‘Cancer sniffing’ knife designed

Cancer surgery: Tumour ‘sniffing’ surgical knife designed

James Gallagher demonstrates the iKnife

An “intelligent” knife which can sniff out tumours to enhance cancer surgery was developed by scientists.

The Imperial College London team hope to triumph over the damaging and customary problem of leaving bits of the tumour in a patient, which may then regrow.

Early results, within the journal Science Translational Medicine, showed the “iKnife” could accurately identify cancerous tissue prompt.

It is now being tested in clinical trials to determine if it saves lives.

To avoid leaving cancerous tissue behind, surgeons also remove surrounding tissue.

They may send samples off for testing while the patient remains in theatre, but this takes time.

Yet one in five patients who’ve a breast lump removed still want a second operation to clear their tumour. For lung cancer the figure is set one in 10.

New tool

The team at Imperial College London modified a surgical knife that uses heat to chop through tissue.

It is already utilized in hospitals around the globe, however the surgeons can now analyse the smoke given off when the new blade burns through tissue.

The smoke is sucked right into a hi-tech “nose” called a mass spectrometer. It detects the sophisticated differences between the smoke of cancerous and healthy tissue.

This information is accessible to the surgeon within seconds.

Tests on 91 patients showed that the knife could accurately tell what sort of tissue it was cutting and if it was cancerous.

Dr Zoltan Takats, who invented the system at Imperial, said: “These results provide compelling evidence that the iKnife could be applied in a variety of cancer surgery procedures.

“It provides a result almost instantly, allowing surgeons to hold out procedures with a degree of accuracy that hasn’t been possible before.

“We believe it has the prospective to lessen tumour recurrence rates and enable more patients to outlive.”

Trials at the moment are occurring at three hospitals in London – St Mary’s, Hammersmith and Charing Cross.

Prof Jeremy Nicholson, head of the dep. of surgery and cancer at Imperial College London, said: “This can be a part of what we call precision medicine, we’re attempting to change the realm by very aggressively translating scientific discovery in to the NHS.”

Surgeon Dr Emma King, of Cancer Research UK, said: “The iKnife is a thrilling development to lead cancer surgeons during operations.

“If its usefulness is supported in further clinical trials, it can potentially reduce the time spent in theatre for lots of patients.”

Bad sleep ‘dramatically’ alters body

Bad sleep ‘dramatically’ alters body


A run of poor sleep could have a potentially profound effect at the internal workings of the human body, say UK researchers.

The activity of hundreds of genes was altered when people’s sleep was cut to lower than six hours an afternoon for every week.

Writing within the journal PNAS, the researchers said the consequences helped explain how poor sleep damaged health.

Heart disease, diabetes, obesity and poor brain function have all been associated with substandard sleep.

What missing hours in bed actually does to change health, however, is unknown.

So researchers on the University of Surrey analysed the blood of 26 people when they had had lots of sleep, as much as 10 hours each night for per week, and compared the consequences with samples after every week of fewer than six hours an evening.

More than 700 genes were altered by the shift. Each contains the instructions for building a protein, so people who became more active produced more proteins – changing the chemistry of the body.

Meanwhile the natural body clock was disturbed – some genes naturally wax and wane in activity during the day, but this effect was dulled by sleep deprivation.

Prof Colin Smith, from the University of Surrey, told the BBC: “There has been quite a dramatic change in activity in lots of other forms of genes.”

Areas similar to the immune system and the way the body responds to break and stress were affected.

Prof Smith added: “Clearly sleep is important to rebuilding the body and maintaining a functional state, all types of harm seem to occur – hinting at what could lead on to ill health.

“If we won’t actually replenish and replace new cells, then that’s going to guide to degenerative diseases.”

He said nearly all people might be much more sleep deprived of their daily lives than those within the study – suggesting these changes can be common.

Dr Akhilesh Reddy, a expert within the body clock on the University of Cambridge, said the study was “interesting”.

He said the major findings were the consequences on inflammation and the immune system because it was possible to work out a link between those effects and illnesses reminiscent of diabetes.

The findings also tie into research trying to cast off sleep, including by finding a drug that may eliminate the consequences of sleep deprivation.

Dr Reddy said: “We do not know what the switch is that causes most of these changes, but theoretically in case you could switch it on or off, you are ready to break out without sleep.

“But my feeling is that sleep is fundamentally important to regenerating all cells.”

Minimum alcohol price plan shelved

Minimum alcohol pricing plan shelved

Multi-buy deals are not banned, the govt says

The government has shelved plans to introduce a minimum price for a unit of alcohol in England and Wales.

Minister Jeremy Browne said the policy would remain “into consideration” but there have been fears the change would hit responsible drinkers.

