NHS Constitution to be modified to allow drug companies patient records access

From Pulse

PM: NHS Constitution to be modified to allow drug companies patient records access
By Gemma Collins | 07 Aug 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron has announced the NHS Constitution is set to be changed to allow pharmaceutical companies access to anonymised GP records ‘on a scale never seen before’.

The constitution currently guarantees patients the right to confidentiality and ‘to expect the NHS to keep your confidential information safe and secure’.

But a consultation on the constitution due to start in October is set to overturn this right to allow patients’ data to be automatically used for research unless the patient specifically chooses to opt out, the Mr Cameron revealed.

Pulse revealed in May that patients would be given the right to withhold identifiable data from being extracted from GP records, under proposed changes to a Government scheme to create a central NHS patient data service.

In a speech to the Global Health Policy Summit in London last week, Mr Cameron said the Government would also be consulting on the changes to the NHS Constitution later in the year.
He told the summit the data would be anonymised, but the open access would ‘help make the UK the best place in the world to carry out cutting-edge research’.

Mr Cameron said: ‘Drug development relies more and more on real-time data. The UK is going to be the world leader when it comes to making this kind of data available, and we’re going to do this by harnessing the incredible data collected by our NHS.

‘We are about to consult on changing the NHS Constitution so that the default setting is for patients’ data to be used for research unless the patient opts out. This will make anonymised data available to scientists and researchers on a scale never seen before.’

He said the data would be used for research into ‘long-neglected areas’ of care like dementia.

The consultation is due to start in October, according to the Department of Health.

A new study at Columbia University shows that pre-diabetes can be found from a routine dental checkup

from Marty Jablow

Early Detection Of Diabetes In Teeth Is Funded By Columbia University
A new study at Columbia University shows that pre-diabetes can be found from a routine dental checkup

NEW YORK, July 22, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — A recent study published in the Journal of Dental Research at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine (CDM) and backed by The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation amongst others; found that a pre-diabetes determination can be made by simply going to the dentist.

The study has huge implications for those Americans who are developing Type 2 diabetes at alarming rates. Unlike Type 1, Type 2 Diabetes is acquired, mostly from poor diet and therefore, early detection can stop the disease from progressing. According to the American Diabetes Association, a whopping 25.8 million Americans now have diabetes. That’s 8.3% of the US population and 90% -95% of that is from Type 2.

The study at Columbia looked at approximately 530 adults with at least one diabetes risk factor (family history of diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, or obesity). Each patient received a periodontal examination and a finger-stick, hemoglobin A1c test. Patients later returned for a fasting plasma glucose test, to show whether they have diabetes or pre-diabetes.

The researchers found that a basic algorithm of only two dental parameters (the number of missing teeth and percentage of deep periodontal pockets) was necessary to identify patients with unrecognized pre-diabetes or diabetes. The addition of the hemoglobin A1c test further improved the algorithm’s performance.

“Periodontal disease is an early complication of diabetes, and about 70% of U.S. adults see a dentist at least once a year,” says Dr. Ira Lamster, Dean of CDM and senior author of the study.

“This study will hopefully become part of any routine dental checkup,” Jeffrey Epstein remarked, whose foundation supports cutting edge science research. “Together with a hemoglobin A1c test, it will vastly improve the prevention of Type 2 diabetes.”

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