Category Archives: Health

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Arthritis: Cannabidiol could treat joint pain and other symptoms in humans and dogs

Arthritis: Cannabidiol could treat joint pain and other symptoms in humans and dogs
CBD treatment is rapidly increasing in popularity due to anecdotal evidence suggesting it’s an effective pain relief tool, hence the investigation.

Lab studies have already shown that CBD can reduce inflammatory markers within human and rat cells.

Thus, in investigating the matter further, the researchers turned towards the next test subject – dogs.

The trial

There were 20 domesticated dogs involved in the trial, who were seen at the Sunset Animal Hospital in Houston, Texas.

READ MORE: Arthritis symptoms – five ‘completely different’ signs

This included whether they observed changes in the animals’ level of pain.

In addition, the dogs’ cell blood count and blood indicators of liver and kidney functions were evaluated before and after the four weeks of treatment.

“We found encouraging results,” Dr Halpert said. “Nine of the 10 dogs on CBD showed benefits, which remained for two weeks after the treatment stopped.”

This suggests that CBD – the non-addictive product derived from hemp (cannabis) – can significantly improve quality of life for dogs and their owners.

The pain, discomfort and stiffness is caused by the cartilage within a joint becoming damaged.

Damaged cartilage is less smooth, and can cause the bones within the joint to rub together, leading to pain and more damage.

If you’re concerned, a visit to the vet can confirm if your dog is suffering from arthritis.

Should arthritis be confirmed, the vet will offer a variety of treatments, such as anti-inflammatory drugs.

Covid update: 'Alarming' reinfection rates for older adults, researchers warn

Covid update: 'Alarming' reinfection rates for older adults, researchers warn

In addition, the number of deaths within 28 days of a positive test has also fallen in the last week compared to the week before.

Adding to the good news, the number of patients admitted to hospital has also decreased.

These are very promising trends, suggesting that the UK is making its way out of the pandemic.

However, caution – as always – is recommended, as schools have returned less than a fortnight ago, and figures take some time to catch up.

Covid vaccine delay: Is Covid vaccine roll out delayed? NHS letter in full

Covid vaccine delay: Is Covid vaccine roll out delayed? NHS letter in full
Coronavirus vaccinations have been rolled out across the UK, with 27,032,671 jabs given so far. Vaccinations are key to releasing the UK from lockdown, with the Prime Minister’s lockdown roadmap hinging on data to enable businesses to reopen, holidays within the UK to take place and family and friends to see each other again.
Now there has been a letter from NHS England sent round to vaccination centres cautioning of a “significant reduction” in jabs.

This comes as all over-50s are now allowed to book their appointments for the Covid vaccine.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference today Health Secretary Matt Hancock doubled down on the pledge to vaccinate all over 50s by April 15.

When questioned at the press conference Mr Hancock said supply was always “lumpy” but there would be enough vaccines to meet demand.

Read More: Brits given holiday boost as EU invites UK to join vaccine passport

NHS letter in full

The letter from NHS England has said there will be a “significant reduction” in weekly vaccine supply from the end of March.

Addressed to local health leaders it states “volumes for first doses will be significantly constrained”.

The letter from NHS England leaders reads: “The Government’s Vaccines Task Force have now notified us that there will be a significant reduction in weekly supply available from manufacturers beginning in the week commencing March 29, meaning volumes for first doses will be significantly constrained.”

It adds: “We must take this time to deliver protection to the most vulnerable.”

“They now currently predict this will continue for a four-week period, as a result of reductions in national inbound vaccines supply.”

Local health leaders have been told to focus efforts on the top priority groups in the letter, signed by Dr Nikita Kanani, medical director for primary care for the NHS in England, and Emily Lawson, chief commercial officer.

NHS chief commercial officer Emily Lawson, who wrote the letter, added: “Our vaccination delivery programme was designed to be flexible, scaled up and diversified in line with fluctuating international vaccine supplies.

“Thank you for your continued efforts, and, as ever, we are hugely grateful for everything that you are doing to make the NHS’s part in the delivery of this programme the success that it is.”

However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock argued the NHS letter warning vaccine supply will face a “significant reduction” was a “standard” technical letter.

He told the Downing Street press conference: “Vaccine supply is always lumpy and we regularly send out technical letters to the NHS to explain the ups and downs of the supply of the future weeks and what you are referring to is a standard one of those letters.”

He told the Downing Street press conference: “We’re on track to offer a first dose to everyone in priority groups one to nine by April 15.