A ban on multi-buy promotions have been rejected but sales isn’t allowed below the price of alcohol duty and VAT.

Labour said the govt. had done a U-activate a flagship policy that both the PM and residential secretary had backed.

Mr Browne said problem drinking turned towns and cities into effective “no-go areas” for a lot of people, was seen as instrumental in lots of violent attacks and value the taxpayer £21bn a year in crime and health issues.

‘Concrete evidence’

But he said there has been not enough “concrete evidence” minimum pricing could reduce the damaging effects of problem drinking without hurting people who drank responsibly.

“We aren’t within the business of creating laws that don’t work. We consulted on it and we heard what people say,” he said, mentioning that 34% of these who responded backed a 45p minimum unit price but 56% had disagreed.

Multi-buy promotions in shops, consisting of two-for-one deals, may even not be banned as, Mr Browne said, there has been not enough evidence it’s going to have a big effect on how much people were drinking “at a time when responsible families are attempting hard to balance their household budgets”.

As portion of a much wider option to manage heavy drinking, he said there could be tougher action on “irresponsible promotions” in pubs and clubs and the alcohol industry would have to do more to teach people about safer drinking and on responsible marketing and product placement.

And Mr Browne said banning sales of alcohol below the price of duty and VAT would mean a can of lager couldn’t be sold for under about 40p from spring 2014.

However, Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston, a GP, said that will have an “absolutely meaningless impact” and doctors would see the call to not introduce a minimum price as removing the only tool which could help them reduce avoidable liver disease deaths.

For Labour, shadow minister Diana Johnson accused the federal government of “performing a U-activate their flagship policy”.

She said the consultation had never been about whether to introduce minimum unit pricing – it was about what level it’s going to be set at.

Crosby row

She quoted David Cameron, who had said the policy wouldn’t be “universally popular” but being in government wasn’t “always about doing the well-liked thing”.

Ms Johnson said: “If it was the correct thing to do then, why isn’t it the correct thing to do now?”

She said Labour had felt there have been some issues that needed to be addressed – particularly its compatibility with EU law and concerns it will possibly bring about a “windfall for supermarkets”. But she said the party had offered to work with ministers to conquer these obstacles.

She said research suggested a ban at the sale of alcohol below cost would raise the cost of not up to 1% of alcohol sold in shops.

Labour has suggested the government’s decision to shelve plans for plain cigarette packaging will also be associated with their election strategist Lynton Crosby – something denied by David Cameron.

But Ms Johnson said: “Needless to say, now, Lynton Crosby has ordered a U-turn … and minimum pricing together with many of the remainder of the alcohol strategy in addition to other important public health measures were scrapped.”

However Mr Cameron said on Wednesday the choice were made “by me as prime minister, consulting my cabinet colleagues” – citing concerns over evidence it will work and possible legal challenges.

He said the assumption “has merit” and will be returned to in future, once there has been more evidence and more certainty about potential legal challenges.

MSPs passed legislation to herald minimum pricing in Scotland last year, setting a 50p unit price however the law isn’t implemented until legal proceedings, brought by the Scottish Whisky Association, are complete.

Northern Ireland is yet to lay forward a particular proposal, even though it is reviewing pricing.

The Salvation Army said it was disappointed on the decision. Spokesman Gareth Wallace said: “By reneging on its commitment, the govt is popping its back at the most vulnerable people in society. “

Prof Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, said the govt. had “caved in to lobbying from big business and reneged on its commitment to tackle alcohol sold at pocket-money prices”.

But the call was welcomed by the drinks industry body the Portman Group. A representative said: “Through a sequence of voluntary pledges aimed toward improving public health, the industry has proven itself to be committed and willing partners and welcomes the chance to continue this successful approach.”

Dementia in care homes ‘more common’

Dementia ‘affects 80% of care home residents’

The collection of those with dementia is at the rise

More than 320,000 of the 400,000 people living in care homes in England, Wales and northerly Ireland now have dementia or severe memory problems, the Alzheimer’s Society charity estimates.

It said the figure was almost 30% higher than previous estimates due to the rise within the ageing population and enhancements in data collection.

Of 2,000 adults surveyed, 70% said they’d be scared about going to a house.

Another two-thirds felt the arena was not doing enough to tackle abuse.

And just 41% of one,100 relatives and carers surveyed thought their loved ones’ quality of life was good.

Alzheimer’s Society chief executive Jeremy Hughes said: “Society has such low expectation of care homes that folk are settling for average.

“Throughout our lives we demand the finest for ourselves and our kids. Why will we expect less for our parents?

“We want government and care homes to interact to boost up expectations so people know they have got the correct to demand the precise.”

