Friday's Health News in Snippets

12/AUG/2022

Millions in England to face garden watering bans as drought declared.jpg

Millions in England to face garden watering bans as drought declared

Authorities declared drought in large swaths of England on Friday, urging residents and businesses in affected areas to conserve water during the driest summer in 50 years.

 

The Environment Agency declared drought in England's south, southwest, and southeast, as well as the central and eastern regions, after convening the National Drought Group, which includes water companies, ministers, and other water authorities. Parts of London's capital are also affected.

 

The UK has had five months of below-average rainfall and back-to-back heat waves, with temperatures expected to reach 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas on Saturday. Only two months have seen at least average rainfall since the beginning of 2021.

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Woman rescued from car seconds before vehicle is swallowed by massive sinkhole.jpg

Woman rescued from car seconds before vehicle is swallowed by massive sinkhole

A woman was rescued from her car just seconds before it was swallowed up by a massive sinkhole.

 

The woman was driving through El Paso, Texas, when she came across a flooded area.

 

Passers-by raced to hold on to her car as it began to sink into the water and through the sinkhole beneath.

 

As firefighters pulled the female driver from the back window, several people were seen holding the car in place.

 

According to authorities, the sinkhole formed when a water main ruptured.

 

It's reported that the woman was not seriously hurt, said ABC7.


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Johnson & Johnson to replace talc-based powder with cornstarch.jpg

Johnson & Johnson to replace talc-based powder with cornstarch

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will stop producing and selling talc-based baby powder globally beginning next year.

 

The announcement comes more than two years after the healthcare behemoth discontinued sales of the product in the United States.

 

Tens of thousands of lawsuits have been filed against J&J by women who claim their talcum powder contained asbestos and caused them to develop ovarian cancer.

 

However, the company reiterated that decades of independent research show that the product is safe to use.

 

"As part of a worldwide portfolio assessment, we have made the commercial decision to transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio," it said in a statement.

 

According to the company, cornstarch-based baby powder is already available in countries around the world.

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Covid antibody protection ruled out for vulnerable.jpg

Covid antibody protection ruled out for vulnerable

Because of a lack of evidence on how well it works against the Omicron variant, a Covid protection for people with weakened immune systems has been shelved in the UK.

 

The Department of Health stated that it would not purchase Evusheld injection doses.

 

Charities and patient advocacy groups expressed dissatisfaction with the decision.

 

According to Blood Cancer UK, many immunocompromised people will have to remain isolated.

 

It urged the government to reconsider its decision so that they could be protected during the winter.

 

AstraZeneca's Evusheld contains two antibodies against Covid that provide additional protection for people whose immune systems do not respond well to vaccines.

 

Patients with blood cancer and organ transplant recipients are among them.


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Mum-of-six goes into labour at beach after taking children for fun family trip 3.jpg

Mum-of-six goes into labour at beach after taking children for fun family trip

After taking her five children to the beach for a family day out, a mother of six went into premature labour.

 

Kirsty Nott, 33, was eight months pregnant when she took her children to the beach after a school trip to Porthcawl, south Wales, was cancelled at the last minute due to hot weather warnings.

 

The Aberdare mother took Logan Angell, 14, Braydan Parfitt, 10, Roxy Parfitt, 9, Kruz Parfitt, 8, and Blake Nott, 4, to Aberavon Beach in Port Talbot.

 

Because of the hot weather, the beach was crowded when they arrived, and Kirsty instructed her children to run into the sea while she set up the towels and beach toys.

 

As she bent over to put her towel down, Kirsty felt her waters break and instantly panicked, reports the Daily Post.

 

Kirsty, terrified and in great pain, called her mother and partner Gregory, both of whom were in Aberdare.

 

Kirsty's family called the paramedics on her behalf from miles away, while strangers on the beach began to gather to help.

 

Kirsty thought the baby would be born on Aberavon beach, but luckily an ambulance arrived in time to take her to Singleton Hospital.

 

When she arrived at the hospital, her midwife informed her that her cervix was not opening and that she needed to have her labour induced. Tanner-Jax Gregory Nott, weighing 5lb 11oz, was born after labour induction.


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Woman gives birth on passenger jet at 35,000ft as Brit passengers rush to help.jpg

Woman gives birth on passenger jet at 35,000ft as Brit passengers rush to help

After a fellow passenger went into labour on a nine-hour flight, a couple on vacation assisted in the delivery of a premature baby.

