Home General Info & Awareness Health In The News [17/01/2021]

Health In The News [17/01/2021]

by InvisiblyMe
Stacks of newspapers outside. Overlaid across the centre of the image is 'Health News'.
Stacks of newspapers outside. Overlaid across the centre of the image is: Health News.

Health In The News

Here’s a short round-up of health stories hitting the news recently, focusing more on the positive stories and the good news that we often don’t hear much of these days.

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After 10 Operations, Baby Roux Returns Home To Birthday Wishes

Little baby Roux Owen, from Hull in East Yorkshire, sadly had to undergo a massive 10 operations in only 11 months to remove a benign brain tumour described as being “the size of two oranges”. His parents were able to bring him home in time for his first birthday, where he was pictured happy and smiling and surrounded by birthday cards.

Well-wishers had been following Roux’s journey for some months, and hundreds of cards were sent to him to celebrate his birthday from all around the world. You can read more about Roux and see photos of his brave journey from hospital to home here.

Healthcare Debts Cleared

Dr. Omar Atiq, an oncologist with his own cancer clinic in Arkansas, was closing his practice after 29 years. When collecting overdue payments from patients, he found many of them were simply unable to pay. Around 200 patients got a Christmas card from him, where he said he realised a lot of insurance co-pays & deductibles can be ‘burdensome’ and as such he’d decided to wipe their balance clean! This means there are hundreds of thousands of dollars that these patients won’t have to pay, taking away the worry of debt incurred by their cancer treatment.

What a lovely gesture! ???? You can read more about Dr Atiq here.

Cow Cuddles For Stress Relief

A dutch trend is paving the way for a new form of stress relief. Koe knuffelen, Dutch for ‘hugging cow’, sees people going to farms in the Netherlands to spend hours among the cows, leaning on them and hugging them. It’s thought that this soothing practice is thanks to the animal’s temperament, warmth and size, releasing a boost of oxytocin to improve mood and reduce stress in us stressed out humans.

Move over goat yoga. Cow cuddling is in. You can read more about cuddles with cows for mental health here.

A wood panel with a heart cut out in the middle. Through the heart we see a cow peering through, backdropped by a blue sky. This is for the health in the news story of cow cuddling for stress relief.

Hormone In The Heart To Reduce Atrial Scarring & Prevent Strokes

Researchers at the University of Oxford have discovered a common hormone, calcitonin, is produced inside the heart and could help in preventing the heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation by protecting against scarring within the upper two atria.

This scarring seen in atrial fibrillation prevents electrical signals from being able to travel correctly along the heart. This results in chaotic beating and potential blood clots which can, in some cases, lead to debilitating or fatal strokes. Until this latest research, calcitonin was believed to only be produced by the body’s thyroid gland and have no impact on the heart. Now it’s thought that the upper chambers of the heart actually produce around 16x more of this hormone than the thyroid does.

From these findings, researchers think it’s possible that increasing calcitonin levels within the heart could help in protecting against this potentially lethal condition that affects 1.4 million Britons. Find out more from the British Heart Foundation on this “game-changing” discovery here.

Speedy Bone Healing

Researchers at the King’s College London are looking to revolutionise the process of healing broken bones. A new biomaterial is being researched and tested that can be applied like a bandage to fractures and broken bones. It’s coated in a naturally occurring protein and capable of healing damage very quickly throughout the body.  It’s found to work even more quickly when another element is added, a 3D collagen gel that contains particular bone cells from the patient’s stem cells. 

This biodegradable bandage is only two or three times thicker than a piece of human hair and once it has rebuilt the pieces of broken bone, it is absorbed by the body, apparently without unwanted side effects. It’s hoped that this bandage could change the future of how broken bones are dealt with in hospitals while reducing the chances of infections. Furthermore, it’s thought that this biomaterial could be used to help with the repair of tissue from damage anywhere in the body. 

Read more about the bone bandage here.

A photo of a man's legs as he lies on a sofa with a laptop on his thighs. One leg is propped up in a bandage as though he's broken his ankle. This is for the health news story of a new biomaterial for bone breaks.

When Will You Be Able To Get A Covid19 Vaccine?

There has been a lot of news articles lately regarding vaccinations for the Covid19 virus. In the UK, news of delaying the second jab from 21 days to 12 weeks has infuriated many people, myself included. While there is a petition for this, it appears the change isn’t going to be reversed anytime soon.

