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Nursing News – 2nd November 2012

Elderly hearing failure

Action on Hearing Loss has recently completed a study across the UK of the elderly within care homes and discovered that up to 250,000 have undiagnosed or untreated hearing loss. The charity warned that these residents felt their hearing loss was part of getting older but in fact it can be supported through proper training of staff. The high levels of undiagnosed hearing loss were mainly due to a lack of training for staff to enable them to recognise issues.

Depression figures rise

During the previous twelve months GP’s have diagnosed an increasing amount of people with depression. The figures for 2011 were 4.9million sufferers but now stands at 5.1million meaning that one in ten people in the UK have been diagnosed with a mental illness, making it the most common illness at this time. Experts are suggesting that the economic climate is putting further pressure on people and this in turn has lead to the rise in figures as people struggle to cope with job insecurity and financial concerns. Treatment for depression includes tablets and / or counselling.

Supplements during pregnancy

Leading charity, Shine, which assists individuals and families affected by spina bifida and hydrocephalus, is suggesting pregnant women should take vitamin B12 as well as folic acid once a day. It also recommends that those trying to conceive do the same. The theory is that by taking vitamin B12 with folic acid, the latter will become more effective. The new report supporting this advice has been released by the Vitamin Research Institute at the Institute of Molecular Medicine, Trinity College, Dublin. Its founder and leading expert, Professor John Scott, said: It is clear that, as well as the addition of folic acid supplement (400mcg daily), the addition of a vitamin B12 component of at least 2.5mcg per day would bring about a further significant and worthwhile reduction for neural tube defects”.

Flu jab additional benefit

Researchers studying clinical trials dating back to the 1960’s have found an additional benefit of having the flu vaccination. The study suggests the influenza vaccine could also be important in the maintenance of heart health and protecting against cardiovascular problems, such as strokes and heart attacks. Dr Jacob Udell, Cardiologist, carried out the study with a team from the TIMI Study Group and Network for Innovation in Clinical Research and said: For those who had the flu shot, there was a pretty strong risk reduction”. Each year around 20 per cent of adults and 5 per cent of children catch the flu in the UK most people recover easily but around 600 die from complications whilst suffering the illness.

HIV test

British scientists are developing a new HIV test which is anticipated to be ten times more sensitive and a fraction of the cost of the current testing process. The scientists working at the Imperial College of London hope to improve diagnosis and treatment in the developing world with the product. Lead researcher, Molly Stevens, said: “Our approach affords for improved sensitivity, does not require sophisticated instrumentation and it is ten times cheaper”. Although there are simple tests on the market which pick up the virus in saliva, it needs to reach relatively high concentrations in the body first. The new system works by testing blood samples in a disposable containers, which if the HIV virus is present even in minute quantities, will turn the solution blue.

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