 

Sheryl and Ruel Pascua of Stoke-on-Trent were 35,000 feet in the air when cabin crew issued an emergency call for 'medical professionals' on board.

 

The two are nurses at NG Healthcare in Trentham and jumped into action, according to the Stoke Sentinel.

 

Sheryl and Ruel were joined by two other nurses who assisted the mother-to-be, also named Sheryl, in giving birth at only six months pregnant.

 

The child was placed on a ventilator and is said to be doing well.


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Thursday's Health News in Snippets

11/AUG/2022

Seven men charged over gang rape in South Africa.jpg

Seven men charged over gang rape in South Africa

Seven men have been charged with multiple counts of rape in connection with the sexual assault of a group of women at an abandoned mine near Johannesburg, South Africa.

 

The men were among more than 60 people arrested on immigration and firearms charges who appeared in court. They are thought to be illegal miners who dig for gold near abandoned mine shafts.

 

When the attack occurred, the women were filming a music video.

 

The case sparked violent protests in the townships surrounding the mines, as well as nationwide outrage.

 

Demonstrators gathered outside the courthouse as well, ahead of the hearings.

For more, click here.

Zero demand forces vaccine maker to halt Covid line.jpg

Zero demand forces vaccine maker to halt Covid line

A South African company has announced that it will cease production of coronavirus vaccines at the end of the month due to a lack of orders.

 

Following Aspen Pharmacare's announcement, the Africa Centres for Disease Control reassured that it was "doing everything possible" to ensure that those purchasing vaccines did so from Africa.

 

Aspen signed a deal with Johnson & Johnson in March to produce 450 million doses per year of Aspenovax, its own branded version of a Covid-19 vaccine.

 

Aspen's agreement with Johnson & Johnson was dubbed a "game changer" in terms of providing equitable vaccines to the continent at the time.

 

By 2040, the African Union hopes to have 60% of all vaccines administered on the continent produced locally. However, with only one-fifth of Africans immunised, that demand has not been met.

 

According to Aspen, it will now be forced to repurpose some of its production lines to produce anaesthetics.


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To prepare for possible monkeypox spread, colleges focus on educating students.png

To prepare for possible monkeypox spread, US colleges focus on educating students

With nearly 9,000 confirmed monkeypox cases in the United States, there is growing concern that this fall's college and university campuses will become monkeypox "hotspots."

 

Educators are working to reduce the public health risk, while some students are concerned about how the virus will affect their campus experiences – a virus that the country is still trying to control and that was recently declared a national public health emergency.

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US FDA approves emergency use of intradermal vaccine for monkeypox treatment.jpg

US FDA approves emergency use of intradermal vaccine for monkeypox treatment

The US Food and Drug Administration has granted an emergency use authorization for Jynneos vaccine in order to supplement the existing monkeypox vaccine supply.

 

According to the FDA, the approved vaccine will allow healthcare providers to use the intradermal injection, increasing the total number of doses available for use by up to five-fold.

 

It stated that the emergency use authorization allows the vaccine to be used in people aged 18 and up, as well as in people deemed to be at high risk of monkeypox infection.

 

The regulatory agency made the announcement on Tuesday in a statement posted to its official website.


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New DNA test could create cancer designer treatment from 'a few drops of blood'.jpg

New DNA test could create cancer designer treatment from 'a few drops of blood'

Cancer researchers have created a test that could lead to personalised cancer treatment using only "a few drops of blood."

 

The Canadian team developed a tool that allows them to sequence the DNA shed by tumours into the bloodstream, potentially opening the door to designer treatments for some of the most difficult-to-treat cancers.

 

According to the study's authors, their test can "uncover critical information about a person's overall disease and how best to manage their cancer" with "only a few drops of blood."

 

The test can identify the exact characteristics and weaknesses of a cancerous growth, as well as where it has spread in the body. This could be a game changer for cancer treatments because once cancer has metastasised, or spread, to other organs, it can be difficult to detect and even more difficult to treat.


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Wednesday's Health News in Snippets

10/AUG/2022

Lung screening pilot aims to diagnose cancer sooner.jpg

Lung screening pilot aims to diagnose cancer sooner

A lung screening pilot programme has begun in Cornwall, England, with the goal of detecting lung cancer earlier.