The government have issued a list of eligibility, where you can see what group you’re in and when you’re likely to have the vaccination, should you agree to have it. This is, however, a constantly changing process, with a lot of bumps in the road and delays that we read about in the news, so it’s only for guideline purposes. The government has advised that individuals will be contacted in due course once they are eligible and an appointment is available.

You can read more about vaccine priority groups from the BBC here and try the calculator to estimate your vaccination date here.

Oxytocin May Quieten Tinnitus

Scientists are currently evaluating the use of oxytocin nasal sprays in managing tinnitus. The so-called ‘love hormone’ could help in reducing activity in those regions of the brain that create the sound heard by tinnitus sufferers. While oxytocin nasal sprays have shown potential benefits for a range of things, from behavioural issues to limp libido, research conducted by the Federal University of Sao Paulo in 2017 suggested it could also reduce tinnitus symptoms.

A trial by New York University of 30 participants will be undertaken, likely in 2021, to investigate the use of oxytocin nasal spray over a six month period and its effect on tinnitus. You can read more about tinnitus and oxytocin nasal spray here.

A black and white photo showing a man's head in profile. He's grimacing as though in pain, holding a hand up to the side of his face near his ear. There's a red highlight of colour all over the ear to suggest tinnitus. This is for the health story of oxytocin for tinnitus.

Type 2 Diabetes Drug Approves As A New Heart Failure Drug

The drug dapagliflozin, used previously for treating Type 2 diabetes, has been approved for use by the NHS for patients with heart failure. This medication costs only £244 a year.

Research conducted with nearly 5,000 patients found that dapagliflozin, used alongside typical heart-failure medications, resulted in a “significant 30% reduction in urgent hospital admissions” and a “remarkable 18% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease over two years”. You can read more about the approval of dapagliflozin for heart failure here.

Related Reading :

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I’d love to know what you think of these developments. Have you read any interesting health stories in the news lately?

Caz  ♥

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43 comments

Stacey Chapman January 17, 2021 - 4:16 pm

SO good to read some good news! Thanks for the pick me ups! ❤️

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InvisiblyMe January 19, 2021 - 5:57 pm

You’re very welcome, glad you liked the stories. It feels like there’s no good news some days, but it is there, just hiding underneath all the bad stuff!  ♥

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Sandee January 17, 2021 - 4:22 pm

I loved the doctor that wiped all the debt away. What a lovely Christmas gift.

Have a fabulous day and week, Caz. ♥

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InvisiblyMe January 19, 2021 - 5:57 pm

I know, right? Such a kind gesture from that doctor.
I hope you have a lovely week ahead, Sandee! xx

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ashleyleia January 17, 2021 - 4:53 pm

Very interesting news! I wonder how much the cows are actually on board with the hugging. I tried snuggling up with a calf for a selfie outside the yurt in Kyrgyzstan, and I got the sense it wasn’t very impressed. Maybe the oxytocin spray would change its mind.

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InvisiblyMe January 19, 2021 - 6:24 pm

It does make you wonder. I hate animal cruelty with a passion so if there’s any inclination that they’re distressed then it absolutely should stop. I’d like to hope they’re well taken care of and that it’s all very calming for the cows & the humans. You’re right, maybe a sniff of oxytocin spray would help. If not, then when the cow kicks you in the face and you break your arm as you fall, then at least there’s a biomaterial bandage to quickly repair the broken bones!

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johnrieber January 17, 2021 - 5:35 pm

Terrific stories! Love the Doctor who retired – and retired all of the debts as well for his patients…having to undergo treatment for a potentially deadly illness is bad enough without all the worry over the cost of treatment. Finally, I love the idea of “cow cuddling”!

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InvisiblyMe January 19, 2021 - 6:26 pm

The fact that so many have to stress about the financial cost of medical treatment is pretty sick when you think about it. That doc did a wonderful thing that day, such a kind gesture. So you’ll be off to a farm to cuddle some cows once Covid is out the way? Mightn’t be a bad idea given how stressed we’ll all be by that point!

