One in five people with motor neurone disease (MND) waits more than a year to see a brain specialist for help with diagnosis, a snapshot survey suggests. The MND Association report, based on responses from 900 patients in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, says the delays stop people getting early care. While the charity accepts a diagnosis can be "notoriously difficult" to make, it urges GPs to be vigilant about MND. GP leaders have worked with the charity on a scheme to improve diagnosis. About 5,000 people in the UK have motor neurone disease.
There were 24,300 excess deaths in England and Wales last winter - about half the number of the previous year. This means the number of extra deaths from December to March fell to traditional levels after the spike seen during the winter of 2014-15. The extra deaths last winter represent a 15% increase on the average for the rest of the year, according to the Office for National Statistics data. Death rates rise in the colder weather because of more respiratory illnesses. The winter before last there were nearly 44,000 extra deaths - the highest since 1999.
The 2017 Nobel Prize for Chemistry has been awarded to Professors Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and British scientist Dr Richard Henderson. The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences said the trio's method, called cryo-electron microscopy, allows researchers to'freeze biomolecules' mid-movement and visualise previously unseen processes. The technology both simplifies and improves the imaging of biomolecules and has been credited with moving biochemistry into a new era. Scottish chemist Dr Henderson is a researcher at Cambridge University, Professor Dubochet works at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, while Professor Frank studies at New York's Columbia University. The trio's prize was awarded for developing cryo-electron microscopy.
A bump on the head can double the risk of getting dementia, even if you do not lose consciousness, researchers have warned. More than two-thirds of traumatic brain injuries in England and Wales are classed as'mild'. Often caused by falls or minor car crashes, these cases can go unreported because victims fail to realise they have suffered a significant injury. But a study of more than 350,000 people has found such blows to the head raise the risk of getting dementia by more than double, and the risk is similar to that of being knocked unconscious. Researchers led by the University of California in San Francisco tracked Army veterans who had suffered blows to the head both in military and civilian life for an average of just over four years.
Some hospitals and GP practices in England and Scotland are failing to carry out recommended HIV checks, a BBC investigation has found. Experts suggest patients in areas with high rates of HIV ought to be offered a test when they register with a GP or are admitted to hospital. But research carried out for BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme suggests many NHS providers are not doing this. Health officials said the prevention of HIV infection remained a priority. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is currently reviewing its guidance on HIV testing and is due to release its findings in December.