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Found 43 results
  1. Content Article
    The World Health Organization (WHO) has published the third edition of the Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) guideline which includes important new, and updated, recommendations for the treatment and care of mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders. MNS disorders are major contributors to morbidity and premature mortality in all regions of the world. Yet it is estimated that over 75% of people with MNS disorders are unable to access the treatment or care they need. The mhGAP guideline supports countries to strengthen capacity to deal with the growing burden of these conditions. It is intended for use by doctors, nurses, other health workers working in non-specialist settings at primary health care level, as well as health planners and managers.
  2. News Article
    Two years after having Covid-19, diagnoses of brain fog, dementia and epilepsy are more common than after other respiratory infections, a study by the University of Oxford suggests. But anxiety and depression are no more likely in adults or children two years on, the research found. More research is needed to understand how and why Covid could lead to other conditions. This study looked at the risks of 14 different disorders in 1.25 million patients two years on from Covid, mostly in the US. It then compared them with a closely-matched group of 1.25 million people who had a different respiratory infection. In the group who had Covid, after two years, there were more new cases of: dementia, stroke and brain fog in adults aged over 65 brain fog in adults aged 18-64 epilepsy and psychotic disorders in children, although the overall risks were small. Some disorders became less common two years after Covid, including: anxiety and depression in children and adults psychotic disorders in adults. The increased risk of depression and anxiety in adults lasts less than two months before returning to normal levels, the research found. Read full story Source BBC News, 18 August 2022
  3. News Article
    Systems and processes in place around patient safety failed in terms of the work of a Belfast-based neurologist, an inquiry has found. Dr Michael Watt was at the centre of Northern Ireland’s largest ever recall of patients, which began in 2018, after concerns were raised about his clinical work. More than 4,000 of his former patients attended recall appointments. Almost a fifth of patients who attended recall appointments were found to have received an “insecure diagnosis”. The final report following the Independent Neurology Inquiry found that problems with Dr Watt’s practice were missed for years and opportunities to intervene were lost. It makes 76 recommendations to the Department of Health, healthcare organisations, General Medical Council and the independent sector. “While one process or system failure may not be critical, the synergistic effect of numerous failures ensured that a problem with an individual doctor’s practice was missed for many years and, as this inquiry finds, opportunities to intervene, particularly in 2006/2007, 2012/2013, and earlier in 2016 were lost,” the inquiry found. Read full story Source: The Independent, 21 June 2022
  4. News Article
    Elon Musk's attempt to implant microchips into human brains has been rejected by US medical regulators over concerns about the safety of the technology. Mr Musk's Neuralink business, which is hoping to insert tiny chips into people's skulls to treat conditions such as paralysis and blindness, was denied initial permission for clinical trials last year. US medical regulators were said to have "dozens" of concerns over the risks posed by the device, Reuters reported. Concerns include fears that tiny electrodes could get lodged in other parts of the brain, which could impair cognitive function or rupture blood vessels. Neuralink's chips are designed to be threaded into the brain using tiny filaments and harness artificial intelligence technology to pick up brain activity using a so-called "brain computer interface". Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 3 March 2023
  5. News Article
    Thousands of people in England who get migraines could benefit from a drug that has been approved on the NHS. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), the drugs regulator, said it was recommending rimegepant for preventing migraines in the approximately 145,000 adults where at least three previous preventive treatments had failed. The drug, also called Vydura and made by Pfizer, is taken as a wafer which dissolves under the tongue. It is the first time Nice has recommended an oral treatment for preventing migraines. “Each year the lives of millions of people in England are blighted by migraine attacks,” said Helen Knight, the director of medicines evaluation at Nice. “They can be extremely debilitating and can significantly affect a person’s quality of life. “Rimegepant is the first oral treatment for migraine to be recommended by Nice and for many thousands of people it is likely to be a welcome and more convenient addition to existing options for a condition that is often overlooked and undertreated.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 31 March 2023
  6. News Article
    Anyone with suspected concussion must be immediately removed from football, rugby and other sports and rest for at least 24 hours, under new guidance for grassroots clubs. It says the NHS 111 help-line should be called and players should not return to competitive sport for at least 21 days. The UK-wide guidelines are aimed at parents, coaches, referees and players. Its authors say a "culture change" in the way head injuries are dealt with is needed. "We know that exercise is good for both mental and physical health, so we don't want to put people off sport," Prof James Calder, the surgeon who led the work for the government, said. "But we need to recognise that if you've got a head injury, it must be managed and you need to be protected, so that it doesn't get worse." Read full story Source: BBC News, 2 May 2023
  7. Content Article
    An expert review of the clinical records of 44 deceased patients who had been under the care of neurologist Dr Michael Watt has found there were “significant failures” in their treatment and care. Dr Watt, a former Belfast Health and Social Care Trust consultant neurologist, was at the centre of Northern Ireland’s largest ever recall of patients, which began in 2018, after concerns were raised about his clinical work. More than 4,000 of his former patients attended recall appointments. At the direction of the Department of Health, in August 2021, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) commissioned the Royal College of Physicians to undertake an expert review of the clinical records of certain deceased patients who had been under the care of Dr Watt, with the intention to understand his clinical practice, to ensure learning for others and to help make care better and safer in the future.