“While we deliver on that commitment, we also want to ensure that this offer reaches everyone in groups one to nine.

“At the same time as opening up offers of vaccinations to all those who are 50 or above, we are going to do whatever it takes to reach all those in the most vulnerable groups who haven’t come forward yet before we move onto the next cohort, which is people in their 40s.

“Before we forge ahead I want us to be confident that we’ve done everything we can to protect those most in need of protection and we will do all we can and do everything necessary to deliver the supplies that are contractually committed to protecting people in this country.”

Mr Hancock said “we fully expect” vaccine contracts to be delivered after EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said the EU could block exports.

He said today: “The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was produced from research funded by the UK Government, tens of millions of pounds. We set up the supply chain, not just here in the UK but we helped set up the supply chain in the EU.

“This vaccine is provided at cost to the whole world … and we legally signed a contract for delivery of the first 100 million doses for people here, for people in the UK.”

He said Ms von der Leyen had said before “there should not be restrictions on the export of vaccines by companies where they are fulfilling contractual responsibilities”.

“So, the supply of vaccines from EU production facilities to the UK is indeed fulfilling contractual responsibilities and we fully expect those contracts to be delivered on,” he added.

Covid anniversary devastating youth’s mental health

On 23 March, the UK will commemorate the anniversary of the first lockdown. In the past year, young adults have suffered far more from anxiety and loneliness than the general population. Faced with isolation at university and gloomy prospects on the job market, the well-being of students has especially taken a hit.

NimbleFins has analysed the Student Covid-19 Insights Survey (SCIS) and the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (COVID-19 module) to explore the impacts of the pandemic on young adults and students in the UK. I’ve listed the key findings of the study below.

Young adults are more anxious and less happy and satisfied than other age groups.
  • 16-29 y/o scored the worst in the overall well-being metrics in the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (ONS).
  • 71% of 16-29-year-olds are worried about the effect of COVID on their lives. That’s the highest of all age groups.
  • 3 out of 4 young adults feel affected by the lack of freedom and independence during COVID, and nearly as many have experienced a negative impact on their well-being.
  • Boredom, loneliness, anxiety and stress are much more common among 16-29-year-olds when compared to all adults, with experience rates of 71% vs. 53%, respectively.
  • Nearly half (44%) of adults aged 16 to 29 have experienced a negative impact on relationships, compared to roughly a quarter (28%) of all adults.

Satisfaction with social experiences

Students are around 4X as likely to always or often feel lonely compared to most adults.
  • 63% of students feel ‘slighty/much worse now’ than at the beginning of the school year. Among students who have changed address since the start of term, the figure jumps to 71%.
  • One third (33%) of students have often or always felt lonely, compared to 12% of all adults in the same age bracket, and 8% of the general population.
  • Only 11% of students have ‘never’ or ‘hardly ever’ felt lonely during COVID, compared to almost half (47%) of the general population.
  • Returning undergraduates have a worse view of the situation than first-year undergraduates.
  • COVID has left 57% of higher education students feeling ‘dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’ with their social experiences at uni.
Student mental health
The COVID affected job market has been exceptionally challenging for students and grads
  • The number of job vacancies has plummeted 26% in the UK by Nov-Jan 2021 when compared to a year earlier, pre-coronavirus.
  • The drop in job vacancies due to COVID-19 has been significantly sharper and more pronounced than during the 2008 financial crisis.
  • Students often rely on jobs in accommodation & food services to earn extra money and support themselves. Due to lockdowns, vacancies in this sector have seen the most dramatic plunge.
  • Grads in the fields of arts, entertainment & recreation have perhaps been the worst off, as vacancies in the sector dropped to almost non-existent levels during the summer of 2020.

Job vacancies financial crisis coronavirus

Fatty liver disease: The three most common symptoms that attract 'medical attention’

Fatty liver disease: The three most common symptoms that attract 'medical attention’
Liver disease, as the name suggests, is a general term for conditions affecting the liver. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) specifically relates to conditions caused by a build-up of fat in the liver. The condition is insidious because it is largely symptomless.
However, symptoms can crop up the longer NAFLD is left untreated.

According to the health body Cleveland Clinic, the most common symptoms that bring NAFLD to medical attention are malaise, fatigue and abdominal discomfort.

An enlarged liver is commonly found on clinical examination, the health body notes.

More acute symptoms may show up if NAFLD progresses to cirrhosis, warns the British Liver Trust (BLT).

