In the news this month:
In Profile – The NHS at the cutting edge of technological developments
– How technology is transforming treatment in the 21st century
– Could strokes and heart attacks be prevented with an acne drug?
– High tech new medical equipment preserves livers for transplant
– Children swallow the strangest things…
Decontamination & Sterile Services News
– Tracking the movement of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospital environments
– This month’s Product Discount of the Month – Medokare Premium Bed Pads from our Care Range
In Profile – The NHS leads the way in cutting edge technology
At Newtons Medical Supplies we understand the vital importance of continued research to develop technological medical advances which will help us to manage and cure an increasing number of medical conditions.
We also work closely with the NHS which is one of the largest and most influential health care providers in the world and which remains at the forefront of medical research and progress.
As part of its Long Term plan (which we have covered in previous updates) the NHS has committed to working collaboratively with government and industry and to provide funding for proven high tech treatments and products which will improve the day to day lives and outcomes of patients.
The cutting edge technical developments which are being supported include the following:
- A newly developed test for pre-eclampsia – a highly dangerous and life-threatening condition that affects some women in pregnancy
- 3D heart modelling to better understand coronary disease
- A blood test which measures protein in the blood and can quickly diagnose a heart attack
- A hand held device which uses mild electrical stimulation to treat chronic headaches
- A special gel injection which improves the space available for radiation treatment of prostate cancer
It is estimated that these new technologies alone have the potential to benefit over 400,000 patients this year and many more in the future. The NHS and industry will continue to work together to develop the very best technologies for the benefit of patients.
Could strokes and heart attacks be prevented with an acne drug?
The pharmaceutical industry is also continuously researching and testing new drugs to address a range of different health issues. Some will prove to be beneficial and will go on to be used for treatment, others will not move past the testing phase because they are ineffective or have side effects.
Sometimes a situation occurs where an effective drug is found to have not just one, but sometimes two or more medical benefits – which can be entirely unrelated.
Stiff or hardened arteries are the most common cause of a number of health issues including high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. ‘Atherosclerosis’ occurs when calcium deposits build up in arteries. According to a recent article in the mail online, and also covered by other media, this process is the single biggest cause of death in the developed world because it often leads to cardiovascular disease.
Scientists from the University of Cambridge and Kings College London have recently carried out research to investigate this very pressing problem. The method by which calcification occurs had not been entirely understood before, but this study discovered that a molecule called PAR (short for poly(ADP-ribose) has the potential to crystallise when it comes into contact with artery walls.
Cells export PAR when they are stressed – which could help to explain why environmental factors related to diet, exercise and lifestyle are linked to hardening of the arteries.
This encouraged the researchers to look for existing drugs that could disrupt this process and to surmise that an appropriate antibiotic could be used to block the PAR calcification. Tests carried out on rats confirmed that Minocycline – an antibiotic most often used to treat acne was found to work well at inhibiting the PAR action.
The extra benefit of treatment with an existing drug is that it has already been fully tested as safe for humans so the process to have it approved for this new purpose is much more straightforward. A happy coincidence indeed!
High tech new equipment preserves livers for transplant
As experts in the provision of high quality surgical products we are always interested in the latest developments in the world of surgery.
A new medical device called the OrganOx metra is pioneering medical equipment which helps to keep donated livers functioning after they have been removed, by placing them in an environment which mimics the human body.
Usually organs are kept fresh with the old fashioned ice box method but this new approach doubles the amount of time that a liver can be preserved before it is given to its recipient. The equipment can also help medics to determine the quality of the liver before it is transplanted.
500+ patients have now received a liver that has been preserved in this way and OrganOx metra has been nominated for the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award for this development.
You can read more on the Royal Academy of Engineering website.
Children swallow the strangest things…
Any parent will be able to tell you that children sometimes do some very silly things and a popular cause of trips to the A&E department is swallowing non-food items. Sometimes these objects pass safely through and out the other side (!) but they can also become stuck – or have the capacity to cause more harm, meaning that an invasive endoscopic procedure may be required.
An item which is often mistaken for sweets and is therefore frequently swallowed by accident is button batteries.
Recent research from the endoscopic community was presented at Digestive Disease Week 2019 and recommended changing the treatment approach for these items.
The current approach is generally to ‘wait and see’ and to leave the battery to make its course through the body once it has passed through the narrow oesophagus. Researchers now think that the potential risk of damage to the stomach lining means that it may be advisable to carry out a speedy endoscopic removal and not wait for any problems to emerge.
This research was based on findings from a number of hospitals across the USA including in Colorado, Florida, Texas and Ohio and there were found to be erosive injuries to the stomach lining in 60% of cases of children who had swallowed batteries. In some children there were no obvious symptoms, so the conclusion was that it may be better to intervene with endoscopic treatment and remove the battery as quickly as possible.
Decontamination and Sterile Services News
Tracking antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospital environments
News on medical decontamination and sterile services is very important to us here at Newtons Medical Supplies. Germs and hospital acquired infections continue to be a major challenge for the NHS and other medical organisations, and the products that we sell have been expertly designed to support medical teams to maintain sterile and germ free environments.
A recent 8-week observational study carried out in France and reported in PLOS Computational Biology, looked at how antibiotic-resistant bacteria moves around a hospital environment. Wearable sensors were provided to hospital personnel and patients so that any human contact could be tracked. Researchers also carried out swab tests to check for extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) which are the unique enzymes produced by some antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains.
Scientists were interested to note that the results were different depending on each bacterial type. 90% of the distribution of ESBL K Pneumonia could be directly linked to contact with other patients. Whereas only 60% of contact was responsible for ESBL E-Coli.
This highlighted that there is no single fix for managing dangerous bacteria in hospitals and that a range of different strategies will be required. For example scrupulous hand washing is likely to be most effective for ESBL K Pneumonia to prevent human transmission, whereas approaches like environmental decontamination are likely to work best for the ESBL E-coli.
Knowing and understanding how each type of bacteria can be spread is the best way to target individual strains with a range of appropriate hygiene and environmental strategies.
Stock up this month with our latest product discount!
Brought to you from our comprehensive Care Product Range – our versatile pack of Medokare 72 premium, disposable, hospital quality bed pads is just £29.99 throughout June. This is a fantastic discount from the normal price of £41.89.
When they are gone – they are gone!
Order today – stocks are limited.