 

It is aimed at current and former smokers aged 55 to 75 in the county.

 

People in that category will be invited to an appointment and given the option of having a CT scan performed in a mobile unit.

 

According to health officials, the initiative will save lives by detecting lung cancer earlier.

For more, click here.

Health insurance now mandatory for Nigerians - NHIA DG.jpg

Health insurance now mandatory for Nigerians - NHIA DG

Prof. Mohammed Sambo, Director General/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Health Insurance Authority, has stated that the new NHIA Act 2022 now makes health insurance mandatory for all Nigerians.

 

Speaking at the NHIA's stakeholders' forum in Lagos, Sambo said the NHIA Act was signed into law on May 19, 2022, repealing the NHIS Act 2004.

 

He went on to say that it would give hope to 83 million vulnerable Nigerians.

 

He stated that the critical areas of change were in nomenclature, from NHIS to NHIA, and that the organization's goal should be to promote, regulate, and integrate.


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Nearly 1 million children in London offered polio boosters after virus is detected in sewa

Nearly 1 million children in London to be offered polio boosters after virus is detected in sewage

Following the discovery of poliovirus in sewage in the British capital, children in London will be given an extra dose of the polio vaccine, health officials announced Wednesday.

 

According to the UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, all children between the ages of one and nine in all London boroughs should receive a targeted inactivated polio vaccine booster dose.

 

"This will ensure a high level of paralysis protection and help reduce further virus spread," said the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) in a statement announcing the move.

 

According to the most recent data from the UK Office for National Statistics, approximately 1 million children of that age live in the London region.

For more, click here.

Man dies after being buried alive on beach as passer-by sees feet poking out of sand.jpg

Man dies after being buried alive on beach as passer-by sees feet poking out of sand

A man died after a sand dune collapsed on him while he was enjoying the sunrise, police said.


According to the Sheriff's Office, a passer-by walking along Rock beach in Martin County, in the Treasure Coast region of Florida, in the United States, on Sunday around 9 a.m. made a horrifying discovery when they saw feet poking out of the sand.

 

Firefighters arrived on the scene and later removed the body, which was identified as 35-year-old Sean Nagel.

 

"I am grief-stricken and still in disbelief to tell you all that my younger brother Sean Alexander Nagel is no longer with us on this Earth," his brother Will Nagel wrote on Facebook.


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Tuesday's Health News in Snippets

09/AUG/2022

'Junk' genes could be causing cell mutations that lead to cancer, study claims.jpg

'Junk' genes could be causing cell mutations that lead to cancer, study claims

Large sections of our DNA that were previously thought to be harmless and inert may now be interfering with DNA replication and causing cell mutations that lead to cancer, according to a new study from the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR).

 

At least half of the genetic code in a strand of our DNA is thought to be "junk" genetic material that contains no useful information. This useless DNA has been shown to obstruct and disrupt the genetic copying that occurs when our cells multiply, potentially resulting in mutations and, eventually, cancer.

 

Though problems with DNA replication have previously been proposed as a cause of mutation, the mechanism by which this occurs was unknown. Understanding this mechanism, according to Professor Kristian Helin, Chief Executive of the ICR, opens the door to a new range of cancer treatments.

For more, click here.

UK nurses will start voting on their first ever strike in protest at NHS pay.jpg

UK nurses will start voting on their first ever strike in protest at NHS pay

Within weeks, UK NHS nurses will vote on whether to strike, in what their main trade union calls a "defining moment" for the profession.

 

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has announced that it will recommend that hundreds of thousands of its members vote in favour of strike action in a ballot that will open in mid-September.

 

The nursing union has been more adamant about pay than other trade unions representing NHS workers, and it is thought to be the most likely to strike.

 

The college has called for a 5% pay increase above RPI inflation, which is currently 11.8%.

 

If its members vote to strike, it will be the first strike ever by RCN members in England or Wales.

 

The RCN also announced that it has increased its industrial action strike fund to £50 million, up from £35 million, to compensate for lost wages during strikes.

For more, click here.

Cambodia to deport Nigerian man with monkeypox - report.jpg

Cambodia to deport Nigerian man with monkeypox - report

According to the privately owned Nigerian daily The Nation, Cambodia plans to deport a Nigerian man who tested positive for monkeypox while in neighbouring Thailand and then entered Cambodia last month.

