Category Archives: Medical

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Report reveals health impact of air pollution

Particles in air pollution cause a wide range of damaging effects to the cardiovascular system, according to a landmark new report.
Air Pollution photo

The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) report found that air pollution can cause damage to the cardiovascular system in the following ways:

  • increasing blood pressure
  • making the blood more likely to clot
  • the build-up of fatty materials inside the arteries, reducing the space through which blood can flow – also known as atherosclerosis
  • altering the heart’s normal electrical rhythm – also referred to as arrhythmias
  • causing inflammatory effects on the cardiovascular system – or systemic inflammation.

COMEAP advises the government on all matters concerning the health effects of air pollutants and this new report marks the most comprehensive review to date, examining the studies conducted over the past decade on the potential biological mechanisms by which exposure to air pollution results in adverse cardiovascular health effects.

In the report, COMEAP found clear evidence that exposure to small particles of air pollution has a wide range of effects on the cardiovascular system, including irregular heartbeat and blood clots. The COMEAP report also provides recommendations where new research is needed to get a more precise understanding of the impact of air pollution on cardiovascular health.

It follows the publication of a COMEAP report in July this year, which estimated that long-term exposure to the air pollution mixture in the UK contributes to between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths every year. The WHO also estimate that almost six in ten deaths related to outdoor air pollution being caused by a heart attack or stroke.

British Heart Foundation (BHF) Chief Executive Simon Gillespie said: “This thorough report gives us a clear view of the damaging impact air pollution has on our heart and circulatory system. While there are steps that people can take to reduce their exposure to air pollution we can’t expect people to move house to avoid air pollution – Government and public bodies must be acting right now to make all areas safe and protect people from these harms.

“We were reassured to see that the Government’s draft clean air strategy had a focus on health, but we need a commitment to WHO guideline limits for particulate air pollution in UK law to drive action to better protect the nation from the damage to health caused by air pollution.

“Having these targets in law will also help to improve the lives of those currently living with heart and circulatory diseases, as we know they are particularly affected by air pollution.”

Click here to read the COMEAP’s report.

Laserase Bolton celebrates charity cake bake success

Amateur bakers from Bolton and beyond put on their aprons and whipped up some cake sensations for the Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake at Laserase Bolton recently.

Dorret Conway announcing the winnersof the Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake

Dorret Conway announcing the winnersof the Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake

Dorret Conway, one of the participants in this year’s Great British Bake Off, was one of the judges for the competition, along with Janet Marshall, cake development expert at Park Cakes in Bolton, and Keith Wallis, Senior Head Chef at the four star Holiday Inn Bolton Centre.

Dorret said: “It was lovely to be invited to judge the Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake at Laserase Bolton and it’s certainly much more fun this side of the table! There were some amazing cakes and it is fantastic to see people making such an effort and getting so much pleasure out of baking.”

The event was organised to raise awareness of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and to raise money for national charity Verity – which supports women whose lives are affected by Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – and the Gynaecology and Dermatology departments of the Royal Bolton Hospital, which help women with this syndrome.

There were five categories in the Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake: the Best Decorated Cake Award; the Tastiest Cake Award; the Most Creative Cake Award; the Young Baker Award and the Biggest Cake Catastrophe Award. There was also a Best Cake in the Competition Award.

Dorret Conway announced the results and prizes included afternoon tea for two at Slattery’s, a family run patissier and chocolatier in Whitefield, and dinner for two at the Holiday Inn Bolton Centre. An auction for a cake baked specially by Dorret, covered in cute white chocolate frogs, raised £50. Park Cakes kindly donated a superb cake for the charity raffle promoting PCOS, which was won by the hospital, and 2chefspassion donated a wonderful cake for the ‘guess the weight of the cake’ competition, which was won by 12 year old Abbie, who guessed 2.2kg when the weight was 2.3kg The cake bake was followed by a charity cake sale and afternoon tea.

Janet Marshall from Park Cakes said: “It’s nice to see that so many people still bake at home and to such a high standard – and it was great that there were entries from young people and both men and women.”

Keith Wallis added: “I very much enjoyed helping to judge the Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake. There were some very interesting flavours, which was a nice surprise, and all in all it was a very good day.”

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects millions of women. The symptoms of PCOS include ovarian cysts, irregular periods, difficulty getting pregnant, weight gain, excessive hair growth on the face and body, hair loss from the head, acne and the increased risk of getting certain types of cancer.