READ MORE: Fatty liver disease symptoms: Nail changes could signal the deadly condition – key signs

“As a result, they should seek medical attention if they develop a temperature,” the health body warns.

How is NAFLD diagnosed?

The NHS explains: “NAFLD is often diagnosed after a blood test called a liver function test produces an abnormal result and other liver conditions, such as hepatitis, are ruled out.”

It is important to note that blood tests do not always pick up NAFLD.

“The condition may also be spotted during an ultrasound scan of your tummy,” says the NHS.

According to the health body Mayo Clinic, these include:

  • Overweight or obesity
  • Insulin resistance, in which your cells don’t take up sugar in response to the hormone insulin
  • High blood sugar (hyperglycemia), indicating prediabetes or type 2 diabetes
  • High levels of fats, particularly triglycerides, in the blood.

“These combined health problems appear to promote the deposit of fat in the liver,” says the health body.

It adds: “For some people, this excess fat acts as a toxin to liver cells, causing liver inflammation and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which may lead to a buildup of scar tissue in the liver.”

NASH is a type of NAFLD.

Leading a healthy lifestyle can therefore reduce your risk of developing NAFLD.

Bowel cancer symptoms: Narrow poo is a visual warning sign – what to look for

Bowel cancer symptoms: Narrow poo is a visual warning sign - what to look for

Processed meat is any meat that has been treated to preserve it and/or add flavour – for example, bacon, salami, sausages, canned meat, or chicken nuggets.

The government recommends that people eating more than 90 grams of red and processed meat a day should reduce it to 70 grams or less.

A linked risk factor is obesity, which is estimated to account for 11 out of 100 bowel cancers in the UK, reports Cancer Research UK.

Obesity means being very overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.

Alzheimer's: Disease could be detected years before symptoms appear with nanotechnology

Alzheimer's: Disease could be detected years before symptoms appear with nanotechnology
Researchers say results that capture early signs of brain disorder offer huge potential for patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia to receive effective treatment before they suffer significant damage. Alzheimer’s is diagnosed currently via brain scans and only once a person shows behavioural symptoms, such as memory impairment. By the time symptoms emerge it is often too late for effective treatment. Early markers of the disease are thought to exist in blood but in tiny numbers, making them hard to detect.
Yet technology developed and patented by the Nanomedicine Lab at the University of Manchester allows tiny blood signals that can describe the onset of Alzheimer’s noninvasively to be magnified and analysed.

Nanotechnology involves the creation or manipulation of materials at the nanometre (nm) scale. One nanometre is one millionth of a millimetre – by comparison, a human hair is approximately 70,000nm in diameter, while a red blood cell is approximately 5,000nm.

Dr Marilena Hadjidemetriou, lead researcher of the study and lecturer in nanoomics, said: “Hidden information in blood is likely to echo the complex cascade of events occurring in the brain of Alzheimer’s disease patients.”

The team used nanotechnology to enhance the sensitivity of mass spectrometry, a technique used to analyse the patterns of proteins in blood.

Nano-sized spheres, known as liposomes, were used as a tool to fish out disease-specific proteins.

When injected in mice that had Alzheimer’s, nanoparticles spontaneously picked up hundreds of neurodegeneration-associated proteins.

These were retrieved intact from blood circulation and the molecular signatures on the proteins’ surface were then analysed.

Prof Kostas Kostarelos said: “This study was rather like a fishing expedition – we didn’t know what was beneath the surface of the ocean.

“The nano-tool we developed allowed us to see deeper…identifying proteins of interest that are directly associated with neurodegeneration processes in the brain, among thousands of other blood-circulating molecules.

“We hope that these early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease could one day be developed into a blood test and we are actively seeking validation of these signatures in human blood.”

The study, published in the ACS Nano journal, was funded by the Medical Research Council.

Can over 50s book a Covid vaccine? Major announcement as vaccine rollout extended

Can over 50s book a Covid vaccine? Major announcement as vaccine rollout extended
The vaccine rollout has been ongoing since December, and the Government managed to meet its target of 15million vaccines by February 15. As things currently stand, 24.8million people in the UK have now had at least one shot of the vaccine. On Monday, the UK carried out 53,366 second doses of the jab, meaning 1.6million people have had the whole immunisation treatment. During the same time, 386,685 people in the UK had their first dose, compared to 257,010 people who were vaccinated with their first jab on Sunday.

Can over 50s book a Covid vaccine?

In short, yes. All over 50s in England are now eligible for the coronavirus vaccine, Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed.