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Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet January 17, 2021 - 5:56 pm

Interesting post! 🙂 In elementary school, I heard that dairies played music to increase milk production. I began singing to the neighbor’s cows across the fence behind our house. The cows would come up to me and seemed to listen. Why didn’t you tell me about the cow-hugging thing 60 years ago, Caz? Have a great week! <3

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InvisiblyMe January 19, 2021 - 6:28 pm

Oh how, that’s interesting, Cheryl! It made me think of talking to plants to make them grow faster, but the two would work in very different ways scientifically ???? I wonder whether the music improved their mood and actually led to more milk? I’m curious now! It’s so sweet the cows came up to you and listened. They must have loved your beautiful voice. I’m sure they were saying ‘Moooooo-re’ after you finished singing ???? xx

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Looking for the Light January 17, 2021 - 6:24 pm

Great post with loads of good information in there. I hope you are staying well and out of trouble! Sending hugs your way.

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InvisiblyMe January 19, 2021 - 6:29 pm

Thanks, Mel, I’m glad you liked it! I hope you’re keeping as well as possible too – Happy Birthday, my friend! ???? xx

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Raw Writings (Thor and Tamara) January 17, 2021 - 9:12 pm

I love hugging cows! ???? ????

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InvisiblyMe January 19, 2021 - 10:25 pm

I knew you’d be a cow hugger! ???? ????

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Rachael Tomlinson January 17, 2021 - 9:50 pm

Cows are very huggable, I remember from growing up on a farm, snuggling into their lovely warm necks 🙂 The doctor wins though, how absolutely amazing of him, thank you too for such a heart-warming post, take care lovely xxx

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InvisiblyMe January 19, 2021 - 10:29 pm

Aww those sound like some lovely memories of the animals on the farm ♥ I love the story about the doctor, too. Such a thoughtful, generous thing to do for his patients. I’m glad you liked the post, Rach! I hope this week treats you kindly xx

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Michele Anderson January 18, 2021 - 12:28 am

Thank you for this information Caz. It’s always so good to get uplifting news stories. I especially like the one on tinnitus because my husband suffers from that. Maybe there will be a break through.

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InvisiblyMe January 19, 2021 - 10:56 pm

It must be incredibly frustrating to have constant tinnitus, so I do feel for your husband. It really would be fantastic to have a better breakthrough for it so there’s some form of treatment people can try. Fingers crossed! xx

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Blogging_with_Bojana January 18, 2021 - 4:56 am

If they could only revolutionize the process of healing broken hearts, where would we be now?

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InvisiblyMe January 19, 2021 - 10:57 pm

Ooh that’s a good one, B. Maybe one day…x

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Khushi January 18, 2021 - 6:41 am

lovely and informative post
loved reading about all these positive developments 🙂

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InvisiblyMe January 20, 2021 - 11:27 am

I’m glad you liked it, Khushi! I think we could all do with a bit more good news these days ????

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The Oceanside Animals January 18, 2021 - 4:47 pm

Lulu: “Our Mimmier got her first COVID vaccine a few weeks ago, because she volunteers at a hospital, and our Pippier has an appointment to get his in February, on account of he’s in one of those older age brackets. They sure are looking forward to it!”
Charlee: “Who looks forward to getting a shot?”
Lulu: “Well normally, no one does. But in this case they’re making an exception.”

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InvisiblyMe January 20, 2021 - 11:29 am

I’m glad she got her vaccine, that’s good. Does she get the second jab three weeks after the first? In the UK sadly people are being told to wait 12 weeks now between doses. I hope the vaccines can help keep Mimmier & Pippier a little safer. You’re right, it’s an exception this time with a lot of people actually looking forward to a needle in the arm! xx

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The Oceanside Animals January 20, 2021 - 3:09 pm

Lulu: “Dada says our Mimmier got the Moderna vaccine so she gets her next one in a month. An extra week to think about the next jab, is that good or bad? I’m not sure …”

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Christy B January 18, 2021 - 7:07 pm

Over here in Canada, the vaccines are rolling out slower than anticipated. A friend recently got it and feels tired, so that’s one of the potential side effects. Thanks for the health news updates!

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InvisiblyMe January 20, 2021 - 11:34 am

I’m sorry things aren’t getting off to a rip-roaring start over there. I can’t help but think slower but more effective is the way to go. In the UK, it’s been rushed but at the expense of the vaccines being effective when people have to wait 12 weeks for the second jab. I hope Canada get the roll-out done right. Interesting to hear of whatever side effects people are getting, too. Hopefully that’s all your friend has and that the tiredness was short-lived ????