David Rogers, of the Local Government Association, which represents councils, said: “This report shows the shortage of confidence in a care system that is buckling under the burden of rapidly growing demand and years of underfunding.

“Local authorities like to offer a service which works beyond a basic level of care but here is becoming increasingly difficult as our population ages, costs climb and the already significant funding shortfall becomes much more severe.”

Around one in three people over the age of 65 will develop dementia of their lifetime.

It is estimated that there are around 800,000 people within the UK who’ve dementia, but many haven’t yet been diagnosed.

The variety of individuals with dementia is increasing because individuals are living longer.

By 2021 the selection of people within the UK with dementia can have risen to nearly 950,000, experts believe.

The government is calling to enhance dementia care by building greater awareness and understanding of the condition, in addition to pumping more cash into research to locate new treatments and hopefully a cure.

In October 2012, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced dedicated funding of as much as £50m to NHS trusts and native authorities to assist tailor hospitals and care homes to the purposes of individuals with dementia.

There are around 20,000 care homes inside the UK.

Heatwave sparks rise in A&E patients

Heatwave sparks rise in accidents and A&E visits, say medics

People are advised to bypass the midday sun, drink quite a few water and use sun cream

The collection of people suffering sunstroke, sunburn and heatwave-related injuries is stretching hospital emergency departments, say doctors.

Others injuries include toes amputated on account of gardening accidents to people hurt in falls as more exit and about.

Chief medical officer Dr Ruth Hussey urged caution before visiting A&E units saying medics faced increased pressure.

Weather forecasters say the new weather is predicted to continue for the subsequent several days.

‘Don’t blame them’

Staff on the Centre for Burns and Cosmetic surgery in Swansea, say they’re receiving more patients from hospitals around Wales because of the prolonged warm weather.

Welsh Water and the emergency services are advising people to not swim in reservoirs following two deaths in separate incidents at Pontsticill and Cantref reservoirs within the Brecon Beacons in Powys on the weekend.

On Wednesday, a guy was flown to hospital in a major condition after being rescued from a river near Wrexham.

And and inquiry continues into two soldiers who died during SAS selection training inside the Brecon Beacons on Saturday, with a 3rd serviceman seriously ill.

The Welsh Blood Service says that is facing low supplies with donors which they put all the way down to people enjoying the sun as opposed to giving blood.

“We do not blame them, however the demand for blood is one year a year,” said spokeswoman Kate Hammond.

Casualty departments at north Wales’ three acute hospitals – Ysbyty Gwynedd Bangor, Glan Clwyd at Bodelwyddan and Wrexham Maelor – have issued advice online saying they’ve seen an increase in people suffering with dehydration, sunburn and related conditions.

In south Wales, the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend and Swansea’s Morriston Hospital, where the Centre for Burns and Cosmetic surgery is predicated, say emergency medics have completed severe trauma surgery on gardeners, including amputations, on feet and toes after accidents involving lawn mowers.

A&E units won’t not the most productive place to regard sunburn, say medical staff

And they report seeing higher than normal numbers of older patients admitted with hip fractures after falling in addition to an increase within the selection of ankle injuries suffered by walkers.

Welsh Water maintains greater than 80 reservoirs across Wales and says swimming in reservoirs may be extremely dangerous.

Lauren Jennings, 22 from Merthyr Tydfil, lost one in all her best friends while swimming in a reservoir in 2006.

She said she didn’t realise how important the messages were until it was too late.

“As a fifteen year old, you simply think you’re invincible and that it wouldn’t happen to me or any folks,” she said.

“i would like to do all i will to make certain people realise that whatever how beautiful the reservoirs look, the truth is that they are very dangerous.”

Wales’ chief medical officer Dr Ruth Hussey said it was important to remember the dangers of an excessive amount of exposure to the sun and warmth, and to take precautions.

“With the increased pressures on A&E in the course of the warm weather, it’s important that the general public play their part in assisting the emergency care services by considering whether or not they may well be treated with support from NHS Direct Wales, a pharmacist or through primary care services,” she said.

On Tuesday, a helicopter was also brought in to drop water directly to an outsized mountain fire at Rhigos near Hirwaun in Rhondda.

Ban smoking in cars, says minister

Ban smoking in cars, says health minister

Health campaigners had been calling for a ban on smoking in cars

Smoking have to be banned in cars carrying children, says England’s public health minister.

Anna Soubry said her personal view was that it was justified on “child welfare” grounds.

Several health groups have called for the move, however it was resisted thus far by the govt.

The prime minister has said while he supports the smoking ban in pubs and clubs, he’s “more nervous” about legislating what happens in cars.

