People who overdose on paracetamol could be helped by a blood test that shows immediately if they are going to suffer liver damage. Researchers in Edinburgh and Liverpool said the test would help doctors identify which patients arriving in hospital need more intensive treatment. The blood test detects levels of specific molecules in blood associated with liver damage.
The three different molecules are called miR-122, HMGB1 and FL-K18. Previous studies have shown that levels of these markers are elevated in patients with liver damage long before current tests can detect a problem. A team led by the Universities of Edinburgh and Liverpool measured levels of the three markers in more than 1,000 patients across the UK who needed hospital treatment for paracetamol overdose. They found the test could accurately predict which patients are going to develop liver problems, and who may need to be treated for longer before they are discharged. The test could also help identify patients who could be safely discharged after treatment, freeing up hospital beds. About 50,000 people are admitted to hospital each year in the UK due to paracetamol overdose. Many people unknowingly consume too much by taking paracetamol at the same time as cold and flu medications that also contain the drug. Liver injuries are a common complication of drug overdoses. In some cases the damage can be so severe the patient needs a transplant and, in rare instances, can be fatal. Patients with a life-threatening level of paracetamol in their blood can be treated with an antidote called acetylcysteine, given by intravenous drip. The treatment is associated with side effects so doctors do not treat patients longer than necessary. The researchers said the test could help to pinpoint patients who are unlikely to benefit from treatment. The study, published in the Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology, was funded by the Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation and the Medical Research Council. Dr James Dear, of the University of Edinburgh, said: “Paracetamol overdose is very common and presents a large workload for already over-stretched emergency departments. “These new blood tests can identify who will develop liver injury as soon as they first arrive at hospital. This could transform the care of this large, neglected, patient group.”
Low-sodium diet may help you tackle hypertension-study
If you are suffering from hypertension, low sodium diet may recover faster, says a new study. A combination of reduced sodium intake along with a ‘dash diet’ or either of the two diets may lower blood pressure in adults with hypertension, a medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated, suggests a new research. Dash diets emphasises on receiving a proper amount of food and nutrients like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains along with low or fat-free dairy, fish, poultry, beans, seeds and nuts in order to lower the high blood pressure and control hypertension. The study, led by Stephen Juraschek, researcher at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, US, followed 412 adults with systolic blood pressures put either on low sodium diet or dash diet for four weeks. The participants were divided into four categories of blood pressure: less than 130 mmHg, between 130 and 139 mmHg, between 140 and 159 mmHg, and 150 or higher mmHg. Researchers found that the participants who cut their sodium intake or followed the dash diet but did not reduce their sodium intake saw a lower systolic blood pressure. Also, participants who were on the combined diet plan had low blood pressure compared to participants with high sodium intake eating their regular diet, as mentioned in the paper, presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017, in California.