Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2014 » 3 » Asbestos Blunder Results in Demolition Firm FineAsbestos Blunder Results in Demolition Firm FineA Portsmouth company has faced criminal charges today after it stripped more than 50 metres of asbestos board without the correct licences.James Site Services, of Cosham, was taken to Court by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after inspectors carried out a routine inspection at one of its small development sites in Fareham, Hampshire and uncovered serious failings.Asbestos InsulationPortsmouth Magistrates’ Court was told that James Site Services, which specialises mainly in site preparation for demolition projects, had been hired to strip out asbestos from a bungalow that was due to be refurbished.During an inspection, the HSE discovered the company had illegally removed 54 metres of cancer-causing insulation boards, even though it did not have the correct licence.Only registered tradesmen are allowed to handle asbestos removal work because of the dangers it poses, with Mesothelioma cancer, which is caused by fibres from the material coating the inside of a worker’s lungs, resulting in hundreds of deaths a year in the UK.Asbestos Survey IgnoredAlthough James Site Services had correctly commissioned a survey to identify the presence of asbestos, the HSE said the company chose to ignore its findings and carried out the asbestos removal work itself, exposing workers to serious dangers.For its part in this decision, James Site Services was fined a total of £500 and told to pay £1,000 in costs after it pleaded guilty to a single breach of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.In cases where executives ignore the concerns of third parties in relation to asbestos, penalties are normally larger, but because James Site Services is only a very small company, the sanctions were made less severe.”Serious Failing”Speaking after his organisation’s successful prosecution, HSE inspector Dominic Goacher said, “This was a serious failing on the part of the company. Having received the survey they asked for, it looks as though no one at James Site Services bothered to read it. Or, if they did, they disregarded its contents and failed to act to protect workers from possible exposure to one of the deadly killers in industry.”HSE operates a highly-regulated licence regime in order to ensure work with asbestos is carried out safely by a skilled, competent workforce. By taking the work on, James Site Services not only put their workers at risk but also gained an unfair financial advantage.”Mr Goacher added that it is very important companies not only get an asbestos survey done, but that they also follow its guidance and ensure that staff members are properly protected.One of the most dangerous factors in dealing with asbestos is that it is almost invisible and is very hard to identify at first glance.Asbestos Hidden Killer CampaignIn an attempt to highlight the dangers of exposure to asbestos materials, the HSE recently launched its Hidden Killer campaign to educate small business owners on the seriousness of asbestos inhalation.Not only can improper asbestos extraction lead to litigation, it can cause those affected to suffer from a slow, painful death, as the inner-lining of the lungs is heavily damaged by the material.By Francesca WitneyOr Call freephone 0800 884 0321SHARE THISRead more
Hi all in my email menu !Once again, apologies if you get this nasty news 2nd hand or doubled up as it goes “universal”.We saw Louisa’s Oncologist, Allan Zimet, at Epworth Hospital in Melbourne yesterday afternoon 5 Aug. following her PET scan last wednesday. Results – new cancer tumours growing on left & right side of chest area above & below diaphragm, plus increased fluid buildup in abdominal area.Zimet wants immediate chemotherapy so Louisa will be admitted to John Fawkner Private Hosp in Melbourne today at 1pm for an initial 2 nights. 6-8 weeks of chemo will follow.As usual she is looking great & will fight this latest upset as she has for the last 10 1/2 years.I may be hard to get for a few days but will …Read more
Sep. 4, 2013 — A protein at the center of Parkinson’s disease research now also has been found to play a key role in causing the destruction of bacteria that cause tuberculosis, according to scientists led by UC San Francisco microbiologist and tuberculosis expert Jeffery Cox, PhD.The protein, named Parkin, already is the focus of intense investigation in Parkinson’s disease, in which its malfunction is associated with a loss of nerve cells. Cox and colleagues now report that Parkin also acts on tuberculosis, triggering destruction of the bacteria by immune cells known as macrophages. Results appear online today (September 4, 2013) in the journal Nature.The finding suggests that disease-fighting strategies already under investigation in pre-clinical studies for Parkinson’s disease might also prove useful in fighting tuberculosis, according to Cox. Cox is investigating ways to ramp up Parkin activity in mice infected with tuberculosis using a strategy similar to one being explored by his UCSF colleague Kevan Shokat, PhD, as a way to ward off neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease.Globally, tuberculosis kills 1.4 million people each year, spreading from person to person through the air. Parkinson’s disease, the most common neurodegenerative movement disorder, also affects millions of mostly elderly people worldwide.Cox