Mr Hancock said he was “delighted” the rollout was being expanded to the final age group in the priority list.

NHS Chief Sir Simon Stevens said it was “another milestone” reached in the race to beat the virus.

The NHS website for booking Covid vaccine appointments now enables everyone “aged 50 and over” to check in. 

READ MORE: EU vaccine passports ‘unnecessarily divisive’ as bloc struggles

Once all 2.4million people in this age group have been offered the vaccine, over 40s will be invited to be immunised.

Estimates suggest the rollout could move onto the next stage before the end of the month if there’s no holdup.

Professor Anthony Harnden, the deputy head of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) confirmed this during an interview with BBC Breakfast.

He said: “In primary care, we’re still vaccinating cohort six, all with underlying illness, and some of seven.

The NHS England website has been updated to state all clinics are now allowed to start offering doses to those aged 50 and over.

Some clinics who have already surpassed their targets, however, have likely already started offering doses to this age group.

NHS England officials previously said they would “not stand in the way” of areas getting through vaccines faster.

Celebrating the move to the next stage so quickly, Mr Hancock said: “I’m delighted we are now expanding the rollout and inviting those aged 50 and over to book their jab.

“I’m determined no one should miss out on the chance to protect themselves and urge everyone who is eligible to come forward.”

Sir Simon said: “Just 100 days since the NHS gave the world’s first Covid jab outside of clinical trials, our vaccine programme passes another milestone as we now invite everyone aged 50 and over to book their vaccination.”

Wales started inviting the over-50s for vaccines earlier this month, and Scotland says those aged 50 to 54 will start being given appointments next week.

Mr Hancock previously set a target for all over-50s and people with underlying health conditions to have at least one dose by April 15.

To book your vaccine appointment, you can do so via the NHS website.

Heart attack: Six life-saving measures to know about if someone suffers the condition

Heart attack: Six life-saving measures to know about if someone suffers the condition
The medical emergency requires swift action from whoever is around to call 999, to the paramedics rushing the patient off to hospital and keeping the person alive. It really can be a life-or-death situation. “Acting quickly in the event of a suspected heart attack can reduce the damage to your heart and increase your chances of survival,” said the Heart Research Institute. Paramedics will begin treatment in the ambulance, which may be followed up by one of these six life-saving tools.
This stent is left in the artery to keep the arteries wide open, allowing the blood to flow much more easily to the heart.

Coronary artery bypass

It’s possible a person could have a coronary artery bypass if they’ve had a heart attack.

This involves takin a blood vessel from the leg, chest or arm, and grafting it to the coronary arteries.

“This improves blood supply to the heart through a detour – a ‘bypass’ past a narrowed or blocked artery,” the Heart Research Institute explained.

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Implantable cardioverter defibrillators

Another possibility is an implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD), which can be inserted into the chest and connected to the heart.

“They are designed for people at high risk of developing abnormal fast rhythms (arrhythmias),” said the Heart Research Institute.

ICDs can correct heart rates that are either too fast or too slow by delivering a small electric shock to the muscle.

This is to help the heart muscle to return to its normal rhythm, otherwise the condition could be life-threatening.


Then there’s pacemakers, which are primarily designed to treat slow heart rhythms and atrial fibrillation.

The electronic device monitors the heart’s rhythm and delivers a pulse to the heart at programmed intervals.

Once you’ve had a heart attack, the risk of having another one increases.

This is why it’s crucial to do all that you can to prevent that from happening; this starts from lifestyle changes.

The Heart Research Institute have listed strategies to assist with the recovery from a heart attack and to prevent another one.

This includes “gentle exercise” such as walking, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and having regular health check-ups.

In addition, one is advised to take their prescribed medication and to avoid smoking at all costs, including second-hand smoke.

Another key measure is to eat vegetables, wholegrain, fruit, nuts and seeds every day.

Does Pfizer vaccine cause blood clots? Surprising results in study – so why is AZ banned?

Does Pfizer vaccine cause blood clots? Surprising results in study - so why is AZ banned?

This figure stands up even in pre-pandemic times, and the clots can happen for a variety of reasons including obesity, smoking and a lack of exercise.

Even the women’s contraceptive pill, which is known to directly contribute to clots, is linked to blood clots in about one in 1,000 women per year.

This is considered a “very small risk”, according to the National Blood Clot Alliance in the US.

Even if all the blood clots reported in the UK so far were definitely linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine, the risk would be about one in every 323,000 people – equating to 323 times less than risks with the pill.