How the alcohol industry mislead the public about alcohol and cancer

Alcohol consumption increases the risk of several types of cancer, including several common cancers | Drug and Alcohol Review

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As part of their corporate social responsibility activities, the alcohol industry (AI) disseminates information about alcohol and cancer. We examined the information on this which the AI disseminates to the public through its ‘social aspects and public relations organizations’ and related bodies. The aim of the study was to determine its comprehensiveness and accuracy.

Most of the organisations were found to disseminate misrepresentations of the evidence about the association between alcohol and cancer. Three main industry strategies were identified:

  1.  denial/omission: denying, omitting or disputing the evidence that alcohol consumption increases cancer risk.
  2. distortion: mentioning cancer, but misrepresenting the risk.
  3. distraction: focussing discussion away from the independent effects of alcohol on common cancers. Breast cancer and colorectal cancer appeared to be a particular focus for this misrepresentation.

Full reference: Petticrew, M. et al. (2017) How alcohol industry organisations mislead the public about alcohol and cancer. Drug and Alcohol Review. Published online: 7 Septmeber 2017

Day in the life of a General Practice Nurse

Health Education England today launches a short film showcasing a day in the life of a general practice nurse | HEE

The film shows the depth and breadth of activities a general practice nurse can get involved with in a regular day.

This has been developed as part of the General Practice Nursing Workforce Development Plan to help promote the importance of expanding and developing the general practice nursing workforce.

Targeted at pre-registration student nurses and those that want to transition into general practice from other areas – have a look at the HEE website to find out if this could be the career for you.

Find the full overview here

Sepsis: Raising awareness

Sepsis is a serious complication triggered by an infection, and it can lead to multiple organ failure and death if not treated quickly.

Sepsis kills 44,000 people in the UK each year but many people have never heard of it. They certainly don’t know how to spot the signs and symptoms. We can all help prevent sepsis deaths if we’re aware of early symptoms in adults & older children and can get people treated immediately:

  • High temperature (fever) or low body temperature
  • Chills and shivering
  • Severe breathlessness
  • Confusion or slurred speech
  • Pale or mottled skin

In support their educational programmes to improve knowledge and management of sepsis, the UK Sepsis Trust and NHS England have developed ‘The Sepsis Game’ which helps health professionals learn how to spot and treat sepsis quickly and effectively.

The game is based around the Sepsis Six care bundle and supports the Survive Sepsis training programme. A simplified online version of the Sepsis Game  can be tried here.

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Image source: http://www.sepsisgame.com/

Cayenne pepper in a meal: Effects on wellbeing, satiety & energy levels

The present study investigated appetite sensations, hedonics, sensory specific desires, physical- and psychological well-being sensations during and after intake of a meal with- and without increased oral heat induced by addition of cayenne pepper | Food Quality and Preference

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Highlights

  • Adding cayenne pepper to a soup meal increased satiation by the end of the meal.
  • Adding cayenne pepper decreased hunger and increased satiety 1 h post intake.
  • Adding cayenne pepper lowered desire for salt and increased desire for sweet and fat.
  • Participants felt more energetic 1 h post intake of a meal added cayenne pepper.

Full reference: Andersen, B.V. et al (2017) Cayenne pepper in a meal: Effect of oral heat on feelings of appetite, sensory specific desires and well-being. Food Quality and Preference. Vol. 60 (September ) pp. 1-8

Change in loneliness after intervention with cochlear implants or hearing aids

The aim of the study was to investigate the impact of hearing aid (HA) and cochlear implant (CI) use on loneliness in adults| The Laryngoscope

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Image source: Joonas Tikkanen – Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

One hundred and thirteen adults, aged ≥ 50 years, with postlingual hearing loss and receiving routine clinical care at a tertiary academic medical center, were evaluated with the University of California at Los Angeles Loneliness Scale before and 6 and 12 months after intervention with HAs or CIs. Change in score was assessed using linear mixed effect models adjusted for age; gender; education; and history of hypertension, diabetes, and smoking.

Treatment of hearing loss with CIs results in a significant reduction in loneliness symptoms. This improvement was not observed with HAs. We observed differential effects of treatment depending on the baseline loneliness score, with the greatest improvements observed in individuals with the most loneliness symptoms at baseline.

Full reference: Contrera, K.J. et al. (2017) Change in loneliness after intervention with cochlear implants or hearing aids. The Laryngoscope. Vol. 127 (Issue 8) pp. 1885–1889

New device accurately identifies cancer in seconds

Handheld device can identify cancerous tissue in 10 seconds, with 96% accuracy. | story via ScienceDaily

A team of scientists at The University of Texas has invented a handheld device that quickly and accurately identifies cancerous tissue during surgery, delivering results in about 10 seconds. The MasSpec Pen is a handheld instrument that gives surgeons precise diagnostic information about what tissue to cut or preserve, helping improve treatment and reduce the chances of cancer recurrence.