homed in on the enzyme Parkin as a common element in Parkinson’s and tuberculosis through his investigations of how macrophages engulf and destroy bacteria. In a sense the macrophage — which translates from Greek as “big eater” — gobbles down foreign bacteria, through a process scientists call xenophagy.Mycobacterium tuberculosis, along with a few other types of bacteria, including Salmonella and leprosy-causing Mycobacterium leprae, are different from other kinds of bacteria in that, like viruses, they need to get inside cells to mount a successful infection.The battle between macrophage and mycobacterium can be especially intense. M. tuberculosis invades the macrophage, but then becomes engulfed in a sac within the macrophage that is pinched off from the cell’s outer membrane. The bacteria often escape this intracellular jail by secreting a protein that degrades the sac, only to be targeted yet again by molecular chains made from a protein called ubiquitin. …Read more
July 30, 2013 — Type 2 diabetics who have severe hypoglycaemia are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, a new article suggests.Severe hypoglycaemia is a condition where there is an abnormally low content of sugar in the blood. It is often classed as a medical emergency.Severe hypoglycaemia is a potential risk factor for cardiovascular disease in patients with type 2 diabetes and recent clinical trials have failed to demonstrate a beneficial effect of intensive glucose control on overall CVD events.Although observational studies have reported a positive association between severe hypoglycaemia and CVD risk, the association remains controversial. So researchers from Japan, the USA and the Netherlands carried out the first systematic review to assess this association.They analysed the results of six studies involving a study population of 903,510 patients. Information on patients’ characteristics was taken, including: age, gender, duration of diabetes, CVD history, insulin use, BMI and smoking status.In total, 0.6 — 5.8% of participants experienced severe hypoglycaemia from one to five years follow-up. Overall, this added just 1.56% to the total risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the whole population, but the link was consistent with all studies showing a positive correlation.Given this risk, the researchers say avoiding severe hypoglycaemia may be important to prevent CVD and “less stringent glycaemic targets may be considered for type 2 diabetic patients at high risk of hypoglycaemia.”The positive association has been previously explained by having one or more other serious illnesses, but the researchers say this is unlikely to explain this. They suggest that the prevalence of serious illnesses would need to be “unrealistically high” among patients who experienced severe hypoglycaemia and the association between serious illnesses and cardiovascular disease would need to be “extremely strong.”In conclusion, the researchers say that their results suggest “that severe hypoglycaemia is associated with a 2-fold increased risk of CVD.” They say that choices of glucose lowering agents with a low propensity to induce hypoglycaemia, patient education, and self-monitoring of blood glucose can be useful in preventing hypoglycaemia which in turn, “may be important to prevent cardiovascular disease in type 2 diabetes patients.”Read more
July 23, 2013 — It’s no surprise that those who tend to see a rose’s blooms before its thorns are also better at handling stress. But science has failed to reliably associate optimism with individuals’ biological stress response — until now.New research from Concordia University’s Department of Psychology is deepening the understanding of how optimists and pessimists each handle stress by comparing them not to each other but to themselves. Results show that indeed the “stress hormone” cortisol tends to be more stable in those with more positive personalities.The study, which was recently published in the American Psychological Association’s Health Psychology journal, tracked 135 older adults (aged 60+) over six years, and involved collecting saliva samples five times a day to monitor cortisol levels. This age group was selected because older adults often face a number of age-related stressors and their cortisol levels have been shown to increase.Participants were asked to report on the level of stress they perceived in their day-to-day lives, and self-identify along a continuum as optimists or pessimists. Each person’s stress levels were then measured against their own average. Measuring the stress levels against participants’ own average provided a real-world picture of how individuals handle stress because individuals can become accustomed to the typical amount of stress in their lives.Joelle Jobin, a PhD candidate in clinical psychology who co-authored the study with her supervisor Carsten Wrosch and Michael Scheier from Carnegie Mellon University, says “for some people, going to the grocery store on a Saturday morning can be very stressful, so that’s why we asked people how often they felt stressed or overwhelmed during the day and compared people to their own averages, then analyzed their responses by looking at the stress levels over many days.”She also notes that pessimists tended to have a higher stress baseline than optimists, but also had trouble regulating their system when they go through particularly stressful situations. “On days where they experience higher than