Watching England at the world cup ‘good for your nerves’ claims NHS doctor

NHS England | July 2018 | Watching England at the world cup ‘good for your nerves’ claims NHS doctor

A senior NHS doctor NHS England Clinical Director for Dementia, Alistair Burns, has emphasised the benefits of watching football to our well-being.  The NHS director  said: “Although fans may not feel it this week, football can be good for your nerves.  The beautiful game really can help your mind and body.” 

“As well as being great physical exercise, there is a positive link between watching classic football matches and keeping the mind active. For people in old age and dealing with dementia, rewatching matches can rekindle past memories, connect people with their past and keep the brain active.

According to the Clinical Director for Dementia  sport can stimulate emotion which can be revived many years after the event. Emotional memory, which is one of two main types of memory in the human brain, can be more powerful than memory for personal events, so as people in later life relive exciting or tense moments, this can stimulate memories, potentially strengthening brain activity.

Across the UK, 850,000 people are estimated to live with dementia, while mental ill health affects almost eight million people aged over 55. A survey last year from Age UK showed that conditions like depression and anxiety affect over half of people aged over 55 – nearly eight million people – with one in five of these people saying that their condition deteriorates as they get older.

(Source: NHS England)
The news item is available to read in full from NHS England

Mental health patients report poorer hospital experiences

Young people and those with mental health problems experience a poorer than average inpatient experience, new data shows | Adult inpatient survey 2017 | Care Quality Commission | via OnMedica

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The majority of people who stayed as an inpatient in hospital were happy with the care they received, had confidence in the doctors and nurses treating them and had a better overall experience, according to a national survey from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

However, for a second year running, responses were less positive across most areas for patients with a mental health condition. Those with mental health conditions said they had less confidence and trust in hospital staff, thought they were treated with less respect and dignity and felt less informed about their care. These patients gave lower than average scores in relation to whether their needs, values and preferences were fully considered, and for the quality of the coordination and integration of their care.

The survey asked people to give their opinions on the care they received, including quality of information and communication with staff, whether they were given enough privacy, the amount of support given to help them eat and drink and assist with personal hygiene, and on their discharge arrangements.

For more information, please see the Adult inpatient survey 2017: Statistical release, which provides the results for all questions and contextual policy information.

Almost half of GP consultations ‘now includes a mental health issue’

Pulse | June 2018 | Almost half of GP consultations ‘now includes a mental health issue’

A recent survey of GPs (n=1000) by mental health charity Mind,  found that two-thirds of GPs had experienced an increase in patients needing help with their mental health during the last year.  The findings have compelled health leaders from the BMA, the RCGP and mental health charity Mind to write an open letter to Health Education England renewing calls for GP training to be extended from three to four years


Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair, said: ‘GPs want to offer the best possible care to their patients and are working hard to do so, despite the challenges created by a decade of underfunding. At the same time, the number of patients needing help with mental health problems is increasing.

‘We not only need greater investment in community-based training to give GPs more opportunity to develop their skills but also a significant increase in mental health therapists directly linked to practices. This would reduce the unacceptable delays many patients currently face getting access to the care they need.

The full article is available from Pulse 

Transforming care: the challenges and solutions

Voluntary Organisations Disability Group | June 2018 | Transforming care- the challenges and solutions

VODG (Voluntary Organisations Disability Group), have produced a report that identifies the learning from the Provider Taskforce’s project.  The primary aim of the pilot was to develop support assessment and proposals for 27 people originally from London who have been in inpatient settings for longer than five years.

Transforming care
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This report sets out the work carried out, the learning and recommendations for
next steps both in London and nationally.  Its purpose is to share learning. It is not a formal evaluation, nor a proposition for the provision of services, but offers insight into the challenges and solutions in delivering the “transforming care” agenda. VODG acknowledges that there are improvements that need to be made across the system, including for community-based providers (Source: VODG).

Adverse childhood experiences

The Department of Health and Social Care has published the following documents:

Physical health of people with mental illness

Equally well: A new collaborative to support the physical health of people with a mental illness | story via Centre for Mental Health

A major new initiative to tackle one of the biggest health inequalities has been launched by Centre for Mental Health, Kaleidoscope Health and Care and Rethink Mental Illness in collaboration with more than 20 professional organisations, charities and health service bodies across the country.

Equally Well UK is a new collaborative to bring together organisations with a part to play in reducing the 15-20 year life expectancy gap facing people with a severe mental illness in Britain today. Based on a similar scheme running in New Zealand, Equally Well UK brings together organisations involved in mental health and physical health in a common effort to reduce the health gap.

Equally Well UK is already supported by major national bodies including NHS England, Health Education England, the Royal College of GPs, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Public Health England, Mind, the National Survivor and User Network and NHS Improvement.

Full story: Major new initiative seeks to reduce physical health inequalities for people with mental health problems | Centre for Mental Health

See also: The physical health of people with mental health conditions and/or addiction: Evidence update

Gene study identifies cells underlying schizophrenia

UCL | May 2018 | Cell types underlying schizophrenia identified

Historically, genetic studies have linked hundreds of genes to schizophrenia, each contributing a small part to the risk of developing the disease. This has made it difficult to design experiments, as scientists have been struggling to understand what is linking the genes together and whether these genes affect the entire brain diffusely or certain components more than others. Advances in human genetics and single cell transcriptomics have made it possible for disease to be studied in this way.

Now scientists at UCL have been able to combine new maps of all the genes used in different cell types in the brain with detailed lists of the genes associated with schizophrenia, enabling them to identify the types of cells that underlie the disorder (via UCL). 

Co-lead author Professor Patrick Sullivan (Karolinska Institutet and University of North Carolina) added, “One question now is whether these brain cell types are related to the clinical features of schizophrenia. For example, greater dysfunction in one cell type could make treatment response less likely. Dysfunction in a different cell type could increase the chances of long-term cognitive effects. This would have important implications for development of new treatments, as separate drugs may be required for each cell type involved.”

The full news item is available from UCL 

The paper has been published in the journal Nature Genetics

With few exceptions, the marked advances in knowledge about the genetic basis of schizophrenia have not converged on findings that can be confidently used for precise experimental modeling. By applying knowledge of the cellular taxonomy of the brain from single-cell RNA sequencing, we evaluated whether the genomic loci implicated in schizophrenia map onto specific brain cell types. We found that the common-variant genomic results consistently mapped to pyramidal cells, medium spiny neurons (MSNs) and certain interneurons, but far less consistently to embryonic, progenitor or glial cells. These enrichments were due to sets of genes that were specifically expressed in each of these cell types. We also found that many of the diverse gene sets previously associated with schizophrenia (genes involved in synaptic function, those encoding mRNAs that interact with FMRP, antipsychotic targets, etc.) generally implicated the same brain cell types. Our results suggest a parsimonious explanation: the common-variant genetic results for schizophrenia point at a limited set of neurons, and the gene sets point to the same cells. The genetic risk associated with MSNs did not overlap with that of glutamatergic pyramidal cells and interneurons, suggesting that different cell types have biologically distinct roles in schizophrenia.

Full reference:

Skene, N. G. et al.| May 2018 | Genetic identification of brain cell types underlying schizophrenia | Nature Genetics | doi:10.1038/s41588-018-0129-5

The article is available for Rotherham NHS staff to request here