  8. Content Article
    The emotional effects of Multiple Sclerosis often go undiagnosed. It's not unusual to experience depression, stress and anxiety when you have MS. Medication, talking therapies and self-help techniques can all make it easier to cope. This webpage from the MS Society includes information on: depression stress and anxiety causes of mental health problems other mood and behaviour changes coping with losss grief and guilt supporting someone who has MS getting help staying active mindfulness and MS.
  9. Content Article
    This study in Brain, Behaviour & Immunity - Health aimed to examine associations between symptomatic Covid-19 history, neurocognitive function and psychiatric symptoms. The authors used cognitive task performance, functional brain imaging and a prospective population survey to conduct the study. Converging findings from laboratory and population survey data support the conclusion that symptomatic Covid-19 infection is associated with task-related, functional imaging and self-reported indices of cognitive dysfunction as well as psychiatric symptoms. In some cases, these findings appear to be more amplified among women than men, and among older women than younger.
  10. News Article
    A review of the clinical records of 44 patients who died under the care of former neurologist Michael Watt has found "significant failures in their treatment" and "poor communication with families". While this review looked at a sample of cases in which people died, potentially thousands more could be affected. The review arises from a 2018 recall of 2,500 outpatients who were in Dr Watt's care at the Belfast Health Trust. About one in five patients had to have their diagnoses changed. This separate review into 44 deaths was conducted by the Royal College of Physicians at the request of the regulator, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA). It highlighted concerns over clinical decision-making, prescribing and diagnostics. It reveals a misdiagnosis rate of 45% among this group of patients, twice that for living patients. Speaking to BBC News NI, the RQIA's chair, Christine Collins, said the outcome of the review was "shocking and gut-wrenching as so many had experienced unpleasant deaths which they ought not to have done". Read full story Source: BBC News, 29 November 2022
  11. News Article
    Babies are at risk of dying from common treatable infections because NHS staff on maternity wards are not following national guidance and are short-staffed and overworked, an investigation has revealed. The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB), a national safety watchdog, has warned that NHS staff on maternity wards face sometimes conflicting advice on treating women who are positive for a group B streptococcus (GBS) infection. They are also making errors in women’s care because of the pressure of work and a lack of staff, with antibiotics not being administered when they should be. HSIB’s specialist investigators examined 39 safety incidents in which GSB had been identified, and found that the infection had contributed to six baby deaths, six stillbirths and three cases of babies being left with severe brain damage. In its report, the watchdog warned that the problems on maternity wards meant that even in cases where mothers were known to be positive for GBS infection, this wasn’t shared with the mother or noted in the record, resulting in the standard care and antibiotics not being provided. It added: “The identification and escalation of care for babies who show signs of GBS infection after birth was missed. This has resulted in severe brain injury and death for some of the affected babies.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 19 July 2020
  12. News Article
    There are "deep concerns" for brain injury survivors after many reported losing rehabilitation services during the COVID-19 lockdown. A survey by the charity Headway found 57% of people, injured since 2018, had seen face-to-face services stopped. The first two years of recovery are crucial in regaining skills, such as talking, with fears this could affect future independence. The government acknowledged it had been "a challenging time". Headway conducted its survey across all brain injury rehab services, with 1,140 respondents. It found about 60% of those were frustrated by the situation, their anxiety and depression had increased and they felt more socially isolated. Read full story Source: BBC News, 17 July 2020
  13. News Article
