Alex Roach was 20 when she was told she had endometriosis, seven years after first suffering severe pain when her periods began. The Cardiff-based lawyer has had three lots of surgery because of the condition, which causes the womb lining to grow in other parts of the body and can lead to crippling pain, fatigue and infertility. As the disease cannot be cured, she may need further surgery and her ability to conceive could be affected. She has backed the findings of a Welsh Government investigatory report which calls for improved understanding of the condition in medical staff, earlier diagnosis and treatment, better education and more specialist help. She said of her eventual diagnosis: "It was quite bittersweet. It was a relief to know I wasn't mad."
VisualDx aims to tackle the problems in the healthcare sector on both fronts, by reducing the workload of doctors both inside and outside the hospital. The tool aims to assist primary physicians by identifying rare diseases or unusual variations of common diseases as early as possible, by analyzing images of skin-presenting symptoms. 'Diagnosis is a process of inching ourselves to a more secure position, it's very different from knowing answers,' says CEO Art Papier. But given that'the hardest area for primary care workers is skin-presenting diseases,' allowing first-contact doctors to identify diseases during the early stages of treatment could lead to more accurate diagnoses, minimize referrals to specialists, and save time and money further down the line.
More than half of those seeking a diagnosis for dementia have delayed going to their GP by at least a year, according to a survey carried out by the Alzheimer's Society. The charity says nearly two-thirds of people fear a diagnosis would mean their life is over. But it says an early diagnosis can actually help people to live as well as possible. And it wants everyone to confront head-on the challenges posed by dementia. In a survey of 2,000 adults, almost half thought they would have to stop driving immediately while one in five feared losing their partner or friends if they were diagnosed with dementia.
Ten centres offering a one-stop shop for spotting cancer are to be set up in England. The aim is to provide rapid testing for multiple cancers, cutting the often lengthy wait for diagnosis. The UK currently lags behind other western European countries and nations such as Australia and Canada in terms of cancer survival. This is at least partly due to delays in diagnosis and treatment. Around half of people with cancer have vague or non-specific symptoms, such as loss of appetite or weight.
Kingsmore and his colleagues at Rady have focused their attention on the small percentage of babies who land in the newborns' intensive care unit. But they cast a wide net -- testing them for 8,300 diseases that are the leading causes of death among these critically ill children. Their aim is to produce a diagnosis that helps doctors decide how best to treat the child. "The key to better outcomes is a timely diagnosis," Kingsmore said.