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PR and Med Ed news

Our weekly round up of PR and medical education stories.

Informed consumers self-medicate

Consumers are more informed than ever in health and well-being and are more confident with self-medication says Mintel's British Lifestyles 2005 report. More people are turning their backs on conventional medicine and opting for alternative medicine instead. One in ten consumers already prefer using alternative medicine, with a further one in three prepared to consider these treatments. As GPs refer patients to complementary practitioners, manufacturers and retailers have also responded to the market by selling herbal treatments as well as conventional products in pharmacies.

Meanwhile, 55 per cent of all British adults use fresh food ingredients, instead of processed food, with 34 per cent of adults buying free-range products. This follows greater awareness about the ill-effects of some additives and preservatives.

TB information roll out

A range of new information on tuberculosis (TB) including top facts and a handy Q&A is now available on www.immunisation.nhs.uk following World Stop TB Day. The materials, also available as hard copies, have been produced by the Department of Health in collaboration with charity TB Alert to raise awareness of TB amongst health and other professionals and the public. The information materials are available in 20 languages and includes a discrete 'credit card' with key information about symptoms and what action people should take if they are worried about TB; a 16 page factsheet which addresses concerns and misconceptions about the disease as well as answers to a wide variety of questions; and an eye catching poster.

Mobile units tackle TB

A mobile digital screening van is being used to tackle the rising number of cases of tuberculosis (TB) in London. The city has 20 times the rate of the lung disease than anywhere else in the UK, with 50 people infected every week. The vans can test 300 people a day and the x-rays can diagnose if a patient has TB 30 seconds after they have been screened. The x-ray can tell whether a person has become infectious, which helps to reduce the spread of the disease. The rate of TB is linked to deprivation and the unit will be able to visit vulnerable groups such as hostels housing the homeless.

Health warning for parents

Parents' health is suffering as people over-eat, drink too much alcohol and fail to take enough exercise because they are working such long hours, a report says. They also suffer from headaches, exhaustion and depression and do not see enough of their children says Time, Health and the Family: What Working Families Want. Sarah Jackson, the chief executive of Working Families, the charity which produced the study, said parents felt trapped in a culture of "long working hours and short-changed families" - or so-called "binge working".

2nd September 2008

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