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Brexit battles and breakthroughs for blindness – this week’s Friday Five

No-deal Brexit threatens potential for innovative digital therapies

TechUK has warned that the full power of innovative digital technologies “will not be achieved” if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

It comes amid concerns that a no-deal BREXIT may be delay the share of health data between the UK and the EU.

“Realising the full economic and social power of advanced, innovative digital technologies will not be achieved without data,” Neil Ross, policy manager at TechUK.

The Department of Health and Social Care has said it is working “closely” with the NHS to ensure continued flow of data after Brexit “whatever the circumstances”.


Gene therapy for rare eye disease will be offered on NHS

NHS patients with the rare genetic eye disorder, inherited retinal dystrophy, will now have access to a new gene therapy which slows down sight loss.

The Novartis therapy, Luxturna, won EU approval last November and until now was available in England for the price tag of £613,410 per patient. NICE has now revealed that the treatment will be available to patients with the eye disorder on the NHS.

NICE estimates that just under 90 people in England will be eligible for the treatment.

Read more in the BBC News

HIV diagnoses in the UK fall to lowest level in nearly 20 years

The number of new diagnoses of HIV has fallen to its lowest level since 2000.

Public Health England (PHE) said that the drop in diagnoses was down to the success of measures such as; HIV testing, condom provision, more use of the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis drug and Anti-Retroviral Therapies.

However, PHE also warned that challenges around the virus remain, with figures showing that almost half the people newly diagnosed last year were at a late stage of infection, increasing their risk of death.

Read more in the Guardian

Teenager goes blind and deaf due to junk food diet

A boy, 17, is believed to be the first in the UK to go deaf and blind due to his diet of chips, crisps, white bread and processed meat.

His poor diet caused a number of vitamin deficiencies and led to the boy developing a condition called Nutritional Optic Neuropathy.

The unnamed patient, from Bristol, also developed hearing loss and bone weakness.

Read more in The Telegraph.


Quote of the week

In an interview with the BBC, Dr David Nicholl, who contributed to the Yellowhammer report said;

“The government is stockpiling body bags for the risk of an increased mortality rate” after a no-deal Brexit.

His warning comes amid several calls from health professionals to address the potential effects of a no-deal Brexit on health services, staffing and supplies.

Read more in The New European.

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