News

Help make medicines safer in children and during pregnancy

Under its Yellow Card Scheme, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) wants to encourage wider reporting of the side effects experienced by patients taking medicines.

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Paediatric patients lose sleep in noisy wards

Sick children lose more than an hour’s sleep per night on noisy hospital wards, according to new UK research, which suggests it could harm their recovery. It has been found that when children lose sleep in hospital, their pain threshold is lower, they are more emotional and may have lowered immune defences.

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Melatonin use in children who can’t sleep prompts safety warning

Children and young people in England are being given the hormone Melatonin to help them sleep, prompting concern that there is little evidence of its long-term effectiveness or safety. Melatonin, which is produced naturally by the body, has been authorised for use by people aged over 55. It has been hailed as a less addictive alternative to insomnia drug treatments.

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Marked rise in type 2 diabetes in young people

Type 2 diabetes can lead to a range of health problems such as heart disease, strokes and kidney problems. The condition occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. It can be linked to obesity.

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Genome sequencing promises new era in oncology

All children with cancer in England will be offered whole genome sequencing from this year in a move that will enable a more comprehensive and precise diagnosis and access to more personalised treatments.

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Clinical trials for medical cannabis for children

Talks are underway about setting up clinical trials into medicinal cannabis. The move towards trials of the medication means that leading medical experts in the UK will examine a large number of plant-based medicines, so they can gather evidence to show which medicinal cannabis products react well with various types of epilepsy and seizures.

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Global measles resurging, WHO warns

Measles is a highly contagious disease that in severe cases can lead to complications such as blindness, pneumonia and infection and swelling of the brain. There has been a worldwide resurgence of measles, with many countries experiencing “severe and protracted” outbreaks, last year, a report warns.

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EpiPen shortage ‘worrying’

The makers of the adrenaline injection pen, which is used to treat severe and life-threatening allergic reactions, say that the continuing supply problems are due to manufacturing issues.

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Children ‘failed in the first 1,000 days’ say MPs

The Health and Social Care Committee says that not enough support is provided in the early years to give children the best start in life. It warns that cuts to children’s centres, health visiting and parent support services have left children vulnerable. It urged the government to pay for extra contact with health visitors beyond the age of two and-a-half. Adverse experiences in childhood have been shown to increase the chances of poor health and development later in life. The government has said it will set out plans for early years support in a forthcoming green paper on prevention.

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Shortage of medical staff, including paediatricians, causing concerns

The NHS, Europe’s largest employer, has a workforce of 1.1 million, but 100,000 jobs remain unfilled. The crisis is most acute in nursing, where there are around 40,000 vacancies. Paediatricians, oncologists and doctors are also needed, with nearly 9,000 vacancies currently unfilled.

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