Julie Kershaw, Clinic Manager at Laserase Bolton, said: “We were delighted to welcome people to the clinic and to raise over £300 for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and the Gynaecology and Dermatology departments of the hospital. We were pleased that so many people took the time to enter their cakes and to come along, and we would like to thank all those involved, especially Dorret and our other judges, for making it such a special occasion.”

Laserase Bolton is one of the leading laser clinics in the North West of England and has been established for over 20 years. It offers a range of treatments for PCOS sufferers, including laser hair reduction for treating excessive hair growth using the Soprano XL laser, and a number of treatments for managing acne, including NLite laser, AFT 420 pulsed light and medical skin peels. The clinic also offers a number of treatment products to ensure optimum results. All treatments are carried out by highly-experienced medical professionals following a free, no-obligation consultation.

To find out more about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and the help available please visit www.verity-pcos.org.uk. There are also a number of informal local support groups around the country for women with PCOS to make contact with others in their area. The nearest local group to Bolton is in Manchester. To find out when and where they meet, or for information on other local support groups, email localgroups@verity-pcos.org.uk.

Judges Announced for Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake

The judges have been revealed for the Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake, which takes place at Laserase Bolton on Saturday 10th October.

Dorret Conway, one of the participants in this year’s Great British Bake Off, will lead a team of three judges, which also includes Janet Marshall, cake development expert at Park Cakes in Bolton, and Keith Wallis, Senior Head Chef at the four star Holiday Inn Bolton Centre.

The Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake and Cake Sale takes place at Laserase Bolton, opposite the ambulance station on the Royal Bolton Hospital site, on Saturday October 10th from 2.00pm to 4.30pm. It aims to raise awareness of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and to raise money for national charity Verity – which supports women whose lives are affected by Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – and the Gynaecology and Dermatology departments of the hospital, which help women with this syndrome.

Born in Preston to Jamaican parents, 54 year old Dorret Conway is a self-confessed foodie. Brought up on authentic Jamaican cooking meant a very limited exposure to cakes and desserts, so learning to bake at school opened up a whole new world for Dorret and has continued to be a major part of her life. Dorret works as an accountant and her dream is to go to the Cordon Bleu School in Paris and to have a career in food. To kick start this new direction in her life, Dorret is available to run baking parties locally and is always happy to give talks on cooking.

Janet Marshall has worked for Park Cakes since 1987, mainly in product development, developing cakes and desserts for Marks and Spencer. Before moving to Park Cakes, Janet worked in a small craft bakery making wedding cakes and novelty birthday cakes. Janet has travelled America and Europe seeking new and exciting cake ideas, and has spent the last 28 years innovating and launching various cakes for all of the major multiple retailers. Janet has always had a passion for baking and has a food science degree from Manchester University.

Keith Wallis first trained to be a chef at South Trafford College and, after qualifying, has had a varied career, working in all types of hotel and restaurant. He has spent the last 20 years plus working at different Holiday Inns around the country. He now works at the Holiday Inn Bolton Centre, where he has put his years of experience to good use, developing a friendly and professional team. Keith was instrumental in bringing the Afternoon Tea to Holiday Inn Bolton Centre, which has been a great success.

There are four categories open to everyone in the Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake: the Best Decorated Cake Award; the Tastiest Cake Award; the Most Creative Cake Award and the Biggest Cake Catastrophe Award. There will also be a Best Cake in the Competition Award. As the charity’s colour is purple, bakers might like to incorporate some purple into their entry, but this is not obligatory. Entry costs £5 for adults and £2.50 for children. The Cake Bake judging will be followed by a cake sale to raise much-needed funds for the charities and refreshments will be available, so if you can’t bake, you can buy instead.

Julie Kershaw, Clinic Manager at Laserase Bolton, says: “We’re hoping that lots of people will come along to the Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake on Saturday 10th October with their home baked masterpieces (or catastrophes!) for this fun and worthwhile event and to meet our judges, who are looking forward to tasting lots of delicious cake creations!”

To sign up to the Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake and to make a donation visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/bigboltoncharitycakebake or contact Laserase Bolton for an application form on 01204 570900 or email admin@laserase-bolton.co.uk.

