Health

Latest stories, news and breaking health and medical news from across the world

Health

UK Conservatives jostle for top job after Mays resignation

The field is getting crowded in the race to succeed British Prime Minister Theresa May as head of the Conservative Party, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock becoming the fifth politician to announce he will compete for the post. “Im going to run to be the next prime minister, because I believe from the bottom of my heart that we need a leader for the future, not just for now,” Hancock told BBC4s Today program on Saturday. “Of course weve got to deliver Brexit, and I will, but we need to win the argument for free enterprise and a free society, and do all the other things that we need to do to make this country a great place to live,” he said, adding that “a no-deal Brexit is not an active policy thats available to the next prime minister, whoever they are.” May announced Friday she will resign as Conservative Party leader on June 7, triggering a rapid-fire battle to replace her as Tory leader and prime minister before Britains scheduled departure from the EU on October 31. Hancock j..

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Abortion debate goes mainstream in Malta

MSIDA, Malta — The controversial debate on Maltas stringent abortion laws has shifted from Facebook forums to the highest levels of politics just in time for the European election. In the weeks leading up to Saturdays ballot, the opposition Nationalist Party took out billboard adverts across the island championing the partys anti-abortion message. Its leader Adrian Delia called the European election a “referendum on abortion” — accusing the ruling Labour Party of secretly supporting greater abortion rights. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was pressed to respond, and said the government doesnt have a mandate to change abortion laws. Ninety-five percent of Maltese do not agree with abortion in the first 12 weeks of gestation (a health service available nearly everywhere else in Europe), according to the most recent polls. In a country with one of the highest number of social media users and some of the strictest abortion laws in the EU, abortion has always been a hot topic on Facebook fo..

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Ward closures among UK hospital contingency plans for no-deal Brexit

LONDON — A no-deal Brexit will severely impact hospital services and could even prompt ward closures and interruptions to childrens services, according to planning documents seen by POLITICO. Detailed preparations from 35 hospitals in England describe serious disruptions to the provision of health care services for patients in the event of a no-deal exit from the EU. One hospital said that a loss of EU staff could lead to the suspension of services, while another warned it may be unable to process diagnostic tests for Parkinsons disease because of missing medical supplies. The internal documents, released under Freedom of Information rules in response to a request from pro-Remain organization Best for Britain, include risk assessments and contingency plans formulated by hospitals since the Brexit referendum, as well as correspondence with NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Exiting the European Union. Opposition Labour MP Paul Williams descri..

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Where microplastics come from …

Look almost anywhere — in your food, in your water, in your body — and youre likely to find microplastics. These tiny particles, ranging in size from microscopic to 5 millimeters long, are infused in cosmetics and fertilizers. Theyre released unintentionally when we wash clothes made from polyester and nylon, or when the rubber hits the road as were driving. And they are produced when plastic products like bottles or packaging break down into smaller and smaller pieces. POLITICO presents plastics by the numbers. Microplastics have been found in the air, in animals, in food and beverages and in human feces. Drinking water: A 2017 study by Orb Media tested tap water samples from more than a dozen countries on five continents, and found microplastics in 83 percent. For bottled water, stats were even worse: 93 percent of samples contained some microplastics. Beer: Researchers found plastic fibers in German and American beer. In a U.S. study last year, an average of four particles were ..

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Training Britains doctors — in Poland

WARSAW, Poland — Brexit uncertainty isnt stopping the U.K.s National Health Service from hiring doctors from beyond its borders — including from the EU. Enter firms like Paragona, which calls itself “the leading global provider of international solutions to staff shortage problems for the healthcare sector.” The Polish company won a contract with the NHS a few weeks agoas part of the health services “international GP recruitment program,” and is training its first batch of 100 EU doctors to practice in England. The general practitioners, who come from Spain, Lithuania, Greece and Poland, are enrolled at a campus in the small town of Piaseczno, 20 kilometers south of Warsaw. “We provide EU GPs with a 12-20 week residential course in Poland and when in the U.K., the doctors undergo additional training under the supervision of a mentor,” Paragona Board Chairman Adam Ringer said. The training is intensive, with five-day, 40 hour-per-week courses that include simulated surgeries, langua..