    Doctors may be missing signs of serious and potentially fatal brain disorders triggered by coronavirus, as they emerge in mildly affected or recovering patients, scientists have warned. Neurologists are on Wednesday publishing details of more than 40 UK COVID-19 patients whose complications ranged from brain inflammation and delirium to nerve damage and stroke. In some cases, the neurological problem was the patient’s first and main symptom. The cases, published in the journal Brain, revealed a rise in a life-threatening condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (Adem), as the first wave of infections swept through Britain. At UCL’s Institute of Neurology, Adem cases rose from one a month before the pandemic to two or three per week in April and May. One woman, who was 59, died of the complication. “We’re seeing things in the way Covid-19 affects the brain that we haven’t seen before with other viruses,” said Michael Zandi, a senior author on the study and a consultant at the institute and University College London Hospitals NHS foundation trust. “What we’ve seen with some of these Adem patients, and in other patients, is you can have severe neurology, you can be quite sick, but actually have trivial lung disease,” he added. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 8 July 2020
  14. News Article
    Brain complications, including stroke and psychosis, have been linked to COVID-19 in a study that raises concerns about the potentially extensive impact of the disease in some patients. The study, published in Lancet Psychiatry, is small and based on doctors’ observations, so cannot provide a clear overall picture about the rate of such complications. However, medical experts say the findings highlight the need to investigate the possible effects of COVID-19 in the brain and studies to explore potential treatments. “There have been growing reports of an association between COVID-19 infection and possible neurological or psychiatric complications, but until now these have typically been limited to studies of 10 patients or fewer,” said Benedict Michael, the lead author of the study, from the University of Liverpool. “Ours is the first nationwide study of neurological complications associated with Covid-19, but it is important to note that it is focused on cases that are severe enough to require hospitalisation.” Scientists said the findings were an important snapshot of potential complications, but should be treated with caution as it is not possible to draw any conclusions from the data about the prevalence of such complications. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 26 June 2020
  15. News Article
    Doctors who look after patients in a vegetative or minimally conscious state must ensure they initiate regular conversations with relatives about what is in the best interests of the person so that they do not get “lost in the system,” says new guidance. The Royal College of Physicians has published new and revised guidelines on prolonged disorders of consciousness (PDOC) to take into account changes in the law and developments in assessment and management. Read full story (paywalled) Source: BMJ, 6 March 2020
  16. News Article
    Artificial intelligence can diagnose brain tumours more accurately than a pathologist in a tenth of the time, a study has shown. The machine-learning technology was marginally more accurate than a traditional diagnosis made by a pathologist, by just 1%, but the results were available in less than 2 minutes and 30 seconds, compared with 20 to 30 minutes by a pathologist. The study, published in Nature Medicine, demonstrates the speed and accuracy of AI diagnosis for brain surgery, allowing surgeons to detect and remove otherwise undetectable tumour tissue. Daniel Orringer, an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at New York University's Grossman School of Medicine and a senior author, said: “As surgeons, we’re limited to acting on what we can see; this technology allows us to see what would otherwise be invisible to improve speed and accuracy in the [operating theatre] and reduce the risk of misdiagnosis." “With this imaging technology, cancer operations are safer and more effective than ever before.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 6 January 2020
  17. News Article
    Suspended Belfast neurologist Michael Watt has offered his "sincere sympathy" to those affected by Northern Ireland's biggest patient recall. Dr Michael Watt worked at the Royal Victoria Hospital as a neurologist diagnosing conditions like epilepsy and Parkinson's Disease. He was suspended after 3,000 patients were given recall appointments last year. Dr Watt said he recognised the "distress these events have caused". On Tuesday, a BBC Spotlight investigation found that he had carried out hundreds of unnecessary procedures on patients. The programme also obtained details of a Department of Health report, as yet unpublished, that said one-in-five patients of the consultant neurologist were misdiagnosed. Read full story Source: BBC News, 22 November 2019
  18. Content Article
    Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) is designed to improve the quality of care within the NHS by reducing unwarranted variations. By tackling variations in the way services are delivered across the NHS, and by sharing best practice between trusts, GIRFT identifies changes that will help improve care and patient outcomes, as well as delivering efficiencies such as the reduction of unnecessary procedures and cost savings.