“The Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake aims to raise awareness of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and of the PCOS charity, Verity, which helps to improve the lives of women living with the illness,” explains Julie Kershaw. “Every year at Laserase Bolton, we treat a number of women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome for excess hair growth and acne, but many are unaware that, for excess hair growth for example, NHS funding may be available. Working with the Royal Bolton Hospital’s Gynaecology and Dermatology departments, we aim to better direct women in Bolton to get the help and treatment they need.”

Cakes should be dropped off at Laserase Bolton, 71 Redgate Way, Farnworth, Bolton, BL4 0JL (on the Royal Bolton Hospital site opposite the ambulance station) between 11.30am and 1.30pm on the day and must include a label with your name and telephone number and the category in which you are entering. The event will be open to the public from 2.00pm and the winning cakes will be announced around 3.00pm. This will be followed by a charity auction of the winning cakes and a sale of the other cakes.

Get baking for the Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake!

Could you rise to the occasion and whip up a treat to beat the opposition in the Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake.

Laserase Bolton and Bolton NHS Charitable Fund are organising a charity cake baking competition in aid of both the national charity Verity – which supports women whose lives are affected by Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – and the Gynaecology and Dermatology departments of the hospital who also help women with this syndrome – and they’re looking for entries.

The Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake and Cake Sale takes place at Laserase Bolton (opposite the ambulance station on the Royal Bolton Hospital site) on Saturday October 10th from 2.00pm to 4.30pm. It aims to raise awareness of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and to raise money for the charity and Bolton NHS Charitable Fund.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects millions of women. The symptoms of PCOS include ovarian cysts, irregular periods, difficulty getting pregnant, weight gain, excessive hair growth on the face and body, hair loss from the head, acne and the increased risk of getting certain types of cancer. The exact cause of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is unknown, but it is thought to be related to abnormal hormone levels and, although PCOS can’t be cured, the symptoms can be managed.

Julie Kershaw, Clinic Manager at Laserase Bolton, says: “Many women with this embarrassing and isolating condition are often unaware of the support available. The Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake aims to raise awareness of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and of the PCOS charity, Verity, which was established in 1997 to share information and improve the lives of women living with the illness.

“Every year at Laserase Bolton, we treat a number of women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome for excess hair growth and acne, but many are unaware that, for excess hair growth for example, NHS funding may be available. Working with the Royal Bolton Hospital’s Gynaecology and Dermatology departments, we aim to better direct women in Bolton to get the help and treatment they need.”

There are four categories open to everyone in the Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake: the Best Decorated Cake Award; the Tastiest Cake Award; the Most Creative Cake Award and the Biggest Cake Catastrophe Award. There will also be a Best Cake in the Competition Award. As the charity’s colour is purple, bakers might like to incorporate some purple into their entry, but this is not obligatory. Entry costs £5 for adults and £2.50 for children.

The Cake Bake judging will be followed by a cake sale to raise much-needed funds for the charities and refreshments will be available, so if you can’t bake, you can buy instead.

Julie Kershaw adds: “We’re hoping that local people will really get behind us for this fun and worthwhile event so, to get a slice of the action, bring along your cake creations to the Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake on Saturday October 10th!”

To sign up to the Big Bolton Charity Cake Bake and to make a donation visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/bigboltoncharitycakebake or contact Laserase Bolton for an application form on 01204 570900 or email admin@laserase-bolton.co.uk.

Cakes should be dropped off Laserase Bolton, 71 Redgate Way, Farnworth, Bolton, BL4 0JL (on the Royal Bolton Hospital site opposite the ambulance station) between 11.30am and 1.30pm on the day and must include a label with your name and telephone number and the category in which you are entering. The event will be open to the public from 2.00pm and the winning cakes will be announced around 3.00pm. This will be followed by a charity auction of the winning cakes and a sale of the other cakes.

Laserase Bolton is one of the leading laser clinics in the North West of England and has been established for over 20 years. It offers a range of treatments for PCOS sufferers, including laser hair reduction for treating excessive hair growth using the Soprano XL laser, and a number of treatments for managing acne, including NLite laser, AFT 420 pulsed light and medical skin peels. The clinic also offers a number of treatment products to ensure optimum results. All treatments are carried out by highly-experienced medical professionals following a free, no-obligation consultation.

To find out more about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and the help available please visit www.verity-pcos.org.uk. There are also a number of informal local support groups around the country for women with PCOS to make contact with others in their area. The nearest local group to Bolton is in Manchester. To find out when and where they meet, or for information on other local support groups, email localgroups@verity-pcos.org.uk.

