News Items: Asthma, Mesh Implants and Talc

A little selection of news items that came across my desk today for you. All very interesting


As many as 30% of people diagnosed with asthma may not have the condition.   NICE has urged GPs to carry out “objective tests” such as spirometry & breath tests to improve the accuracy of diagnoses.   This would avoid patients needlessly being prescribed medication & save the NHS up to £15million a year. Read more here.


For years women have complained of damage & pain caused by plastic mesh inserted to treat post-childbirth injuries, which seemed to fall on deaf ears – until now.   It was reported on 27th Nov. that NICE is going to recommend the controversial implant should no longer be routinely used due to “serious safety concerns.”   A NICE guidance document due to be released on 22nd Dec. but leaked yesterday, says using mesh for pelvic organ prolapse operations, where the material is inserted to support the womb, should no longer be routinely offered.   Fuller guidance is expected in 2019. Read more here.

Mail 28.11.17 “Ask the Doctor” by Dr Martin Scurr. “QUESTION MARKS OVER USING TALCUM POWDER”

Over 1,000 women are taking legal action against Johnson & Johnson makers of talcum powder, for causing ovarian cancer.  Talc is made from a mineral, hydrous magnesium silicate.  As a student, I was asked to explore why there was a high rate of stomach cancer in Japan.  I learned that rice grains in Japan were traditionally tossed in a small amount of mica powder – a silicate not dissimilar to the main constituent of talcum powder – to stop the grains clumping together when cooked.  Biopsies from these people’s stomach ulcers were cancerous.  Workers who mined silicates had a high incidence of nasopharyngeal cancer, almost certainly due to inhaling the dust, which caused damaging reactions in the body which led to cancer. Read more here.

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