In the news this month:
In Profile – Healthy Eating
Food labelling to promote exercise and scanning children’s brains to tackle obesity
– Return of the dreaded norovirus
– New imaging helps doctors to spot colorectal cancers
– Mobile ‘phones may be hazardous to health!
Sterile services news
– The germs lurking in your makeup bag!
– Happy Christmas from all at Newtons Medical Supplies
News In Profile – scientific approaches to promote healthy eating
Could changing the way we label food make us more aware of the calories?
Christmas may not be the most obvious time of the year to be thinking about healthy eating but in our news in profile section this month we are taking a look at two stories related to healthy eating and specifically about poor food choices which may lead to obesity.
Obesity is a growing health problem in the western world which has been described by some experts as a looming epidemic.
In early December a widely reported story in the media looked at the success (or otherwise) of efforts to help consumers focus on how many calories they are consuming.
Food packaging already contains detailed nutritional information but do consumers really understand it or pay attention to what it is telling them? The latest scientific theory is that including information on the amount of exercise that it would take to burn off the calories in certain foods might make consumers take more notice.
For example it would take a 26 minute walk to burn off the 138 calories in a fizzy drink or 13 minutes of running. The idea is that if people had this type of information, it might make them think twice before overeating or encourage them to do more exercise in order to accommodate certain foods.
A group of researchers led by Professor Amanda Daley from Loughborough University reviewed previous research involving food labelling and concluded that people consumed around 65 calories less per meal when the food was labelled with exercise requirements. This may not seem like much but over time this would lead to a major saving. The calories saved went up to 103 per meal when compared to no label at all.
As the researchers pointed out, many people become obese by constantly eating a little too much at each meal so this sort of labelling could really help. The majority of the research was theoretical or lab based so scientists have pointed out that further real life scenario studies are needed to prove the theory.
Tackling childhood obesity
Of course, many of us would like to know why we have a tendency to overeat in the first place and it could be that this is a habit or practice which is established in childhood.
Scientists at the University of Vermont have carried out MRI scans of three thousand 9 and 10 year old children to try and identify which aspects of their brains could lead to them putting on weight.
They found that children who experience obesity actually have a thinner decision-making region in their brains – their prefrontal cortex. This area helps humans to plan ahead and make decisions.
It was not clear whether the thinning was caused by obesity or whether the thinning was the cause of obesity but either way, once it had occurred, it could lead to children not having the capacity to make healthy food choices.
Children who experienced the thinning were also tested on a sorting task where they didn’t perform as well, confirming that their decision making skills were impeded. This research could provide some clues as to why unhealthy eating habits emerge in early childhood.
Return of the norovirus
We are well into that time of year when nasty winter bugs proliferate. In early December the NHS issued a health warning related to the norovirus (otherwise known as the ‘winter vomiting bug’).
As we have addressed in a number of past blogs, hospitals are places where illness-causing bugs can cause problems, so stopping them from spreading is really important. The NHS has asked people with the sickness bug to stay at home for 48 hours as more than 1000 hospital beds have been closed this year as a direct result of the disease.
Mid November had seen a 28% increase in the number of positive lab test results for the norovirus compared to results during the last 5 years, meaning that the bug is particularly prevalent this winter.
The only real way to tackle the illness is to practice good hand hygiene and if you are unlucky enough to contract it, to rest at home and avoid contact with others – particularly the elderly or those who have compromised immune systems.
Preventing the spread of nasty germs like norovirus
Newtons Medical Supplies offers a number of useful, quality products which medical practitioners and individuals can use to prevent the spread of the norovirus.
Our Clinell Universal Wipes are ideal for surface disinfection and non-invasive medical devices. They have a proven kill rate of 99.999% and are effective against many infections including MRSA, Acinetobacter, VRE, Hepatitis B & C, TB and Norovirus.
You can also promote hand hygiene with our packs of Clinell Antimicrobial Hand Wipes which are individually wrapped and pocket size. They clean and moisturise and contain Aloe Vera.
Available in packs of 100 from our online shop
Winter germs like the norovirus may be hard to avoid but the quality products from Newtons Medical Supplies can certainly help!
New colorectal imaging technology
Colorectal cancer is the most common type of cancer experienced worldwide and is most likely to affect people over 50.
The usual way that it is diagnosed is via a colonoscopy which uses a camera mounted on an endoscope to look at the colon and rectum. The potential problem with this approach is that it relies on a visual inspection so evidence of disease needs to be large enough to be seen on the outer layer of the mucosal lining.
Two medical scientists based at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University, St Louis – Quing Zhu, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Yifeng Zeng, Doctoral Student have used technology to identify a new approach to diagnosing the disease.
Their new method used ‘deep learning’ to look at more than 26000 individual frames from colorectal tissue samples.
The technology uses Optical Coherence technology (OCT) which is a medical technique currently used in ophthalmology to look at the retina of the eye. Healthy tissue and diseased tissue diffract light differently and this is picked up by this method which identifies the different surface patterns of each.
The imaging proved to be 100% accurate at picking up pre or early cancer which can be difficult to spot with the human eye. The next step will be to devise a special catheter to be used with the colonoscopy endoscope to accurately identify tissue patterns.
Mobile phones are bad for your health – in more ways than one!
Medical News Today has reported on the potential health dangers of mobile phone use with a specific focus on head and neck injuries.
Roman Povolotsky from the Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck surgery at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark has published a paper which analysed visits to emergency departments for the different types and frequency of mobile ‘phone injuries. This is an issue which is more common than you may think!
The research looked at injuries which had occurred between 1998 and 2017 using national health databases in the US. By extrapolating the data, scientists were able to estimate that 76043 people had experienced mobile ‘phone related injuries, with a particular emphasis on the age group 13 – 29.
The injuries which had been recorded affected the head, neck and face. They included laceration (26.3%) contusion/abrasion (24.5%) and internal organ injury (18.4%) ouch!
The number of injuries has been increasing over time with our increased use of mobile phones and they are most commonly caused by distraction e.g. texting and walking at the same time.
Scientists have concluded that there should be more public health education to highlight the dangers of this relatively new type of injury. Another good reason to follow your mother’s advice and put your phone away!
Sterile Services News
The bugs that lurk in our makeup bags!
As we take such a keen interest in decontamination and sterilisation, there is nothing that we like better than an interesting story about bacteria and bugs. So we were drawn to a recent story about the superbugs that may be lurking in our makeup bags!
Researchers from Aston University have found that many makeup products are contaminated by potentially life threatening superbugs such as E.coli and Staphylococci. The bugs are particularly dangerous near open wounds or the eyes and for people with suppressed immune systems.
The worst offending items were found to be ‘beauty blenders’ a type of sponge used for foundation and contouring, and of those tested, 93% had never been cleaned. Because they are left damp after use this makes them a prime breeding ground for germs.
As a result of the research, scientists have recommended that beauty products need to be washed and dried and not used beyond their sell by date.
Maybe we should all be asking for new makeup supplies for Christmas?
A Very Merry Christmas!
Unbelievably, we are at the end of another year and 2019 has been really busy and successful for us at Newtons Medical Supplies.
We would like to thank all of our valued customers and suppliers for your continued support and we wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year from all at Newtons Medical Supplies.
We look forward to seeing you again in 2020!
For more information about Newtons Medical Supplies or our products, please get in touch.