Liverpool stars in bone marrow donor push

Players from Liverpool FC are backing a new bid to find more bone marrow donors.

The club will host an event at the Anfield stadium on March 25 to encourage more people to sign up as donors. Volunteers will be asked to give a small saliva sample to join the bone marrow register.

Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones and his partner Dani Lawrence are supporting the event, which is being organised in partnership with Anthony Nolan.

Brad has remained a passionate supporter of the charity since his son Luca was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2010 and passed away in November 2011.

Dani, who is an Anthony Nolan ambassador, said: “We are delighted that LFC is backing this event to help raise more awareness of blood cancer. Luca was a happy and healthy four year-old boy when he got diagnosed with leukaemia. You never think it will happen to your family but, if it does you, hope that there’s enough people who have become potential donors to give your loved one another chance at life.

“We particularly need young men aged 16-30 to sign up as they account for 80% of bone marrow donations, yet make up just 12% of our register.”

The event is also being backed by Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva and the Liverpool FC Foundation, which will provide volunteers on the day.

Mark Haig, Liverpool FC Foundation’s head of operations, said: “In supporting Anthony Nolan it gives our community the chance to help others. We urge as many people to come down to Anfield and take advantage of this opportunity to make a difference in combating cancer.”

The event will take place at the Reds Lounge in the Centenary Stand at Anfield Stadium from 3pm until 7pm. A raffle will also be held, with prizes including a signed shirt from the Liverpool first team and a bike donated by the Liverpool FC Foundation.

Anyone who wishes to join the register but who is unable to attend the event can sign up online at http://www.anthonynolan.org/spit.

Rare disease care coordinators save doctors’ time

Rare Disease UK (RDUK) is today launching a report Rare disease care coordination: delivering value, improving services at a parliamentary reception in Westminster, that shows that the provision of care coordinators for people with rare diseases is not only good for the patients but offers value for money for health providers.

Photo of Rebecca Kinge with her son Ethan

Rebecca Kinge with her son Ethan

The launch of the report has been timed to coincide with international Rare Disease Day which this year takes place on the 28th February. Rare diseases affect 3.5 million people in the UK (1 in 17).

RDUK’s report shows that just 13% of patients with rare diseases have access to someone to fulfil the care coordinator role.

This figure compares, for example, to 87% of people with cancer who are given the name of a clinical nurse specialist, whose role includes coordination.

At RDUK we often hear that patients and families have nobody to coordinate the multiple elements of care and treatment that their condition needs. This can mean that they do not receive the information and support that they need, that they have to tell their story over and over to health professionals, or that they feel lost in the healthcare system.

RDUK has found strong evidence that care coordinators represent value for money by saving consultants and GP’s time, reducing hospital admissions and reducing the length of hospital stays. Having a care coordinator in post improves the quality of care patients receive.

The Chair of Rare Disease UK, Alastair Kent OBE said: “All too often patients with rare diseases are left to find information about their condition on
their own with no support or guidance from health professionals. Our research shows how cost effective to the NHS Care Coordinators are, and how they can truly improve the quality of life for patients and families. It is vital that our findings are taken into consideration when planning and managing services for those affected by rare diseases because without Care
Coordinators the evidence suggests a less than satisfactory outcome for everyone.”

The full report can be downloaded here
http://www.raredisease.org.uk/documents/RDUK-Care-Coordinator-Report.pdf

Can medical English be easily understood?

A recent BBC Radio 4 programme, Inside Health, had an interesting piece about how medical or scientific English was very accurate but often not understood by end users, in this case patients.

This sums up an important issue for those of us interested in both accurate and engaging copy, especially for charities – be they medical, or not. How do you ensure that the copy you write is both easily digested by the reader and, at the same time, accurate?

The important thing to remember in any piece of communication is appropriateness. All communications should first analyse who the reader (or listener, or viewer is) and then be produced accordingly.

This might sound so obvious, but it is so easily overlooked. In busy organisations, there is often not the time to think over a document, blog post or website before it goes to the printers or is uploaded. The trick is to build in enough time to do some testing on your intended audience.

“The luxury of time”, though can be the difference between someone engaging with your charity’s website, for example, or for them clicking on something more interesting. So getting your words right, really might pay dividends.