Some health-related news, including new drugs for cystic fibrosis and Alzheimer’s, plus clinical trials of medical cannabis, increased deaths from liver cancer, post-term pregnancies, measles risk, and a Cornish book about mental health.


New drugs available – Cystic Fibrosis

Three drugs that treat cystic fibrosis are to be offered under the NHS, after a four-year campaign to get the manufacturers to provide them to the NHS on an affordable basis.

No cap will be placed on the number of patients receiving Orkambi, Symkevi and Kalydeco free of charge, and an estimated 5,000 people are expected to benefit from the deal between NHS England and US pharmaceutical company Vertex.

Around half those who have CF are expected to benefit from the use of Orkambi and Symkevi.  Find out more details on the Independent website.


New drug announced – Alzheimers

A US company has announced that it has created the first drug to slow Alzheimer’s Disease, and is ready to seek approval for its use in the US. The drug is called Aducanumab, and it targets a protein called amyloid that forms abnormal deposits the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. Scientists think these plaques are toxic to brain cells and that clearing them using drugs would be a massive advance in dementia treatment, although not a cure.

It will probably take several years for it to be approved for use in the UK.

You can read the announcement on the BBC website.


Medical Cannabis Trial

The Royal College of Physicians has launched an initiative that aims to create the largest study of medical cannabis, working with 20,000 patients over two years. At present, it is legal to proscribe cannabis, but is unobtainable for many patients, and the project hopes to convince more medical professionals to prescribe it.

Project Twenty21 will study the drug’s effects on patients who have either chronic pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, anxiety disorder or who have had a history of substance misuse.

Read more on the Guardian website.


Post term pregnancy research

A research programme in Sweden on babies carried past 40 weeks of pregnancy has been cancelled.

The programme was examining the recommendations around when babies should be induced if labour has not begun naturally, which is currently 42 weeks, in the UK.

The study invited women to be induced at 42 weeks, or 43 weeks, if labour had not already begun, but was called off when six infants died after pregnancies were allowed to carry on into week 43. Five still births and one early death were considered to show a significantly increased risk, and it was deemed too dangerous to continue.  Hospitals in Sweden are changing their recommendations.

You can read more on the Guardian’s website.


Measles affects the immune system

The measles virus has been shown to reset the immune system of a person who is infected by it, putting them at risk of illnesses to which they previously had immunity, according to a new study. Measles eliminated between 11% and 73% of children’s protective antibodies, the research found.

There is more information on the Guardian’s website, but the importance of getting the MMR vaccine, correctly and in time, is the main take-away from the article.


Liver cancer deaths rise

Deaths from liver cancer have tripled during the past 20 years, with more than a quarter of cases concentrated in the poorest communities, according to new research.

While the research could not explain the increases, the primary researcher explained there were common risk factors such as drinking alcohol, drug abuse and obesity which are all more common in deprived areas.

Find out more on the Independent website.


Cornwall based authors launch new Mental Health book of short quotes to help others

The book, ‘Fragmented Quotes For A Fragmented Mind‘ has recently been published on Amazon. Authors George Barnes & Ann Williams say it is high impact and is a hard-hitting real life story of their journeys with Bipolar and stress induced anxiety. The book does not paper over the cracks with regards to mental health and gives a very honest account of our experiences shown in short quotes.

‘The ignorance, fear and rejection from family members over your mental anguish leaves a legacy of scars that stitches and plasters can never heal. One day you will learn to forgive them and your hate will be replaced with love for them. Not everyone has the capacity to understand a mental illness. Please don’t judge them on one single action’.

The book is available in Kindle format (£1.99) and also in a print version as well (£4.99) via Amazon.