 

According to Cambodian officials, the 27-year-old male patient is being treated in hospital and will be deported after recovery and barred from re-entering Cambodia for three years.

 

If the case proceeds, it will be the first time someone has been deported to Nigeria because of their monkeypox status.

 

According to Thai officials, the man was not admitted to a hospital before leaving the country because his condition was not considered serious.


For more, click here.

Monday's Health News in Snippets

08/AUG/2022

US declares Monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency.jpeg

US declares Monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency

Following an increase in cases, the US government declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency last week.

 

The decision will expedite the distribution of vaccines, treatments, and federal resources to combat the virus's spread.

 

It comes less than a fortnight after the World Health Organization (WHO) issued its highest level of emergency response in response to a worldwide increase in cases.

 

According to health officials, the number of cases in the United States has surpassed 6,600.

 

A quarter of these cases have been reported in New York, which declared its own state of emergency last two weeks due to the disease.

 

California and Illinois, the states with the next highest caseloads, declared states of emergency earlier last week.

 

According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 26,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide this year.

For more, click here.

Man killed at Highland Games after hammer thrown over fence hits him in head.jpg

Man killed at Highland Games after hammer thrown over fence hits him in head

On Sunday, a man was tragically killed in a freak hammer-throwing accident at a Highland Games event in the Netherlands.

 

The 65-year-old victim, according to witnesses, was not a spectator at the Open Highland Games, which were held at Geldrop Castle. He was reportedly walking through the castle gardens when the unseen 22-pound metal ball was accidentally thrown over the hedge in competition, killing him instantly.

 

Although emergency personnel, including a trauma helicopter, rushed to the scene, the victim was unable to be saved.

 

The event was quickly suspended after the incident, which was witnessed by spectators. According to reports, the athlete who threw the fatal hammer was experienced and a "top player who had previously participated in big competitions."

For more, click here.

US Senate pass historic health care and climate bill.jpg

US Senate pass historic health care and climate bill

The Senate passed Democrats' $750 billion health-care, tax-cut, and climate-change legislation on Sunday afternoon, giving President Joe Biden and his party a significant victory.

 

The final vote was 51-50 along party lines, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie. The package is the result of lengthy negotiations, and its final approval would provide Democrats with an opportunity to achieve major policy goals ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.

 

The bill must be approved by the Democratic-controlled House, which is expected to take up the legislation on Friday, August 12, before Biden can sign it into law.

 

The sweeping bill, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, would represent the largest climate investment in US history, as well as significant changes to health policy, such as giving Medicare the ability to negotiate the prices of certain prescription drugs for the first time and extending expiring health care subsidies for three years.

For more, click here.

Life expectancy in Africa rises by 10 years, says WHO.jpg

Life expectancy in Africa rises by 10 years, says WHO  

According to the World Health Organisation assessment report, healthy life expectancy in Africa increased by ten years between 2000 and 2019.

 

The World Health Organisation said this rise is greater in Africa than in any other region of the world during the same time period.

 

According to the report Tracking Universal Health Coverage in the WHO African Region 2022, healthy life expectancy - or the number of years an individual is in good health - increased to 56 years in 2019, up from 46 in 2000.

 

This is still lower than the global average of 64 for the same time period.

 

However, the report noted an improvement in overall health-care services.

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Desperate Brits sticking teeth to gums with glue as 91% of NHS dentists snub new patients.

Desperate Brits sticking teeth to gums with glue as 91% of NHS dentists snub new patients

As 91% of NHS dentists reject new patients, desperate Brits have been making fake teeth out of resin and supergluing them to their own gums, an expert warned today.

 

People pulling out their own teeth is another shocking "DIY dentistry" story.

 

They emerged as industry leaders warned that the industry is approaching a "tipping point," with even children being turned away from new sign-ups.

 

In England, children and some benefit claimants are entitled to free dental care.

 

Costs for those who pay should be limited to three bands: £23.80 for check-ups, £65.20 for fillings, and £282.80 for crowns, dentures and bridges.

 

However, according to a survey conducted by the British Dental Association (BDA) and the BBC, 91% of NHS practises in England were not accepting new adult patients – 4,933 out of the 5,416 who responded.

 

In the East Midlands, it rose to 97%, and in the South West, North West, and Yorkshire and the Humber, it reached 98%. Scotland had 82%, Northern Ireland had 90%, and Wales had 93%.


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