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January 2020


Charities join forces

Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation are joining forces this month (January 2020) in a merger expected to free up £2 million each year to enable more investment in research, support services and campaigning.

Both charities will retain their individual identities and continue to provide information and support, run expert helplines, and develop policy, but sharing running costs and office space 'makes sense'. Together they hope to become a more powerful voice for change, and build on previous collaborations such as the Taskforce for Lung Health.

Diabetes drug could prevent recurrent miscarriages

A drug commonly used in type 2 diabetes could help women who have had recurrent miscarriages improve their chances of a healthy pregnancies, researchers have found. The DPP-4 inhibitor, sitagliptin, has been found to increase stem cells in the lining of the uterus, potentially improving the environment in which the embryo develops. The research, conducted by Warwick University clinical trials unit, is at an early stage but results so far have been promising and warrant a further large scale clinical trial to evaluate the impact of preconception sitagliptin on pregnancy outcome. Lancet EBioMedicine 9 January 2020.

DUK Professional Conference

Diabetes UK's annual professional conference, Sharing Knowledge, Changing Lives takes place at the SEC Glasgow from 18 to 20 March 2020. The three-day multi-disciplinary programme, packed with events that include lectures, professional interest group meetings and hands-on, practical workshops, will also include bespoke masterclasses that deliver practical advice in areas that are often considered particularly challenging. Network with more than 3,000 peers, colleagues and experts from all over the world, and explore more than 500 abstract posters covering everything from basic science, clinical science and education, to clinical care management, healthcare delivery and psychological care.

You can register now at

Contract breaches soar

The number of general practices that have been found in breach of contract rose by 56%, an analysis by The BMJ has found. Problems include issues raised in CQC inspections such as problems with vaccine storage or management of documents, or unauthorised surgery closure during core hours, and unauthorised closure of their patient list. Failure to take appropriate action in response to commissioners' concerns can mean the practice's contract is terminated. But GP leaders say the underlying causes of the increase are funding, workforce and premises pressures and have called for practices to be supported rather than penalised.

Living without sense of smell

A new study reveals the huge range of emotional and physical effects caused by loss of the sense of smell, ranging from everyday concerns about personal hygiene, to impaired hazard perception. The study from the University of East Anglia found that people affected by the disorder experienced high rates of depression, anxiety, isolation and relationship difficulties, as well as loss of appetite. However, the disorder is often trivialised by healthcare professionals. To accompany the study, a short video is available at