Jul 29, 2020

How the Government is planning to tackle obesity in England

Kayleigh Shooter
2 min
donut in one hand, apple in the
Healthcare Global takes a look at how the English Government is planning to tackle obesity after it unveiled its latest strategy...

 The UK government has recently unveiled its latest plans to try and tackle obesity in the country. 

Obesity is when someone carries excessive body fat or weight. This normally occurs when you consume too many calories on a regular basis, when you are not sleeping enough, when your medication causes you to gain excessive weight and finally, if you lead a sedentary lifestyle. A sedentary lifestyle is when you complete little to no physical activity.

Obesity can have detrimental effects on your physical health. It can increase risk for medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, this can have life threatening consequences such as heart failure and heart attacks due to the extra strain on the heart from carrying the extra weight.

To decrease your risk factor you can adopt healthy eating and an active lifestyle. Unfortunately for some people, obesity can be caused simply by genes, however leading a healthy lifestyle will decrease the risk.

The Government has decided to ban TV and online adverts promoting food that is high in fat, sugar or salt before 9 at night. Secondly, they have imposed a ban on buy one get one free deals on unhealthy foods that are high in fat, salt or sugar. In addition, restaurants now have to display calories on their menus to allow people to make healthier choices when eating out. 

They could also be made to display calories on alcoholic beverages that contain “hidden liquid calories.” 

The Government said that they are taking this action after a “COVID-19 wake up call” the measures are being installed to allow people to protect themselves against the virus whilst remaining fit and healthy.

They are also planning to unveil a new weight management service from the National Health Service, this will also include more self care applications and online tools to aid people with obesity.

Do you think these measures will aid us on the road to combating obesity? Let us know by tweeting us at @HealthcareDig

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Jun 15, 2021

 NHS trials test that predicts sepsis 3 days in advance 

2 min
Queen Alexandra Hospital is trialling a new sepsis test by Presymptom Health that uses machine learning to detect the onset of the disease

A new test that can predict sepsis before the patient develops symptoms is being trialled at a National Health Service (NHS) hospital in the south of England. 

Clinicians at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital are leading medical trials of the blood test, which they hope will help them save thousands of lives a year. 

The test is being developed by government spin-out company Presymptom Health, but the research began over 10 years ago at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). This included a study of 4,385 patients and more than 70,000 samples, the largest study of its kind at the time. 

From the samples taken, a clinical biobank and database were generated and then mined using machine learning to identify biomarker signatures that could predict the onset of sepsis. The researchers found they were able to provide an early warning of sepsis up to three days ahead of illness with an accuracy of up to 90%.

Unlike most other tests, Presymptom Health identifies the patient’s response to the disease as opposed to detecting the pathogen. This is an important differentiator, as sepsis occurs as a result of the patient's immune system’s overreaction to an infection or injury, which can then cause life-threatening organ dysfunction. 

Worldwide, an estimated 49 million people a year contract sepsis, while in the UK almost two million patients admitted to hospital each year are thought to be at risk of developing the condition. If Presymptom's test is effective, it could save billions of pounds globally and improve clinical outcomes for millions of sepsis patients.

The initial trials at Queen Alexandra Hospital will last 12 months, with two other sites planned to go live this summer. Up to 600 patients admitted to hospital with respiratory tract infections will be given the option to participate in the trial. The data collected will be independently assessed and used to refine and validate the test, which could be available for broader NHS use within two years. 

If successful, this test could also identify sepsis arising from other infections before symptoms appear, which could potentially include future waves of COVID-19 and other pandemics.

Dr Roman Lukaszewski, the lead Dstl scientist behind the innovation, said: “It is incredible to see this test, which we had originally begun to develop to help service personnel survive injury and infection on the front line, is now being used for the wider UK population, including those fighting COVID-19.”

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