Breakthrough in Neurodegenrative disease!

Today many of you may have heard about the discovery of the first chemical to prevent the death of brain tissue in neurodegenerative disease. That’s right…scientists have discovered a chemical which has been able to prevent brain cell death in mice. Although more work is needed to develop a drug that can be consumed by a patients this is a turning point in the fight against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and other diseases.

Yes, it is true that many problems can occur on the road from drug for a mice to a drug for a humans. But, this is the first time that a chemical has been discovered to COMPLETELY halt neuro-degeneration which would suggest that this process has a lot of potential. Even though neurodegenerative disease all progress in a different way researches in this case are targeting the way in which the cell deals with the protein misfoldes this means that one drug can become the cure for many diseases!!!

The study, which was published in Science Translational Medicine , showed mice with the disease developed severe memory and movement problems. They died within 12 weeks. However, those given the compound showed no sign of brain tissue wasting away.

Yes there is still a long way until we are able to develop a cure for neurodegenerative diseases but this discovery is big step on the road to finding that cure.

NHS Alert!

While I was reading the news online I came across this rather interesting report.

It has recently come to light that a healthcare worker infected two people with the Hepatitis C virus while working at a Hospital in Wales. As a result hundreds of patients in other areas of Wales who may have come into contact with the health worker are also being contacted, so that they can be diagnosed and effective treatment can be provided if necessary.

The risk of contracting the virus is low as it is   transmitted through blood-to-blood contact and very rarely through sexual intercourse. So a patient can only be affected if the healthcare worker leads or assists in an operation or procedure on the patient but even in such circumstances transmission is very rare. But even if the risk is low tests are being provided as precaution. 

What would you do if a terminally ill patient who was in constant pain asked you on advice on how to end their life?

In the link below I have made a presentation on an ethical questions and how I would tackle it in an interview. The question is:

‘What would you do if a terminally ill patient who was in constant pain asked you on advice on how to end their life?’

Opt Out

You might have recently heard on the news about the new policy that is about to be introduced into to wales. This new organ donation system is intended to work more efficiently where by everyone is an organ donor unless ones family or they themselves object to it. Many people across the country are fully behind this somewhat radical idea others on the other hand are adamantly against it.

But before one does come to a conclusion on which ‘side’ they support it is important to outline the advantages and disadvantages of this procedure and whether or not the advantages hold more weight and thus there is more benefit of this new system than harm.

Now around the country there are over 8,000 people who require some sort of an organ transplant but as many of you may know there are shortages and only about 3,000 transplants are carried our annually. With this new system it could be possible to increase the number of organs available for donation and thus more organ transplant can be carried out annually.  In addition to this due to recent advances in medical science the number of people whose lives can be saved by a transplant is increasing faster than the number of willing donors. However, on the other side of the argument one can argue that the changes would suggest that our bodies will belong to the state as soon as one dies which many people consider offensive.   Also it can be said that the current system is more respectful of the people’s wishes. It is a system where consent can be explicit and thus donation is adequately authorised. Moreover, just because someone fails to opt out it does not mean they are necessarily agree to the donation of their organs as it is possible that the person may just be unorganised , lazy or too scared to think of their death. Presuming that one is comfortable with organ donation can be problematic as at the end of the day we will not have a true image of the situation which may mean that some people’s views are not represented. Lastly, it is a universal idea that a donation is a gift and this may make it easier got a recipient to accept the organ as they know it was given freely and by choice rather than by someone who did not want to donate. This though the new system may result in a large supply of organs it may lead to emotional distress for those who receive these organs.

Having said that personally, I believe that those focusing on the disadvantages of the system are putting too much weight on the sentimental side of situation though we should consider that, in my opinion the benefits of the new system, i.e. more organ donors ergo more transplantations can take place and so people are able to have a better quality of life, outweigh the disadvantages.