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forresting365 January 19, 2021 - 1:29 pm

These are all wonderful to hear, Caz!!! Blessings to sweet baby Roux. My Lord!!! ❤️❤️❤️ And that bone healing thing is crazy cool! And Cow Cuddles?!!! WOW! Alright!!! Sign me up!!! Thank You, Cheers and Huge hugs Your beautiful way!!! ????????????

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InvisiblyMe January 20, 2021 - 11:35 am

Aw thanks, I’m glad you liked the stories! I wanted to find a bit more of the good news stuff because there’s way too much bad news lately. It’s interesting to see some of the amazing developments underway, and that doctor’s generosity was so lovely, wasn’t it?  ♥ Sending love, Katy, take good care of yourself xx

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trippingthroughtreacle January 19, 2021 - 2:47 pm

Great to have some good news finally! Love the ‘cow hugs’ especially. 🙂

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InvisiblyMe January 20, 2021 - 11:37 am

There’s way too much bad news lately, so it’s always good to know there are some positive things happening out there somewhere! Fancy trying the cow cuddling, Jen? I think it could be quite relaxing, providing the cows are happy to be hugged! ????

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englishwithkirsty January 20, 2021 - 4:52 pm

As long as the cows are ok with it and it’s socially distanced from other humans, I would enjoy a bit of cow cuddling therapy ????????????

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InvisiblyMe January 22, 2021 - 11:10 am

Same here, Kirsty. The cows need to be happy with it. I imagine the less people the better for the cows as well as us humans, too! ????

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Terri, Reclaiming Hope January 21, 2021 - 3:31 pm

Wow, what a lovely collection of good-news stories Caz! I saw the story about the Oncologist who forgave his patients’ debts on the news, and I thought it was such a wonderful thing to do. I’m always amazed at the medical advances made almost daily, and reading about these latest ones just added to my amazement. As far as hugging cows goes, sign me up!!!

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InvisiblyMe January 22, 2021 - 11:13 am

I’m glad you liked the stories, Terri! The oncologist’s generous gesture was so lovely to read about, wasn’t it? I think we’ll need to set up a post-Covid trip to a farm so a few of us can go cow cuddling! By that point I think we’ll all be so frazzled and stressed out that we’ll need it, providing the cows are happy to be cuddled ???? xx

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James Viscosi January 22, 2021 - 4:46 pm

I saw that story about the doctor who forgave his patients’ unpaid bills when he retired, which was an excellent thing for the doctor to do. I hope that someday we Americans will be able to get healthcare without having to worry about being bankrupted by the cost. (We’re still paying off the bills from my stint in the hospital in 2019 ― if we didn’t have halfway decent insurance we’d be on the hook for well over a quarter of a million dollars, but as it is, we still owe around $20,000 in copays and deductibles and such.)

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InvisiblyMe January 26, 2021 - 10:40 am

It was a lovely gesture, wasn’t it? His one act has helped several people. It really is so sick and wrong that people have to choose between getting medical help and being in debt. I’m sorry you still owe so much. I wonder if there’s a point at which debt is written off if it can’t be paid, such as 20 years or something? I’ve no idea. I’ll have to look into it. xx

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Deeksha Pathak January 24, 2021 - 8:48 am

The world needs such kind hearted doctors in the web of health insurence world!

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InvisiblyMe January 26, 2021 - 10:40 am

Absolutely! If only there were more like him. x

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Lindsay January 25, 2021 - 12:36 am

I would love to cuddle some cows! I’ll have to look to see if they have that in the U.S.!

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InvisiblyMe January 26, 2021 - 10:41 am

If they do then I’ll get a plane & join you, just as soon as soon as Covid is over! x

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Mrs. Ram’s Jams January 25, 2021 - 10:57 pm

21 days to 12 weeks???? Yeeshhhhh!

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InvisiblyMe January 26, 2021 - 10:43 am

Yeah, it’s outrageous! There are senior doctors & other professionals now trying to challenge it, but nothing is changing and before long it’ll be too late. They’re giving millions the first jab, and there’ll never be the time to give everyone the second dose in the correct timeframe at this rate. Appalling.

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