ASH Daily News for 4 May 2018


Death rate of under-fives in UK is among the worst in Europe with British youngsters twice as likely to die as those living in Sweden

A study led by University College London (UCL) has found that the UK has one of the highest child mortality rates in Western Europe. They found that British youngsters under five are 50% more likely to die than those in Sweden, with the rate around 25% higher than in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Experts stated that obesity, unhealthy diets and smoking during pregnancy may help to explain the difference.

British mums-to-be are more likely to be overweight or smoke during pregnancy, than their counterpart in other West European countries. Furthermore women who smoke are 27% more likely to have a miscarriage (RCP, 1992) and smoking increases the risk of stillbirth by 47% (Marufu et al, 2015).

See also: Child mortality in England compared with Sweden: a birth cohort study

See also: Maternal smoking and the risk of still birth: systematic review and meta-analysis

Source: Daily Mail, 3 May 2018

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Experts have developed an online tool that can calculate your risk of lung cancer

Mens X Machina have developed a handy calculator which has been hailed as the first test that can predict the risk of lung cancer in those not deemed at high-risk, including light smokers and the young. Tests have shown to be nearly 90% accurate.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, told MailOnline: ‘The lung cancer calculator is a great idea. Any heavy smoker with a persistent cough, whatever age they are, needs to know it’s an early warning sign. Stopping smoking is the single most important step you can take to improve both the quality and the quantity of your life. Don’t wait to be tested to quit.’

Oluf Dimitri Røe, senior oncologist at the Department of Oncology, Levanger Hospital in Trøndelag county came up with the idea of using data from the large Norwegian HUNT study to find the right combination of risk factors that could predict lung cancer with high accuracy. HUNT, the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study, has collected large amounts of health data during three different periods from most of the residents of Nord Trøndelag county. The database contains information on nearly 120,000 people.

Researchers are now working on other methods of spotting lung cancer early, including a simple blood test that could be used alongside the tool. This could then provide even clearer results and further reduce the number of people who need to undergo repeated CT scans.

See also: HUNT Lung Cancer Risk Model

Source: Daily Mail Online, 3 April 2018

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Video comparing healthy lungs with lungs of a smoker goes viral on Facebook

A shocking video showing the reality of what smoking does to your lungs has gone viral.

On one side of the footage, a pair of red-coloured, healthy lungs – taken from someone who has never smoked before – are shown inflating and deflating as normal. Meanwhile, a much larger, black and cancer-ridden set that belonged to someone who smoked a packet of cigarettes a day for years are shown failing to properly inflate.

Posted on Facebook by Nurse Amanda Eller, from North Carolina, the video compares one set of healthy lungs with those of a full-time smoker and has since been shared more than 500,000 times. The clip visually shows the damage that smoking does to the functionality of human lungs, which shocked many Facebook users.

Source: The Independent, 3 April 2018

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USA: Virtual reality game may support teens to say no to e-cigarettes

A new virtual reality game, called smokeSCREEN VR, is being tested to address the challenges that teens face when it comes to social pressures and the use of e-cigarettes.

The pilot program will investigate how well virtual reality has the ability to influence perception and the experience of peer pressure. If successful, it will be the first of many VR games created by the Yale Center to address health education and behavioural intervention in adolescents and young adults. The pilot is funded in part by Oculus, a division of Facebook, is a collaboration between PreviewLabs and Play4Real lab, a new division under Yale’s Center for Health and Learning Games.

Source: CNBC, 3 April 2018

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