average stress, that’s when we see that the pessimists’ stress response is much elevated, and they have trouble bringing their cortisol levels back down. Optimists, by contrast, were protected in these circumstances,” says Jobin.While the study generally confirmed the researchers’ hypotheses about the relation between optimism and stress, one surprising finding was that optimists who generally had more stressful lives secreted higher cortisol levels than expected shortly after they awoke (cortisol peaks just after waking and declines through the day). Jobin says there are several possible explanations, but also notes that the finding points to the difficulty of classifying these complex hormones as good or bad. “The problem with cortisol is that we call it “the stress hormone,” but it’s also our ‘get up and do things’ hormone, so we may secrete more if engaged and focused on what’s happening.”Read more
June 19, 2013 — Some parents desire for their children to fulfill their own unrealized ambitions, just as psychologists have long theorized, according to a new first-of-its-kind study.Researchers found the more that parents see their child as part of themselves, the more likely they are to want their child to succeed in achieving their own failed dreams.The results might help explain the actions of so-called “stage moms” or “sports dads” who push their sometimes-unwilling children to become stars of the stage or gridiron, said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University.”Some parents see their children as extensions of themselves, rather than as separate people with their own hopes and dreams,” Bushman said.”These parents may be most likely to want their children to achieve the dreams that they themselves have not achieved.”The study was led by Eddie Brummelman of Utrecht University in the Netherlands. It appears online today (6/19) in the journal PLOS ONE.The results, while not surprising, had not previously been the subject of empirical research, Bushman said.”Right from the beginning of psychology, there have been theories that parents transfer their own broken dreams onto their children,” he said. “But it really hasn’t been experimentally tested until now.”The study, conducted in the Netherlands, involved 73 parents (89 percent mothers) of a child aged 8 to 15.Parents first completed a scale designed to measure how much they saw their children as part of themselves — from completely separate to nearly the same. This scale is commonly used in psychology, and has been found to be very reliable, Bushman said.The participants were then randomly separated into two groups. In one group, the parents listed two ambitions they had not been able to achieve in their lives, and wrote about why these ambitions were important to them. The other group completed a similar exercise, but focused on an acquaintance’s ambitions rather than their own.Some of the dreams that eluded parents included becoming a professional tennis player, writing a published novel and starting a successful business.Now that the parents were thinking about unfulfilled ambitions, they were asked several questions that probed their desire to have their child achieve their own lost dreams. For example, they were asked how strongly they agreed with statements like “I hope my child will reach goals that I wasn’t able to reach.”Results showed that parents who reflected on their own lost dreams (as compared to those of acquaintances) were more likely to want their children to fulfill them — but only if they felt strongly that their child was a part of themselves.Moreover, those who felt strongly that their child was a part of themselves were much more likely to want their children to fulfill their dreams — but only when they were asked to write about their own unfulfilled ambitions, as opposed to those of acquaintances. (The researchers asked some participants to write about acquaintances to be sure that thinking about one’s own unfulfilled ambitions was the key issue and not thinking about unfulfilled ambitions in general.)Bushman said it was significant that parents who see their children as part of themselves were the ones who transferred their dreams onto their offspring.”Parents then may bask in the reflected glory of their children, and lose some of the feelings of regret and disappointment that they couldn’t achieve these same goals,” he said. “They might be living vicariously through their children.”Future research will be needed to determine how this desire of parents for their children to fulfill their dreams may impact the mental health of their offspring, Bushman said.Other co-authors of the study included Sander Thomaes of Utrecht University and the University of Southampton; and Meike I. Slagt, Geertjan Overbeek and Bram Orobio de Castro of Utrecht University.Read more
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Feb. 15, 2011 — Breast-cancer patient Kristin Wiginton is the first to be treated at UT Southwestern Medical Center with high-beam radiation using the Accuray CyberKnife System, which offers improved cosmetic results, less radiation exposure to surrounding tissue and a shorter treatment period.
Dr. Wiginton is among 45 participants in a UT Southwestern-based clinical trial — the first of its kind in the Southwest — investigating use of the radiation delivery system for breast cancer. Her post-lumpectomy therapy lasted one-third the duration of a typical radiation session for a breast-cancer patient.
