A new mobile phone app that helps speed up the detection of a potentially fatal kidney condition has been described as a “potential lifesaver” by hospital staff. The app, known as Streams, is able to detect acute kidney injury in 14 minutes (on average). Until now, this process would have taken at least several hours. This is highly significant as acute kidney injury can begin to affect other organs if it is not treated quickly. One in five people who are admitted to hospital develop acute kidney injury and it leads to around 100,000 deaths in the UK each year. The app works by looking for a waste product called creatinine, something that is normally filtered out by a person’s kidneys. It then sends warning signals to front-line clinicians’ phones if a patient’s blood tests indicate they have acute kidney failure. Streams was developed by the Royal Free Hospital in London and technology firm DeepMind, which is owned by Alphabet. Speaking to the BBC, Mary Emerson, lead nurse specialist at the Royal Free Hospital, said: “It's a huge change to be able to receive alerts about patients anywhere in the hospital. Healthcare is mobile and real time, and this is the first device that has enabled me to see results in a mobile real-time way.” The findings of the app trial are published in the journal Nature Digital Medicine.
Developing a universal blood test for cancer has been one of the biggest goals in medicine ever and now scientists at John Hopkins University have taken a huge step towards achieving it. The team have trialled a test that can detect eight common forms of cancer, with the ultimate goal being to develop an annual test that can catch cancers early and save lives. While more work is needed, experts in the UK have described the breakthrough as “enormously exciting”. The test works by picking up on tiny traces of mutated DNA and proteins released into a person’s bloodstream by tumours. The CancerSEEK test, as it is known, looks for mutations in 16 genes and eight different proteins released by tumours. In a trial involving 1,005 patients with cancers in the stomach, liver, ovary, pancreas, colon, oesophagus, lung or breast, which had not yet spread to other tissues, the test was able to successfully detect 70% of the cancers. The test is particularly exciting as it was able to detect some cancers that currently have no early detection screening programmes. Pancreatic cancer is one area where the test could really make a big difference. At present, four in five pancreatic cancer patients die within the year they are diagnosed. That’s because the disease emits so few symptoms and sufferers are often diagnosed too late. The CancerSEEK test will now be trialled on individuals who have not been diagnosed with cancer. This will be the real measure of its effectiveness and usefulness.
A new study has uncovered further evidence that a close link exists between oral health and chronic diseases; specifically that patients with chronic kidney disease and severe gum disease have a greater risk of death than those with healthy gums. Led by the University of Birmingham in the UK, the study, the results of which were published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, found that oral health definitely isn’t just about teeth, again highlighting the importance of good oral hygiene. Iain Chapple, senior author of the study and a professor in periodontology, said: "The mouth is the doorway to the body, rather than a separate organ, and is the access point for bacteria to enter the bloodstream via the gums." For the research, Chapple and his colleagues analysed data from some 13,734 individuals in the US, of which 6% were found to have chronic kidney disease. The team then assessed the link between severe gum disease and mortality in people with chronic kidney disease. They found that over 10 years, the risk of death for people with chronic kidney disease was increased by 9% if they also had periodontitis (severe gum disease). Professor Chapple said that the most worrying fact is that people with periodontitis often don’t know they have it. A little bit of blood when they brush their teeth is often dismissed as normal, but if they don’t have it checked out further they could be risking problems in the rest of their bodies.
