HEALTH NOTES: Handbag that does dialysis

HEALTH NOTES: Handbag that does dialysis

Kidney-failure patients could soon benefit from a portable dialysis ‘handbag’ (stock image)

Kidney-failure patients could soon benefit from a portable dialysis ‘handbag’ that can be worn over the shoulder while on-the-go. Weighing less than 4½ lb, it is hoped the invention could offer patients more freedom than existing technology.

Dialysis is a process that helps remove waste products and excess fluid from the blood when the kidneys stop working properly. It is usually carried out while patients await transplant. The most common form is haemodialysis, which uses a machine to filter the blood for four hours at a time, three days a week – often in hospital. But patients can also have peritoneal dialysis, in which fluid is put inside the abdomen to absorb waste before being drained out of the body.

This can be done at home, but the fluid must be replaced regularly.

The new peritoneal device, under development by AWAK technologies, saves patients from having to do this as often.

In a trial at Singapore General Hospital, it was effective in removing toxins from the blood of 15 patients with kidney failure.

A 58-year-old grandmother from Cornwall will become the first deaf person to row across the Atlantic Ocean next month. Mo O’Brien, who works as a pharmacy assistant, aims to complete the mammoth task with her daughter, Bird, 32, who will help to guide her journey.

The challenge, which is being backed by Coldplay’s Chris Martin, is possible thanks to a high-tech pair of digital hearing aids made by Danish firm GN Hearing. The devices help Mo, who was born with severe hearing loss, to hear her guide’s instructions. She says: ‘You need to live life to the full and fulfil your dreams while you can.’

Mo and Bird are part of an all-female team called the Oarsome Foursome, who hope to raise £20,000 for charities in Cornwall.

Almost two-thirds of workers feel guilty about seeing their doctor in working hours – because their colleagues might have to pick up the slack. The survey, by AIG Life, also found more than half had been forced to cancel or change medical appointments because of their job.

Only two in five workers said they found it easy to take time off work to see their GP or a specialist. NHS data shows more than 15 million appointments are wasted every year because people don’t turn up or cancel at the last minute.

Lifeline for mental health patients 

Mental health patients in hospital are receiving donated blankets, toiletries, haircuts and treats to help them cope during their stay.

The initiative is the brainchild of 28-year-old Cat McKeever, a bipolar disorder patient from London who was recently sectioned – forced to stay in a secure unit – following a relapse.

She realised that some patients on the psychiatric ward at Springfield University Hospital in South London lacked essential items because they were far from family or loved ones, due to bed shortages, and had few visitors. One woman had no bra to wear.

McKeever set up a JustGiving page which quickly raised £600, followed by an Amazon wishlist that let people buy patients books, magazines, toiletries and biscuits. McKeever told HuffPost UK: ‘One patient broke down in tears after receiving a lavender gift set.’

Too little sleep could increase the risk of developing the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis by nearly two-thirds, say American researchers.

Scientists at New York’s Buffalo University found that post-menopausal women getting five hours or less a night were 63 per cent more likely to suffer osteoporosis in their hip joints than those sleeping seven hours or more.

They also had signs of bone-wasting in their spines.

Researcher Dr Heather Ochs-Balcom said: ‘This should serve as a reminder to strive for seven or more hours a night.’

Too little sleep could increase the risk of developing the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis by nearly two-thirds, say American researchers

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