This week's Friday Five: 30/9/22


Existing cholesterol drug slows tumour growth in prostate cancer


Results from a clinical trial of 12 cancer patients in Scotland found that tumour growth is slowed when statins are given alongside hormone therapy.

As statins are an already approved and commonly used medicine, this treatment could be rolled out quickly if further trials are successful. However more research is needed on a larger sample of patients.

Leader of the research, Professor Hing Leung of Glasgow's Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute said: "Our study is the first of its kind to show statins having a detectable effect on prostate cancer growth in patients."

Read the full story in Sky News.


Undercover investigation at Manchester mental health hospital reveals patient safety issues

A BBC panorama journalist who worked undercover as a healthcare assistant in a Manchester mental health unit found gross failures from staff to protect vulnerable patients.

The reporter saw staff mocking and abusing patients, patients being unnecessarily restrained, the over-use of seclusion rooms, missed observations and falsification of patient records. Some patients had been held in seclusion rooms for almost a year.

Alan Haslam, who worked undercover on the unit said: "I hope the evidence I gathered can lead to real changes in patient care. These patients have the right to be treated with dignity and with humanity and to be properly heard. Yet it feels to me like some of them have been almost entirely forgotten by the world."

Read the full story in BBC News.


Health Secretary gives £500m to discharge medically fit patients

Therese Coffey has established a new adult social care discharge fund in an attempt to tackle delayed discharges and alleviate NHS pressures this winter.

Data shows that there are more than 13,000 patients occupying beds who could be discharged. The new fund will be allocated to care home operators and providers of domiciliary care services to help patients once they leave hospital.

Natasha Curry, Senior Fellow in Health policy at the Nuffield Trust said: "The temporary nature of the funding will not tackle the deep-rooted problems at the heart of the care system. This is the latest in a long line of short-term injections of cash that have become a feature of social care funding over the last decade. The sporadic nature of funding has exacerbated the impact of funding shortfalls."

Read the full story in The Guardian.


Safe sex text campaign fails to reduce STI reinfections

A campaign that involved sending monthly text messages to patients with a recent STI diagnosis failed to reduce further infections.

Over 3000 participants received texts containing safe sex information. Researchers anticipated that the text campaign would reduce the risk of STI reinfection however they found that the text campaign could actually have increased the prevalence of infections by lowering precautionary behaviours.

The authors of the research paper said: "Our text message intervention was grounded in psychological theory, incorporating the best evidence on health behaviour change, but it did not have the effects we anticipated."

Read the full story at Medscape.


Quote of the week


This week marks a historic moment in Alzheimer's disease treatment as a new drug is the first ever to significantly slow cognitive decline in patients.

Around 1,800 patients with early stage Alzheimer's enrolled in a trial, where they received twice weekly infusions of drug Lecanemab. Patients who received the infusion showed a slower cognitive decline than patients in the placebo group.

Rob Howard, a professor of old age psychiatry at University College London (UCL), said: “This is an unambiguously statistically positive result and represents something of an historic moment when we see the first convincing modification of Alzheimer’s disease. God knows, we’ve waited long enough for this.”


Read the full story in The Guardian.