch with Ronnie. It worked out so well and was a great success.”

The next Morton Memories group meeting is on November 1 at Cappielow.
To find out more contact Tracy Gilmour on 01475 261102.

Source Greenock Telegraph