Reasons why women request caesarean sections need to be explored more by clinicians

Clinicians need to explore the reasons behind why women request a caesarean section rather than counsel women about the risks says a new review published today (17 October) in The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist (TOG).

Caesarean section on maternal request (CSMR) is carried out in the absence of maternal or fetal indications. One of the main psychological causes is tokophobia, an intense fear of childbirth affecting between six to ten percent of women.

Gene mutation shown to cause leukaemia and lymphoedema

Researchers have discovered a gene that when mutated can cause lymphoedema (swollen limbs due to a failure of the lymph system), immune abnormalities, deafness and leukaemia. The identification of the gene responsible for causing this rare combination of medical conditions, known as Emberger syndrome, could allow earlier identification and treatment of those at risk.

This study, which is published online in the journal Nature Genetics this week (Sunday 4 September), showed that it is caused by a mutation in the GATA2 gene.

New score can tell doctors how long cancer patients have left to live

A new scoring system can more reliably predict whether patients with advanced cancer are likely to survive for “days”, “weeks” or “months” finds a study published today.

Patients with advanced cancer and their carers often wish to know how long they have left to live. This information is also important for clinicians to help them plan appropriate care. Clinician predictions of survival are the mainstay of current practice, but are unreliable, over-optimistic and subjective.

Researchers find early evidence that TB jab could help fight cancer

Scientists have found a potential new mechanism to stimulate the body’s own ability to fight cancer using Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) – the germ commonly used to inoculate against tuberculosis (TB). The findings are published online in the British Journal of Cancer today (Wednesday 10 August 2011).

The researchers, Dr Wai Liu and Professor Angus Dalgleish from St George’s, University of London, say this new data suggests a mechanism by which vaccines could enhance the anti-cancer activity of currently available therapies. However, they warn that this is an early-stage study and that there is much more research to be done before patients will benefit.

Nursing courses get regulator’s seal of approval

Degree-level nursing courses at Kingston University and St George's, University of London are among the first in the United Kingdom to have been approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

The council's new education standards have been designed to ensure freshly qualified nurses are fully prepared to deliver excellent patient care and meet the standards expected by employers. They will also give them all the skills needed to gain official registration.