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Gay people have worse experience of GP services, MS research can desensitise immune system, and cannabis addictive to adolescents

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines

The Guardian reports that gay people are up to 50% more likely to report having a negative experience of their GP services than heterosexual patients, and report worse communication and lower overall trust.

A Department of Health funded study evaluated  responses from 27,000 patients who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual  in the 2009-10 GP survey, it also found they were more likely to report poor physical and mental health.

Prof Martin Roland, director of the Cambridge Centre for Health Services Research said: ‘We need to ensure both that doctors recognise the needs of sexual minorities, and also that sexual minorities have the same experience of care as other patients. ‘

Promising news for MS sufferers as a team from Bristol University have demonstrated it’s possible to retrain the immune system not to attack patient’s own nervous system, the Telegraph reports.

By synthesising the myelin sheath forming proteins – which MS sufferer’s immune systems attack – in vitro and injecting them into the bloodstream in increasing doses, the immune system can be desensitised.

Lead author Dr Bronwen Burton said: ‘What we have found is that by synthesising those proteins in a soluble form we can desensitise the immune system by giving an escalating dose.’

And finally, new research which found 40% of adolescents suffer withdrawal symptoms when they stop smoking cannabis suggests the drug could be classes as addictive, the Daily Mail reports.

A study of 90 cannabis users, to be published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, found that 40% showed symptoms of withdrawal when they stopped taking the drug – the same participants were also categorised as cannabis dependent.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Add gay, lesbian and bisexual patients to the list of children, the elderly and those with cancer who we are apparently crap at helping.
    Are there any groups of patients that we are good at treating according to these surveys?
    Given we're so awful at our job it's a surprise patients' attendance figures rise every year!

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