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Plastics that save us may also hurt us

Hiding in plain sight, in every hospital in the world, is a product that embodies both the extraordinary benefits and the unsettling risks that plastics can pose to human health. This product is the blood bag. Introduced in 1950, as the United States was about to enter the Korean War, the plastic blood bag was a life-saving solution to a medical problem. Doctors had been collecting blood and performing transfusions since World War I, but the process was just beginning to be scaled up. The glass bottles used to hold blood were far from ideal. Not only did they break easily; they were hard to keep sterile, and air bubbles trapped in the rigid containers could complicate transfusions. The new bags, invented by two American scientists, had a host of advantages: They were lightweight, cheap, couldnt shatter and took up about half the space in a refrigerator as a bottle holding the same amount of blood. They could also be easily made and kept sterile and thrown away after a single use. L..

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Lithuanians are pissed

VILNIUS — Europes biggest drinkers have found plenty of ways around their countrys restrictive alcohol laws. In Lithuania, underage 19-year-olds get their friends to buy them beer at the bar. Neighbors bring back cheaper vodka from across the border in Belarus, and octogenarians sell illegal homemade whiskey called “samogon” from their homes. For those in pursuit of a drink, the governments restrictive laws implemented in 2017 to increase the drinking age to 20, cut selling hours and raise excise taxes are largely a nuisance. But for the ruling Farmers and Greens Union (LVŽS), and the partys Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga, who has become the public face of the reforms, its a gamble that unpopular policies designed to combat a major public health problem will eventually pay off. The perception, especially among younger voters, that Veryga and his center-right party are out-of-date and authoritarian will be tested this month when Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis stands for the par..

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Why we dont know if plastics are safe

How can we determine conclusively whether a chemical is safe? Thats the question Jerry Heindel, a top health scientist in the United States government, wanted to answer. And what better chemical to ask this question about than bisphenol A — one of the most researched chemicals in the world, and one of the most controversial. BPA, as the chemical is known, is an industrial additive essential in the production of many plastic consumer goods: water bottles, plastic food containers, dental products. And yet, despite hundreds of studies dating back nearly a century, theres no scientific consensus on whether BPA is harmful to human health. Thats in part because any effects the chemical has would be long-term, complicated and hard to detect. But its also because academic scientists and government regulators disagree on how best to evaluate the safety of chemicals. The solution Heindel — at the time a health science administrator at the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Scien..

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Transgender no longer recognised as ‘disorder’ by WHO

Transgender health issues will no longer be classified as mental and behavioural disorders under big changes to the World Health Organization's global manual of diagnoses. The newly-approved version instead places issues of gender incongruence under a chapter on sexual health. A World Health Organization expert said it now understands transgender is "not actually a mental health condition". Human Rights Watch says the change will have a "liberating effect worldwide". 'Outdated diagnosis' In the latest manual, called the ICD-11, gender incongruence is defined as a marked and persistent incongruence between a person's experienced gender and assigned sex. In the previous version – ICD-10 – this was considered a gender identity disorder, in the chapter entitled mental and behavioural disorders. Dr Lale Say, a reproductive health expert at the World Health Organization, said: "It was taken out from mental health disorders because we had a better understanding ..

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English ‘short-changed on care funding’

Public spending on care for the elderly and disabled is much higher in Scotland and Wales than England, figures show. In England, £310 per person is spent each year on services such as care homes and home help for daily tasks such as washing and dressing. But in Scotland, £445 is spent – 43% more than in England – and in Wales it is £414 – 33% more. The analysis has been produced by the Health Foundation using official spending and population data. The think-tank said the differences were "huge" and had a major impact on the care that could be provided by councils to these vulnerable groups. It comes after the BBC revealed a number of councils are at risk of running out of their reserves if current spending continues. Care spending is likely to be a significant factor in this given it accounts for more than half of local authority budgets. Ministers in England have promised that new plans for care, including funding, will be published soon. How the system is failing the vulnera..

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