Risk of blood clot increases for up to six months after having virus study finds
People are at an increased risk of developing serious blood clots for up to six months after having COVID-19, a new study has found. The risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) was “significantly increased” for three months after catching coronavirus, according to researchers.
For six months after being infected, there is a greater chance of developing a blocked blood vessel in the lungs, called a pulmonary embolism, and for two months people are at a greater risk of bleeding. The findings, published in the British Medical Journal, show people with underlying health problems are most at risk, along with those with more severe Covid symptoms. They also found the risk of blood clots decreased in the second and third waves of the pandemic. Researchers said this could reflect the role of vaccines and treatments, particularly for older people, in reducing their chances of suffering complications.
The authors of the study said: “Our findings arguably support thromboprophylaxis (preventative treatment) to avoid thrombotic events, especially for high-risk patients, and strengthen the importance of vaccination against COVID-19,”
Read the full story in Sky News.
More than a third of British cancer patients are diagnosed in A&E
More patients are diagnosed with cancer in A&E in Britain than in other comparable high-income countries, according to the first major study of its kind. Cancer data often has a time lag – the data was collected between 2012 and 2017 – but Cancer Research UK said it feared the outlook is now even worse after the Covid-19 pandemic.
More than a third of patients in England, Scotland and Wales only find out they have the disease once they are in hospital, the research published in the Lancet Oncology journal suggests. People who end up in A&E, sometimes after multiple trips to their GP, are less likely to survive the disease, particularly if they have stomach, bowel, liver, pancreatic, lung or ovarian cancer.
Michelle Mitchell, CEO of Cancer Research UK, said “The UK is already lagging when it comes to cancer survival – this study helps us understand why, showing that countries with higher levels of emergency presentations have lower survival. If we want to build a world-class cancer service, we need to learn from comparable countries and ensure fewer patients are being diagnosed with cancer after an emergency referral or trip to A&E. We’d like to see governments across the UK take bold action on this within their cancer plans so that by 2032, fewer than 10% of cancer cases are diagnosed through emergency routes.”
Read the full story in The Guardian.
New blood test predicts risk of heart attack and stroke with twice previous accuracy
Scientists have developed a blood test that can predict whether someone is at high risk of a heart attack, stroke, heart failure or dying from one of these conditions within the next four years. The test, which relies of measurements of proteins in the blood, has roughly twice the accuracy of existing risk scores. It could enable doctors to determine whether patients’ existing medications are working or whether they need additional drugs to reduce their risk.
It could also be used to hasten the development of new cardiovascular drugs by providing a faster means of assessing whether drug candidates are working during clinical trials. The test is already being used in four healthcare systems within the US and Williams hopes it could be introduced to the UK in the near future. Importantly, the test can also accurately assess risk in people who have previously had a heart attack or stroke, or have additional illnesses, and are taking drugs to reduce their risk, which is where existing risk prediction scores tend to fall down.
Prof Manuel Mayr, the British Heart Foundation professor of cardiovascular proteomics at King’s College London, said: “Proteins are the building blocks of our body. This study provides measurements for a quarter of all proteins that are encoded by our genes, which has become possible because of emerging, new technologies that allow measurement of thousands of proteins and offers new opportunities to assess risk in patients.”
Read the full story in The Guardian.
Calories now appear on menus in large restaurant chains
Restaurants, cafes and takeaways with more than 250 staff must print how many calories are in meals on their menus, websites, and on delivery platforms. The new rule is part of government plans to tackle obesity by helping people to make healthier choices. The Department of Health and Social Care said obesity was one of the biggest health issues the country faced and that food labelling played an important role in helping people make healthier choices.
However, the new rules have faced criticism as restaurants fear it will increase their costs, while an eating disorder charity says it could contribute to harmful thoughts and behaviours. Making calories on menus mandatory can contribute to harmful eating disorder thoughts and behaviours worsening, according to Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity.
Tom Quinn, the charity’s director of external affairs, said that labelling calories on menus can “Increase a fixation on restricting calories for those with anorexia or bulimia, or increase feelings of guilt for those with binge eating disorder…There is also very limited evidence that the legislation will lead to changed eating habits among the general population.”
Read the full story in the BBC News.