In tests on tissues removed from 253 human cancer patients, the MasSpec Pen took about 10 seconds to provide a diagnosis and was more than 96 percent accurate. The technology was also able to detect cancer in marginal regions between normal and cancer tissues that presented mixed cellular composition. The team expects to start testing this new technology during oncologic surgeries in 2018.

Full story at ScienceDaily

See also: BBC News: ‘Pen’ identifies cancer in 10 seconds

Full reference: Zhang, J. et al. Nondestructive tissue analysis for ex vivo and in vivo cancer diagnosis using a handheld mass spectrometry system  Science Translational Medicine 06 Sep 2017: Vol. 9, Issue 406

 

‘Upselling’ adding to the UK obesity crisis

Published by the Royal Society for Public Health and Slimming World, ‘Size Matters’ reveals that the average person consumes an additional 330 calories each week as a result of businesses upselling high calorie food and drink

This report, which includes a survey of 2,055 UK adults, shows that consumers face an average of 106 verbal pushes towards unhealthy choices each year as they are asked whether they would like to upgrade to larger meals and drinks, add high calorie toppings or sides to their order or take advantage of special offers on unhealthy food and drink.

It reveals that, in the course of a week, upselling techniques used by businesses resulted in 34% of people buying a larger coffee than intended, 33% upgrading to a large meal in a fast food restaurant, 36% buying chocolate at the till at a newsagents or petrol station and 35% adding chips or onion rings to the side of their pub or restaurant meal.

The findings showed that young people are even more likely to be exposed to upselling, with 18-24 year-olds experiencing it 166 times each year – nearly every other day – and going on to consume an extra 750 calories per week as a result. This could lead to an estimated weight gain of 11lbs (5kg) over the course of a year.

 

Full report: Size matters: the impact of upselling on weight gain. | The Royal Society for Public Health | Slimming World

See also: BBC News: Public ‘tricked’ into buying unhealthy food 

Pharmacy: a way forward for public health

This document sets out a range of opportunities for pharmacy teams working in communities, and through their daily interactions with patients and the public, to play an important role in protecting and improving the health of the nation. | Public Health England

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Image source: Corbin Keech – Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Community pharmacy teams play a pivotal role as a community and health asset in communities. Making healthy choices such as stopping smoking, improving diet and nutrition, increasing physical activity, losing weight and reducing alcohol consumption through pharmacy teams could make a significant contribution to reducing the risk of disease, improving health outcomes for those with long term conditions, reducing premature death and improving mental wellbeing.

This document provides a menu of interventions that could be delivered by pharmacy teams in the primary and community sectors to improve the health and wellbeing of the nation.

Full document: Pharmacy: A way forward for public health opportunities for action through pharmacy for public health.

NHS workforce pressures undermining cancer care : Macmillan poll

More than half of GPs and nurses fear that soaring workload means the NHS workforce is no longer able to provide adequate care to cancer patients, according to polling by charity Macmillan Cancer Support. | story via GP Online

A total of 52% of 250 GPs and nurses polled by the cancer charity said they were not confident that cancer patients could be offered the care they needed given current pressures on the NHS.

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Image source: http://www.macmillan.org.uk

More than a third warned that some cancer patients are going to A&E because treatment is not available in the community. Some 44% of GPs and nurses said cancer was not being picked up as early as it should be and 31% said paitents were not receiving the care they needed after cancer treatment because of pressures on the NHS workforce.

Respondents to the poll cited growing numbers of patients, more complex workloads and growing problems with gaps or vacancies as their top concerns about the healthcare workforce.

Full report: From the frontline: Workforce pressures in the NHS

See also: Macmillan press release

Read the full story at GP Online

 

Improving quality of care through partnerships and collaboration

Partnerships for improvement: ingredients for success | The Health Foundation

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The idea of partnerships and collaboration across organisational boundaries is at the heart of NHS reforms in England. This briefing from the Health Foundation looks at what makes successful partnerships between providers at an organisational level, providing a snapshot of some of the key ingredients needed for successful partnerships.

The report looks at a range of current organisational partnerships focusing on five different partnering arrangements. It also includes interviews with national leaders, and draws learning to help inform and guide policymakers and providers.

The report finds that partnering does have potential benefits, but these are not easy or quick to achieve. To have a meaningful impact on the quality of care, the right form of partnering needs to be used in the right context and it needs to be accompanied by the right set of enabling factors – as described by the report.

Full briefing: Partnerships for improvement: ingredients for success

Related: Health Foundation blog: Is together always better? How good are NHS organisations and the wider system at achieving the potential benefits of partnering?