It seems that Team GB may be enjoying a home advantage at the Olympic Games as the BBC reports that elite athletes who travel across more than five timezones to compete, more than double their risk of illness. A study published in the BMJ found that the different germs and allergens of a new environment affect the athletes although the actual air travel does not seem to play a part. The study which tracked the daily health of 259 elite rugby players that played in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand over 16 weeks found that the number of reported illness rose from 15 in every 1,000 days when they were on their home turf to 33 when they were more than five hours’ time difference away from home. And almost a third of all illnesses reported were respiratory conditions, followed by gut problems and skin and soft tissue conditions. One of the authors of the study Professor Martin Schwellnus said: ‘The stresses of travelling seem not to affect the players because when they return home the risk of illness does not differ from normal. Changes in air pollution, temperature, allergens, humidity, altitude as well as different food, germs and culture could all contribute to illness when arriving in a distant destination.’
From athletes to the over-60s, a report out today suggests too many elderly people are being admitted to hospital because NHS care is too disorganised. According to the Telegraph, a report by the King’s Fund estimated that 2.3m overnight stays in hospital could be prevented and savings of £462m could be made if all areas of the country performed as well as the top 25%. The report found that where hospital services were well integrated with community services and GPs were working well together with social care services, emergency bed use was low. Experts are suggesting that GPs work closer with health services in the community to minimise hospital admissions among the over-60s, the Telegraph reports.
And there is more bad news for the elderly as the Daily Mail reports that the latest research shows that ADHD may be just as common in the elderly as it is in children. In a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, the Dutch researchers found that around 4% of adults aged 60 and 70 suffered from ADHD, a similar proportion as children. Meanwhile the proportion fell to just 2% of those aged 70 to 94.