In the news: Paranoia, heart attacks, care homes and the digital afterlife

Date: 31/08/2017 Written by: Rosie 4 minutes to read.
News review

The NHS is trialling a new app to help with paranoia, a study has shown that an anti-inflammatory drug could reduce heart attack risks, police are feeling the strain from a record number of mental health reports, care homes are facing a shortage in available beds and how you can continue living after death in the digital world. Below, we have given an overview of the news stories which have caught our eye over the past couple of weeks to save you the time of looking yourself!

NHS to trial a new app to help with paranoia

The NHS is set to begin a study testing a newly developed app which could help treat people who suffer from paranoia. The app, which has been developed based on three decades worth of research conducted by the University of Oxford and Kings College London, will encourage those who have outbreaks of paranoia to answer questions and slow down their thinking. The user will be required to enter information about what is causing their distress and the intensity of the feeling. With this information, the app will be able to keep track of what works for the individual in stressful times, it will also help them come up with their own reassuring alternatives to panic. Paranoia is a common side effect for those who have severe mental health problems. The study will involve 360 people, some will use the app and some will use their regular care, and results will be compared.

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How could you live on after death in the digital world

The digital age is expanding into all aspects of our lives, so it was only a matter of time before it started to expand into our afterlife. As ludicrous as it sounds, the digital afterlife is currently an area of the industry numerous startup companies are investing heavily in, one such being 'Eternime'. Set to launch next year, 37,000 people have already signed up with the aim for the company to take on their online persona in the event of their death. Eternime plan to combine your online footprint with artificial intelligence to create an avatar of yourself which can interact with your loved ones, update your social media and even help with your own funeral arrangements. Other platforms allow you to write your own social media updates to be posted after you die. As controversial as these sound, they are encouraging young people to make plans in the event of their death, such as preparing a will and planning their funeral. We do recommend if you are considering this as an option, please inform your loved ones first. Or else they could be in for a shock!

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Care homes facing a shortage in available beds

Studies suggest up to 3000 elderly people will not be able to secure a bed in a care home by the end of next year. The study, conducted by BBC Radio 4's programme 'You and Yours', revealed that in the past three years 1 in 20 care homes across England have closed resulting in a shortfall of 21,500 beds and local authorities are not able to fill the gap quick enough to keep up with demand. The increase in demand from the ageing population is the result of longer life expectancies and a lack of home care options available. The Department of Health have pledged to give an extra £2 billion to social care services to help this problem, but at the rate things are currently going it is expected the UK will see a shortfall of 70,000 beds in care homes in nine years’ time.

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Anti-inflammatory drug could reduce heart attack risks

In a study of 10,000 patients, the trial of a new drug 'Canakinumab' has shown it could reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes with a 15% reduction in the risk of repeat heart attacks. The study was conducted across 40 countries up to a period of four years. The British Heart Foundation has released a statement saying they are excited about the drug and how it could help those suffering from heart problems. However, the study did also reveal there is an increase in the risk of contracting potentially fatal infections. Due to this, some medical professionals are arguing the benefits of the drug are not worth the risk and call for further research to assess the risks.

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Police face record number of mental health related reports

Britain's police forces are feeling the strain, receiving a record number of calls relating to mental health issues. It has been reported that over 115,000 calls were made to police last year that were mental health related, with the largest force receiving an astonishing one call every five minutes. Although police are now recording these reports more efficiently, it still does not account for the large rise in calls. The NHS has seen a 60% increase in referrals but cuts to their funding. Police have said that most of the calls are not people who need the police, they are people who are unable to access professionals.

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