While CyberKnife has been used at UT Southwestern since 1997, it primarily has been targeted for tumors of the brain and spine.
“If this had not worked out for me, I would have gone with six and a half weeks of traditional radiation,” said Dr. Wiginton, 45, an associate professor of health studies at Texas Woman’s University.
Instead, her treatment took less than two weeks and consisted of five 90-minute sessions every two to three days. Her final treatment was Feb. 3 at UT Southwestern University Hospital — Zale Lipshy.
Radiation therapy following a lumpectomy is commonly recommended to remove potential residual cancer, said Dr. Robert Timmerman, professor of radiation oncology and neurological surgery who is leading the study. Current radiation protocols for breast cancer, however, can be long and uncomfortable. Shorter courses treating smaller breast volumes, called partial breast irradiation, have shown considerable promise in clinical studies, he said. The most common partial breast irradiation approach, brachytherapy, requires a catheter implant via a surgical procedure. Another method delivers the treatment using conventional radiotherapy equipment but may lead to less-pleasing cosmetic results.
Dr. Wiginton described her first CyberKnife session as painless. Though a bit tired, she said the treatment was not uncomfortable and she spent most of the time listing to music on her iPod.
“You don’t have to worry about moving too much, because you are put into a mold,” she said, referring to a special padded bed she rested on during the procedure.
The trial’s protocol is being carried out in conjunction with experts in the UT Southwestern Center for Breast Care at the Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated center in North Texas.
Patients preparing for CyberKnife radiation treatments have minute gold seed markers called fiducials implanted around the affected breast tissue. The CyberKnife’s image-guided system tracks the fiducials to deliver radiation to the area, including moving with each breath taken by the patient.
Instead of standard radiation therapy systems that require heavy equipment with very limited maneuverability and beam direction, CyberKnife uses a lighter linear accelerator on a robotic arm to focus multiple beams of radiation with a millimeter precision, while leaving surrounding healthy tissue unharmed.
“The impetus for this protocol is to avoid that invasiveness while still achieving excellent cosmetic results,” said Dr. Timmerman, referring to the typical brachytherapy procedure. “This gives the same amount of radiation, but in a noninvasive way. Each [CyberKnife-delivered] beam is very weak, so it causes very little entry damage. It will move around to 200 different positions.”
Qualified participants must have localized early-stage breast cancer, must have successfully underwent a lumpectomy and be at least 18 years old. Patients will be evaluated over the next 10 years to check if they remain cancer-free, for potential cosmetic changes in the breast and any unanticipated effects that may develop from radiation treatment.
Dr. Wiginton, referred for the study by Dr. Dan Garwood, associate professor of radiation oncology, said she hopes the procedure will be successful and offer new radiation therapy options for breast-cancer patients.
Because heart disease ran her family, traditional radiation therapy wasn’t a good choice for Dr. Wiginton due to potential damage to surrounding tissues, including the heart. CyberKnife’s precision greatly lessened that risk.
“If they’re willing to use it on brain cancer, I think it’s a fairly safe bet to use in a breast,” Dr. Wiginton said.Read more
Apr. 17, 2012 — New research published in the Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery suggests that the failure rate of silicone breast implants manufactured by Poly Implant Prosthèse (PIP) could be as high as 33.8%.
“Previous studies have typically reported failure rates of between 2% and 5% and these estimates have been based on secondary data. In this study, all participants were scanned by ultrasound, which provides conclusive indication of rupture, rather than clinical examination which is typically used. Most previous studies were based on multiple surgeon, multiple technique, with a relatively small number of patients and shorter follow up time span,” commented Mr. Jan Stanek, lead author of the study.
Patients who received PIP implants either for primary or secondary breast augmentation, between January 2000 and August 2005, were studied to determine implant failure rate and other complications. Results found that 7 to 12 years after implantation the failure rate for PIP implants is in the region of 15.9-33.8%.
Previous studies have typically reported failure rates of between 2% and 5% and these estimates have been based on secondary data. In this study, all participants were scanned by ultrasound, which provides conclusive indication of rupture, rather than clinical examination which is typically used. Most previous studies were based on multiple surgeon, multiple technique, with a relatively small number of patients and shorter follow up time span,” commented Mr. Jan Stanek, lead author of the study.
