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MPs to Review the Gay Blood Ban

Currently there is a ban on gay men from the UK on donating blood unless they have abstained from sex for 12 months beforehand. However, campaigners are looking at getting this rule amended.

The campaigners believe this rule to be outdated and not consistent with modern HIV screening technology.

Recently the MP for Glasgow South, Stewart McDonald, chaired an evidence session in parliament on the issue, and the APPG (All-Party Parliamentary Group) has launched an investigation to review the current rules.

It is estimated that only 4% of people in the UK donate blood, and that blood is at a shortage. This is leading MPs to think of new ways to increase the amount of blood that is being donated.

However, the MPs investigating the matter are keen to point out safety is the most important factor in all of this, and the rules will only be changed if it is proven that it can be done safely. McDonald has said:

“There is a body of evidence which shows the 12-month deferral period for Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) donating blood could be reduced to 3 months and we want to explore all restrictions on donation to ensure as many people as possible are able to do this life-saving act.

“We’re looking forward to taking further evidence later this year.”

But he has also said:

“The APPG will look at how we can increase the blood stock while always maintaining its safety and integrity.”

A string of discussions are taking place, at each one they will compile and discuss the evidence presented before producing a report on how much blood is safe to donate, and at what timescale.

There is also a large element of equality behind the campaign. As the law currently stands it bases the timescales around sexuality, rather than sexual practices. At the moment if a homosexual couple have protected sex they are not able to donate for 12 months, whereas a heterosexual couple have unprotected sex they perfectly able to give blood immediately.

Phlebotomy training will keep an eye on the progress of this case closely. To inquire about any of ours services just give us a call on 01609 751 610.

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And the Nobel Prize for Chemistry Goes to…

On the 5th of October, 2016 the Nobel Prize for Chemistry was split between three men. Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir Fraser Stoddart and Bernard Feringa. They will split the 8m Kroner prize for their work on the design and synthesis of machines on a molecular level.

The prize for Chemistry is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden.

The applications for these tiny machines is huge. They could be used prolifically in medicine where they could deliver treatments directly into the problem area. For example they could deliver medicine directly to the site of cancer, without affecting the tissue around it.

These tiny machines are far too small for the eye to see, so the creation and manipulation of them is nothing short of miraculous. However very early on in their inception the creators built a tiny ‘car’ that had four wheel drive.

Not only is the prize a huge accolade for the scientists to hold, but the Nobel Prize is so well known that when they are awarded they directly influence the fields of scientific research. This means that this particular area of chemistry is now likely to receive a lot of attention, and subsequently funding, to further its development.

If these tiny machines are constantly developed it won’t be long before they are used in medicine, and will ultimately benefit the lives of millions.

The physicist Richard Feymann is often credited with creating the idea of molecular machines. In a speech he made at the California Institute of Technology in 1959 he introduced the idea of ‘swallowing surgeon’, it turns out he wasn’t too far from the mark.

One member of the recipients is a Scottish Professor called Sir Fraser Stoddart. He was born in Edinburgh in 1942 and is currently working out of Northwestern University, in the US. He made a massive breakthrough the development of molecular machines by threading a molecular ring onto a rod structure that acted as an axle. He then went on to move the ring up and down the rod.

Since that initial discovery he has built numerous machines including a lift, a muscle and – in partnership with other researchers – a computer chip.

Hopefully, now a light has been shone on this field of research, it will be developed quickly and can be put to good use as soon as possible.

Phlebotomy Training Services have been providing phlebotomy training in various locations around the country since 2007. To find out more about the training we can provide simply call us on 01609 751 610.