Daily digest June 24 2015

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Living near a noisy road raises risk of early death, warn UK scientists

Living near a noisy road could kill you, scientists have warned, after finding that the stress of traffic sounds raises the risk of dying early.

As reported in the Telegraph, researchers at Imperial College and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found those who lived on the noisiest roads had a greater chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke and dying early.

The over-75s were the most at risk, with their chance of dying over seven years 10% higher than people who lived in quieter neighbourhoods. Younger adults had a 4% increased risk of early death.

In the largest study of its kind, researchers looked at 8.6 million people living in Greater London between 2003 and 2010.

Lead author Dr Jaana Halonen from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said: 'Road traffic noise has previously been associated with sleep problems and increased blood pressure, but our study is the first in the UK to show a link with deaths and strokes.

'This is the largest study of its kind to date, looking at everyone living inside the M25 over a seven-year period. Our findings contribute to the body of evidence suggesting reductions in traffic noise could be beneficial to our health.'

Read more on the Telegraph website

A&E a 'place of terror' for older people, nurses' union congress hears

Overstretched emergency departments are 'places of terror' for older and vulnerable people, the nursing union’s congress has heard.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said there was no longer only a winter crisis but a year-round crisis with older people bearing the brunt, as some were left on trolleys for up to 20 hours, the Guardian has reported.

The NHS has missed its target to see 95% of patients at hospital emergency departments within four hours for the last 100 weeks. RCN general secretary and chief executive Peter Carter said it was clear who was being left waiting longer. 'It’s not people who’ve had road accidents, subarachnoid haemorrhages; it’s older people with respiratory problems,' he said.

'They are the people that end up [spending] eight, 10, 14 increasingly 20 hours on the trolleys. It’s very distressing they haven’t got food, proper toilet facilities. They get very frightened and disconcerted. It doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence if you are on a trolley for hours in a corridor.'

Dr Carter said older people were suffering because emergency departments were being forced to deal with people with mental health problems 'in a chaotic state' as they were not being properly cared for in the community, as well as people drunk or on drugs.

He blamed a loss of 5,500 district nurses (46%) since 2003, the scrapping of NHS direct and its replacement with the much maligned 111 – which led to another 300 nursing jobs being cut – and delayed discharge. He also highlighted independent research, based on 33 hospitals, commissioned by the RCN, suggesting that around a fifth (18%) of permanent nursing posts in A&E departments are unfilled, rising to nearly a quarter (23%) of posts for newly qualified nurses, who account for the majority of nursing staff in emergency departments.

Read more on the Guardian website

Breath test that can identify one of the most deadly cancers in minutes

A breath test has been developed that could give instant diagnosis of two of the most deadly cancers.

As reported in the Daily Mail, the test for cancers of the stomach and the oesophagus, or gullet, can give a diagnosis with 90% accuracy and takes just minutes. Conventional lab tests can take as long as six hours.

The test also prevents the need for an endoscopy, which involves patients having a probe pushed down their throat, and could save the NHS up to £145 million.

Read more on Daily Mail website



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