Concerns about the durability of PIP silicone breast implants have been expressed for several years prior to their formal withdrawal from the UK market in March 2010. Although precise details of what elements were at fault remain unclear, concerns have been raised about both the elastomer (the outer cover of the implant) and the filler gel.
In this study PIP implants were used by the plastic surgeon for both primary and secondary breast augmentation. A database of patients was constructed and each patient was offered a free consultation and referral for ultrasound scan. Chief outcome measures included secondary surgery, implant rupture rate and time to rupture.
453 patients with PIP devices were identified. Of this number, 30 had already undergone implant exchange for a variety of reasons. 180 (39.7%) could not be contacted and 19 had undergone implant removal elsewhere. Of those who could be contacted, 47 declined consultation as they had no concerns. 97 had neither clinical signs nor radiographic evidence of implant rupture and elected to remain under regular review. At the time of writing, 38 had undergone implant exchange after ultrasonographic indication of rupture.
Based on these results, if the group of non-responders had no ruptures, the overall rupture rate would be 15.9%. However, it the non-responders had the same rupture rate as those examined in the study, the overall rupture rate would be 33.8%.
Mr. Stanek indicates that all PIP implants, due to the high rupture rate and uncertainty about the nature of the silicone gel, may need to be removed. Those patients with ruptured implants will have to have them removed; those with no evidence of rupture will need to be monitored on a regular basis. Further research into the nature of the elastomer and gel filler will determine whether all PIP implants should be explanted in the future.Read more
Oct. 2, 2012 — Breast cancer patients who have received radiation therapy after mastectomy have more problems related to the use of implants for breast reconstruction, according to a review in the October issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
Although women should be aware of these increased risks, implant-based breast reconstruction after radiation therapy is still successful in most cases, according to the paper by Dr. Steven J. Kronowitz of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.
Breast Implants after Radiation Carry Increased Risks
Dr. Kronowitz reviews and synthesizes recent research on breast reconstruction using implants for patients receiving radiation therapy. To reduce the risk of recurrent breast cancer, increasing numbers of women are being treated with radiation therapy after mastectomy (postmastectomy radiation therapy, or PMRT). Radiation has toxic effects on tissues that can cause problems with healing.
Reconstructive surgeons agree that breast reconstruction results after radiation therapy tend to be better when the patient’s own (autologous) tissue is used. However, in some situations implants may be the preferred option for reconstruction, or the only choice. The goal of the review was to analyze the best available evidence on the use of breast implants after radiation therapy.
Dr. Kronowitz identified 19 studies, of varying quality, evaluating the results of implant-based reconstruction in patients receiving PMRT. He writes, “In general, radiation increases the risk of complications and poor aesthetic outcomes of implant-based reconstruction.”
In one of the largest studies performed to date, the risk of major complications was about 45 percent for women receiving implants with radiation therapy, compared to 24 percent in patients not exposed to radiation. Complications were more common when radiation was given before versus after implant-based reconstruction: 64 versus 58 percent.
The highest-quality study found that, among women undergoing implant reconstruction, patient satisfaction scores were lower for those receiving radiation therapy. Another study reported that women receiving implants after radiation therapy were more likely to need major corrective surgery.
Newer Techniques May Lead to Improved Results
One paper suggested that radiation-related skin damage predicted higher complication rates and poorer aesthetic outcomes after implant-based reconstruction. Some recent research indicated that the results of implant reconstruction after PMRT could be improved by the addition of autologous fat transfer — using the patient’s own fat tissue to enhance the results.
“Despite advances in reconstructive devices and materials, PMRT still appears to have an adverse impact on outcomes of implant-based breast reconstruction,” Dr. Kronowitz writes. “However,” he adds,” the majority of patients who undergo implant-based reconstruction and PMRT ultimately keep the implant-based reconstruction.” Outcomes appear better with two-stage reconstruction, where the implant is placed after PMRT, rather than immediately after mastectomy.
Autologous fat grafting and other new approaches hold promise for improving the results of implant-based reconstruction after radiation therapy for breast cancer, Dr. Kronowitz believes. “In the meantime, patients who will receive or have received radiation should be advised of the risks of implant-based breast reconstruction.” In an upcoming article, Dr. Kronowitz will review recent data on the results of autologous tissue-based breast reconstruction after radiation therapy.Read more