Heart trial success - Smoking rates fall - Family have their say

Heart trial success - Smoking rates fall - Family have their say

REGENERATIVE treatment for heart patients is a step closer following a successful study in which stem cells were used to repair the damage.

The therapy halved the extent of normally permanent scarring on the heart following a heart attack, and led to the growth of new heart muscle.

However, the treatment produced no significant change in “ejection fraction” - a measure of the heart’s pumping capacity.

The Caduceus trial involved 25 patients with an average age of 53 who had all suffered a heart attack in the previous month.

Seventeen received coronary artery infusions of 12 to 25 million stem cells derived from healthy tissue taken from their own hearts. The remaining eight underwent standard post-heart attack care.

A year later, the proportion of the heart left scarred in the stem cell-treated patients had been reduced from 24% to 12%. No change was seen in patients who did not receive the treatment.

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Professor Eduardo Marban, director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, who led the US team, said: “The effects are substantial, and surprisingly larger in humans than they were in animal tests.

Banning smoking in public places also leads to cuts in the amount people who smoke at home, research suggests.

People are likely to implement their own “home bans” on lighting up once new laws come into force.

Researchers carried out surveys between 2003-4 and 2008-9 depending on when bans took effect.

The polls involved 4,634 smokers in Ireland, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Before a ban came into force, most smokers had at least partial restrictions on smoking at home, with young children and support for a smoking ban important factors.

But after new laws came into force, there was a rise in all countries in the proportion of people banning smoking at home - rising 25% in Ireland, 17% in France, 38% in Germany and 28% in the Netherlands.

There were fears smoking bans could lead to increased smoking in the home but the report found that banning smoking in public places “may stimulate smokers to establish total smoking bans” in their homes.

A new initiative will allow patients to have their say about the care and treatment they receive in hospital.

The new ‘friends and family’ test will ensure that patient experience is at the top of the region’s nursing and management agenda.

From April, patients admitted to hospitals will be asked how well their expectations are being met.

Dr Stephen Dunn, Director of Policy and Strategy at NHS Midlands and East, who is leading the revolution in patient experience, said: “Many hospitals are already making great strides in asking their patients for feedback.

“But the NHS needs to ask the same question across different wards and in different hospitals, in real time, so that staff can identify problems quickly.”