  19. Content Article
    Infants and very young children with cerebral palsy need effective, early intervention to improve life outcomes and minimise secondary complications. This report, from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cerebral Palsy, outlines several recommendations to improve early identification, intervention and pathways of care of infants and young children with cerebral palsy.
  20. Content Article
    Dr Ian Carroll discusses neuropathic pain, which involves damage to the nerve. The condition causes the nerves to fire incessantly, even if the initial source of the pain has been remedied. The brain responds by creating an ongoing message of pain.
  21. Content Article
    The authors of this paper describe here the content and structure of their patient registry along the Standards for Quality Improvement Reporting Excellence (SQUIRE) with the aim of transparent in-house quality monitoring, communication with patients, and also to facilitate benchmarking with other neurosurgery health care providers.
  22. Content Article
    Preventable harm during labour can be catastrophic for parents, babies and families, as well as for the staff involved. Reducing avoidable brain injury in childbirth means building on everyone’s experiences and expertise, working together to improve care in labour for all. THIS Institute, in partnership with The Royal College of Midwives and The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, is inviting maternity staff, parents and birth partners from across the UK to contribute their views to their Avoiding Brain Injury in Childbirth (ABC) campaign. The focus is on monitoring and responding to babies’ wellbeing during labour and on managing the emergency complication at caesarean section known as impacted fetal head. The ABC campaign aims to give maternity staff tools and support to be able to provide the highest quality of care when there are concerns about the baby’s wellbeing during labour. It also aims to improve communication with everyone using maternity services and make sure they are listened to and involved in decisions about their care.
  23. Content Article
    In the UK over 1000 people with epilepsy die every year and it's estimated that more than half of these deaths could be avoided. This is a free evidence-based tool, supporting clinicians in discussing risk with people with epilepsy. It includes risk factors linked to epilepsy mortality, including (but not restricted to) Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). To watch the introductory video and register for access to checklist, follow the link below to the SUDEP Action website.
  24. Content Article
    This WHO report includes six case studies from 12 individuals with lived experience of diverse health conditions. These case studies explore the topics of power dynamics and power reorientation towards individuals with lived experience; informed decision-making and health literacy; community engagement across broader health networks and health systems; lived experience as evidence and expertise; exclusion and the importance of involving groups that are marginalized; and advocacy and human rights. It is the first publication in the WHO Intention to action series, which aims to enhance the limited evidence base on the impact of meaningful engagement and address the lack of standardized approaches on how to operationalise meaningful engagement. The Intention to action series aims to do this by providing a platform from which individuals with lived experience, and organisational and institutional champions, can share solutions, challenges and promising practices related to this cross-cutting agenda.
  25. News Article
    Almost 20% of patients seen by neurology consultant Dr Michael Watt were given a wrong diagnosis, a report has found. A review of 927 of Dr Watt's high-risk patients found 181 people received a diagnosis described as "not secure", Health Minister Robin Swann said. He was speaking as the Belfast Trust announced the recall of a further 209 neurology patients seen and discharged by Dr Watt between 1996 and 2012. This is the third such recall. Dr Watt was at the centre of Northern Ireland's biggest patient recall linked to his work at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital. Mr Swann said he had met patients and families affected by the recall in October last year. "While this report is statistical in nature, it deals with individuals, their families and their experiences," he said. "I know that many will have had their confidence in our health service shaken and I remain committed to helping restore it." Read full story Source: BBC News, 20 April 2021
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