A new study has found that a catheter placed in the vein under the collarbone appears to lower the risk of infections and clots in an intensive care unit patient’s bloodstream. In fact, according to the researchers behind the study, it lowered those risks by two to three times in comparison to catheters placed in other areas, such as the large vein in the groin or the jugular vein in the neck. Catheter-related infections usually occur as a result of bacteria on the skin which attach themselves to it as it’s inserted and find their way into the patient’s bloodstream. Despite placing a catheter in the vein under the collarbone being the preferred method, according to the study, a lot depends on the skill of the individual placing it. Ultrasound is inevitably used to guide the procedure and this reduces the risk of a patient encountering a problem like a collapsed lung. Lead researcher Dr. Jean-Jacques Parienti, from the department of biostatistics and clinical research at the Cote de Nacre University Hospital in Caen, France, said: "The [under the collarbone] route is the safest for the patient, provided that everything is done to reduce the risk of mechanical complications during insertion." The findings of the study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine on September 24. Photo via: National Cancer Institute
Scientists have developed a way of flushing HIV out of its hiding places in the body using a cancer drug, combating its survival mechanism and killing it in the bloodstream. Dormant HIV reservoirs are targeted by the “highly potent” cancer drug and while more testing is needed, experts have described the treatment as “interesting”. Researchers at the UC Davis School of Medicine in California believe that a skin cancer drug known as PEP005 may be able to “kick and kill” these hidden HIV reservoirs. At present, anti-retroviral therapy – the “cornerstone” of cancer treatment – kills HIV in the bloodstream, but leaves its reservoirs untouched. According to their report, "PEP005 is highly potent in reactivating latent HIV". It’s one of a number of "lead compounds for combating HIV". It’s the “kick and kill” strategy that interests scientists the most. The kick effectively wakes up the dormant virus allowing the drugs to kill it. Dr Satya Dandekar, who led the research study, said: "We are excited to have identified an outstanding candidate for HIV reactivation and eradication that is already approved and is being used in patients. "This molecule has great potential to advance into translational and clinical studies." The down side is that the drug has still not yet been tested in people who are HIV-positive. So while the research carries immense amounts of potential, a significant amount of testing and further investigation is needed.
GREEN LASER Green Laser vaporisation of prostate adenoma is a way to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy. It is performed under anaesthetic using keyhole surgery (without opening and along the channel ) with ultrasound guidance. This intervention aims to improve urination (power and quality of the urinary stream) by removing the obstruction caused by the prostate). The consequences of this treatment are: urgent needs, blood in the urine, some mictional pain during the healing phase (which can last up to 2-3 months) and a permanent loss of ejaculation but no erectile disorder and pleasure being unchanged. The limitations of this technique are: imperfect and incomplete results when the prostate is large (>60g) suboptimal indication (insufficient obstruction and predominant irritative complaint) urgent, frequent needs… absence of histopathologic analysis of the vaporised tissue The advantage of this laser treatment is to reduce bleeding, simplify and reduce postoperative recoveries when compared with other techniques and to allow ultrasound monitoring to check the optimal nature of the intervention. It also allows to use saline serum to reduce the risks associated with the use of other irrigation fluids. This technique also allows the maintenance of some anti-platelet drugs (Aspirin…) but require VKA anticoagulant to possibly be stopped.
Despite being the most popular tourist destination in the world, with approximately 84 million visitors last year alone, France is set to receive massive investment in its tourism industry under ambitious new plans from the French government. The government of France want to see visitor numbers rise to a spectacular 100 million by 2020 and are determined to achieve this by investing “hundreds of millions of euros” in hotels and other tourist establishments across the country. France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, said: "Tourism is a national treasure. When you ask people around the world 'where they want to go?' 'France' is always the first answer.” The new campaign will see the French Ministry of Affairs pushing for more shops and dining establishments open on Sundays. Border police will also be encouraged to be more polite and say “hello” and “thank you” during passport checks. Existing experiences will also be streamlined under the new plans, with the issuance of visas, paperless city passes and very-high-speed Internet access in popular tourist destinations all features. Fabius added: "We have to educate people so that they speak different languages, we need a publicity campaign on television, and we need to make sure people receive a good welcome when they arrive at airports.” The French government’s proposed plans for the tourism industry are fantastic news for our patients and will no doubt make their stay with us even more enjoyable.
