Category Archives: mental health

Things of Interest at Disabilitymatch

Hi, this is a bit of a mish mash of a post but it is sunday I was looking back on things that have been happening recently.  Most importantly, I just released our latest podcast episode which features a single interview with Simon Mulholland from Pny Axes.

It is a relaxed chatty interview with Simon who is a crazy inventor based in Scotland.  He has invented a carriage to let wheelchair users experience pony trekking and really explore some wonderful landscapes.  With a Mulholland carriage wheelchair users can sea seals up-close on the shoreline.  If you go to our podcast page you can get all the contact details.

I was feeling a bit creative myself this week so I created a short video about dating with mental illness – I hope you find it interesting.

We know that disability can be visible and invisible so we are very keen to promote and champion our many members who have a non-visible challenges such as anxiety and depression and more clearly defined   problems as bipolar disorder.

 

 

New Hope for Multiple Sclerosis Sufferers

 

It has been a long time coming BUT it looks as if scientists have finally come up with a  drug that alters the immune system which has been described as “big news” and a “landmark” in treating multiple sclerosis, doctors and charities say.  If this is the case then Disabilitymatch enthusiastically welcomes this news and hopes that it will be quickly available for our members and the wider disabled community at the earliest possible date.

Trials, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggest the drug can slow damage to the brain in two forms of MS.

Ocrelizumab is the first drug shown to work in the primary progressive form of the disease.

The drug is being reviewed for use in the US and Europe.

MS is caused by a rogue immune system mistaking part of the brain for a hostile invader and attacking it.

It destroys the protective coating that wraps round nerves called the myelin sheath.

The sheath also acts like wire insulation to help electrical signals travel down the nerve.

Damage to the sheath prevents nerves from working correctly and means messages struggle to get from the brain to the body.

This leads to symptoms like having difficulty walking, fatigue and blurred vision.

The disease can either just get worse, known as primary progressive MS, or come in waves of disease and recovery, known as relapsing remitting MS.

Both are incurable, although there are treatments for the second state.

Ocrelizumab kills a part of the immune system – called B cells – which are involved in the assault on the myelin sheath.

In 732 patients with progressive MS, the percentage of patients that had deteriorated fell from 39% without treatment to 33% with ocrelizumab .

Patients taking the drug also scored better on the time needed to walk 25 feet and had less brain loss detected on scans.

In 1,656 patients with relapsing remitting, the relapse rate with ocrelizumab was half that of using another drug.

Prof Gavin Giovannoni, from Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, was involved in the trials and said: “The results shown by these studies have the potential to change how we approach treating both relapsing and primary progressive MS.”

He told the BBC: “It’s very significant because this is the first time a phase three trial has been positive in primary progressive MS.”

More than 100,000 people are diagnosed with MS in the UK, around one-in-five are progressive.

Dr Aisling McMahon, the head of clinical trials at the MS Society, commented: “This is really big news for people with the primary progressive form of multiple sclerosis.

“It’s the first time a treatment has shown the potential to reduce disability progression for this type of MS, which offers a lot of hope for the future.”

The drug is being considered by the European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration.

But Prof Giovannoni warned that patients in the UK may be disappointed as it may be hard for the NHS to fund everyone getting a drug that is likely to be expenseive.

He told the BBC: “I would expect a narrow group of people to be eligible.”

Dr Peter Calabresi, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, added: “This is the first drug to show a significant effect in slowing disability progression in a phase three trial in primary progressive multiple sclerosis and therefore represents a landmark study in the field.”

But he warned doctors to “stay vigilant” because of the risk of side-effects.

Weakening the immune system increases the risk of infection and of cancer emerging.

Via bbc.co.uk

Mental Health Patients Often Held in Police Cells – Shameful!

Heads should be hanging in shame in the West Country today as a report indicates that mental health patients in a crisis situation are often being held in police cells instead of a suitable mental care facility.

The report by the Care Quality Commission – the body that assesses healthcare – found there were significant failings in delivering places of safety by the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership.

The NHS trust – which provides mental health services across Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire – has been told overall it “requires improvement”.

Inspectors found patients were regularly waiting more than twelve hours for an assessment and even longer for admission to a suitable ward.

Dr Paul Lelliott, the Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals said:

When a person in a crisis who requires mental health care is detained by the police, they should be taken immediately to a properly staffed place of safety where they can be assessed by a mental healthcare professional.

They should be taken to a police cell only in exceptional circumstances. We found that too often the designated places of safety were not available when needed.

This must be addressed as a priority and I know the trust is already working closely with the police to tackle this problem.

After its last inspection in December 2015 the CQC served a Warning Notice because of concerns about mental health care in Bristol.

It found people needing urgent community-based mental health services were waiting several months for assessment.

As well as finding areas where problems persist, the latest inspection in May found major improvements – particularly in community mental health services in Bristol.

Via itv.com