At the Local Government Association’s annual public health conference, Ms Soubry said: “i might ban smoking in cars where children are present.

“i’d do this for the security of youngsters. i think in protecting children. i’d see it as a toddler welfare issue.

“i believe it can be something we should always as a minimum consider as government.”

Ms Soubry, who’s a former smoker herself, made it clear to the audience she was expressing her own views.

This isn’t the first time she has spoken out while she was a minister. In January, she found herself within the headlines for comments about children from poor backgrounds being prone to be obese.

She has also described the present laws on assisted dying as “appalling”.

Respiratory illness

While the federal government shouldn’t be considering a ban currently, it has run marketing campaigns aimed toward encouraging people to not smoke within the presence in their children at home or in cars.

A survey by the dept of Health last year found that multiple in five smokers lit up in front in their children in the house or in cars.

Children are particularly susceptible to second-hand smoke by reason of their higher breathing rate, and fewer well-developed airways, lungs and immune system.

Those exposed are more susceptible to respiratory illnesses, asthma, meningitis or even cot death.

Research shows that 300,000 children within the UK visit their GP every year as a result of second-hand smoke, with some 9,500 visiting hospital.

Martin Dockrell, director of policy and research on the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health, said: “The minister can anticipate our support and the vast majority of the general public. A ban on smoking in cars is the appropriate thing to do.

“We have to take into account whether this could just be geared toward children. Older adults are vulnerable too.”

A host of alternative health groups have also referred to as for a ban in cars, including the British Medical Association and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

In Wales, ministers have said they’re going to look to prohibit smoking in cars if their current drive to minimize smoking doesn’t work.

Bans have already been introduced in other parts of the sector.

Some parts of Canada, the u. s. and Australia in addition to the full of South Africa have introduced legislation.

MS hope from ‘off-the-shelf’ drugs

MS hope from ‘off-the-shelf’ drugs

MS may cause issues of walking and balance

Existing drugs for motor neurone disease, asthma and heart disease are being tested as possible treatments for advanced multiple sclerosis (MS).

About 500 those with late-stage MS are to enrol in clinical trials in England and Scotland to peer if three common drugs can slow disease progression.

Research suggests the medicines may protect the brain from further damage.

There is currently no treatment for secondary progressive MS, a kind of the disease marked by increased disability.

About 100,000 individuals are living with MS within the UK. Symptoms include issues of walking, balance, speech, vision and extreme fatigue.

Treatments are available in to aid with relapses and symptoms of MS in the course of the early stages of the disease. However, despite clinical trials, scientists have up to now did not discover a medicine that works within the late stages of MS.

Now, after reviewing published data on drugs that would help protect nerves within the brain, UK researchers are specializing in three drugs which are licensed for other conditions.

The three drugs are amiloride – currently licensed to regard heart disease and hypertension; ibudilast – an asthma drug utilized in Japan – ; and riluzole, the only treatment for motor neurone disease.

All have shown some promise as a treatment for MS in small-scale trials.

Participants within the larger trials in London, Edinburgh and 13 other sites within the UK may be monitored for signs of progression of MS with scans and other clinical tests.

Dr Jeremy Chataway is consultant neurologist at University College London, so one can perform the London study.

He said the medication selected are the foremost promising candidates for testing to determine in the event that they have an impact in slowing the progression of MS.

He told BBC News: “There isn’t a treatment for secondary progressive MS. This can be a judicious and scientific way of having a pipeline of substances in order that we will someday get a treatment that works.”

Patients entering the trial would be given brain scans at the start and end of both-year study to work out whether the medicine affect slowing down brain tissue loss.

“We are hoping a minimum of such a drugs will show that it significantly reduces the velocity of brain loss – we’re hoping for 30% or 40% reduction,” he added.

Step forward

The MS-SMART trial, because it is legendary, will test the 3 drugs against a dummy treatment (placebo) in 440 those with secondary progressive MS.

Dr Susan Kohlhaas, head of biomedical research on the MS society, said: “Individuals with MS have lived for years in hope that someday we shall find a good treatment for secondary progressive MS; this trial, although still early stage, takes us one step toward make that hope a reality.”

Commenting at the option to the research, Prof Jayne Lawrence, chief science adviser for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said finding new medical uses for existing drugs offered hope to patients.

Aspirin, for instance, had found many therapeutic uses – as a painkiller and in preventing strokes and heart disease, she said.

“It’s becoming even more popular now since it costs loads to develop a [new] drug. In any case you have a concept of what the toxicity is so that you can reduce the time it takes to develop the drug.”

The research is funded by the Medical Research Council and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

More information at the study are located at MS-SMART Trial – Home