It had a budget of 55 million euros, involved 35 companies and hundreds of workers, but now after two and a half years, the famous prehistoric Chauvet Caves were finally inaugurated by French President François Hollande on Friday. Discovered in 1994 by amateur explorers Jean-Marie Chauvet, Eliette Brunel and Christian Hillaire, the Chauvet Caves are thought to be the world’s oldest known caves decorated with human paintings and are estimated to date back about 36,000 years to the Aurignacian era. Experts believe that the caves were sealed shut by a rockfall around 23,000 years ago and remained that way until they were discovered in 1994. The walls of the caves are adorned with over 1,000 images and thee site was given Unesco World Heritage status in 2014. Situated in Vallon Pont d’Arc in the Ardèche region of south-east France, the replica caves are only a few kilometres from the original and while modern-day humans will never get to the see the original cave’s paintings, the replica is 3,500 square metres of Stone Age animal paintings, engravings and red dots. Anyone wishing to pay a visit can do so from April 25 this year. For more information about how France Surgery can facilitate a number of medical procedures and afford a relaxing recovery period here in France, contact us today. Photo credit: EOL Learning and Education Group
We’ve got some fantastic news for museum fans and art lovers alike today because the Musée du Louvre in Paris – the world’s most visited art museum – has just announced that it will be introducing a flat 15-euro fee, which will give visitors full access to both its permanent collections and temporary exhibits and create “better synergy” between all its components. The Louvre drew a staggering 9.26 million visitors in 2014 alone and the museum believes that figure could reach an astonishing 12 million by 2025. More surprising is the fact that 70 percent of its visitors are foreign tourists who come especially to see some of the world’s most famous masterpieces such as the Vénus de Milo and, of course, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. In contrast, domestic visitors tend to skip the permanent collections and instead favour the temporary exhibits. In an official press release last week, the Museum said: “"For the past 18 months, the Louvre has been working on trying to create better balance and stronger links between the permanent collections and the temporary exhibits.” At present, visitors to the Louvre pay 12 euros for the permanent collections, 13 euros for entrance to a temporary exhibit and 16 euros for a combined ticket. The new 15-euro flat fee will take effect on July 1 and brings the Louvre more in line with other famous art museums across the world. To find out how you can undergo a world-class medical procedure here in France and experience the majesty of the Louvre as part of your recovery, contact us today. Photo credit: Dennis Jarvis
La Rochelle is a beautiful city that sits in the western part of France, next to the Atlantic Ocean. Due to its positioning La Rochelle has a naturally Oceanic climate which remains fairly mild throughout the year due to the Gulf Stream waters. Arguably this is the perfect type of climate if you are choosing somewhere to relax and recover from surgery, no extreme cold and no extreme heat to contend with. This classic city boasts the ‘Old Harbour’ and many city walls which are still intact, so you can enjoy a relaxing walk around sightseeing during the day or a stroll and enjoy the fine cuisine in one of the many seafood restaurants. If you find water calming and soothing why not take a boating trip to the Ile d’Aix or Fort Boyard. If having your feet on land is more your thing then La Rochelle has numerous attractions to tempt you. Numerous museums are on offer ranging from the aquatic theme of the Aquarium of La Rochelle and the Maritime Museum to the Natural History Museum and the Museum of the New World. You can also experience the gothic and renaissance periods of La Rochelle by visiting the three Towers of Rochelle, the Town Hall, the Cathedral and the Law Courts. If you simply want to enjoy a bit of time to yourself to recover from surgery then taking in the breath-taking scenery of the many parks and gardens will be more your cup of tea. Photo Credit: La Rochelle Facebook Page
Just over a month away is Bastille Day. Held annually on July 14, Bastille Day is the French national holiday and commemorates the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789 – the beginning of the French Revolution. The Bastille was not only a prison but also an iconic symbol of Louis the 16th’s absolute power. By capturing the Bastille, the people of France showed that Louis’s power was not absolute and power should be based on the nation. However, don’t think that the storming of the Bastille triggered streams of prisoners to flea out of the building. At the time, the Bastille only housed seven inmates and the event would become more poignant for its symbolism of liberty and the fight against oppression. This historic event complements the Tricolore flag perfectly as both symbolise liberty, equality and fraternity for every French citizen. It brought about the birth of the first republic in 1792 and marked an end to the unquestionable power of the monarchy. And what better way to celebrate such an iconic event than in the country where it all happened? There’s still plenty of time to arrange a visit to France and experience for yourself the passion that a national event such as this arouses. Photo credits: © lifeofriley - Fotolia.com & Embassy of France in Washington