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Vaping disables the lung’s cleaning systems and could cause chronic diseases, study finds

E-cigarette users could be putting themselves at risk of lung disease as a new study shows how the liquids they use hamstring the immune system’s ability to clear the lungs and prevent harmful chemical buildups. A study by Birmingham University researchers found the nicotine infused liquids used in e-cigarettes become much more potent cell killers when vaporised.

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I was diagnosed with OCD and, let me tell you, it’s much darker than a simple cleaning disorder

Every time I hear someone say they are “so OCD” because they frantically cleaned their kitchen that morning, I feel a surge of disappointment in my stomach.

Over the years, we have become conditioned to believe that obsessive compulsive disorder () is nothing more than liking your shoes lined up, having to count to a certain number or organising your cupboards with labels.

A guide to reducing everyday anxiety

Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners, which added to the belief that having OCD is all about getting down on your hands and knees to scrub a toilet over and over again.

While people often use the term lightheartedly, they don’t realise the damage they’re doing. But this isn’t exactly their fault. It’s a frequent misunderstanding. It’s a misunderstanding that has gone on for too long, and is demoralising to those seriously suffering with the disorder.

As part of OCD, an obsession is an unwanted or unpleasant thought, image or urge that repeatedly enters your mind, causing feelings of anxiety. These can be severe, intrusive thoughts – the fear that if you don’t wash your hands a certain number of times, you will contaminate yourself or someone else. The fear that if you don’t repeatedly check your oven, the house might set on fire. Or the fear that not properly turning the taps off – and doing so over and over again – will cause a flood.

Checking the oven, washing your hands and things like that are the compulsion. And the compulsion is done to ease the anxiety the obsessions cause.

Of course, this isn’t just a standard check. It’s non-stop. Going back to the taps and the oven to check you really did turn it off – because a voice in your head tells you that you didn’t, and that something bad is going to happen, is not a one-off.

These are rituals that can take hours out of your day-to-day life – for some, making it impossible to even leave the house.

There are so many subtypes of the disorder that people aren’t aware of – and they can cause a sufferer such extreme anxiety and feelings of guilt and shame that they do not talk about them.

, for instance, will cause a sufferer to have intrusive thoughts about harming people. They may hide knives away, fearing that they will actually carry out the thoughts. Or maybe they’ll refuse to drive, convincing themselves that they’ll steer the car into someone. Of course, a person with OCD will not act on these feelings. According to cognitive behavioural therapist Helen Tyrer, a person with OCD is actually less likely to harm anyone else due to how overwhelming the fears are. But the thoughts make you think otherwise.

There are also even , including paedophillia OCD (POCD), which causes a person to have awful thoughts about children. They may worry that they are a danger around children. That they might harm a child. Again, these people are not actually in any way harmful – but they will go on to avoid being around children, be that by cancelling on a nephew’s birthday party, or avoiding going near schools or parks.

The intrusive thoughts about harming children are the obsession, while avoiding certain scenarios to prevent danger is the compulsion.

Alongside POCD, other serious subtypes include post-partum OCD – where a mother becomes obsessively scared of harming her child, and sexuality OCD – where a person becomes convinced that they are gay, even when they are not. This can be incredibly confusing for a person with this condition, who is unable to define their sexuality due to their thoughts.

I was officially diagnosed with OCD last year. I had been suffering with a number of symptoms. I was washing my hands up to 60 times, scared that if I didn’t, I’d contaminate myself or someone else and make them sick. It sounds silly, but I worried that if I or someone else became sick because of my own hands they would die.

Other symptoms included taking an hour to get into bed, from frantically checking plugs and light switches, worried that there would be an electrical fire in the night. Leaving the house would be a nightmare for the fear of the doors being unlocked and someone breaking in, and I found myself obsessed with the thought that I’d killed someone while driving and being unable to remember it. At its worst, my OCD was a terrible, debilitating condition that reduced me to tears and even made me question my own life. I felt like I wasn’t living, merely existing, consumed by terrible thoughts and tiresome rituals.

She adds that though OCD is distressing to live with, it can be treated – most commonly with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or with Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), both of which are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as first line treatments.

With all of this in mind, we need to start recognising OCD for the life-destroying illness it really is. We need to educate ourselves, and others, too.

Not just to battle the old-fashioned misconceptions surrounding a very misunderstood condition, but to allow those suffering to feel like just that sufferers and not as though their illness is some form of ongoing joke between people who just don’t get it.

We need to do better. We can do better. And understanding OCD for what it really is and what it’s most definitely not can only take us a step forward in reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness that we sadly still face today.

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

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Glasgow surgical cleaning unit forced to close was riddled with mould and bacteria | Evening Times

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said issues with the fabric of the building were responsible for the closure, which lasted almost two weeks, but did not give any further details.

However, information obtained by the Evening Times using Freedom of Information laws, has revealed inspectors uncovered a ‘significant issue’ with bacterial and mould contamination in the cleanroom – the area where instruments are despatched to hospitals.

Inspectors from independent assessors at Lloyd’s Register Business Assurance were also critical that environmental checks scheduled to take place in October, had not been carried out and no results were available for a tests on November 8, leaving inspectors unclear if they had been carried out.

The inspectors said: “There was a significant issue relating to bacterial and mould contamination in the cleanroom.

“The October scheduled environmental monitoring was not performed as scheduled and was stated to have been performed 08.11.2018 – no results were available for review.

“Although a deep clean was performed, mould continues to be an issue.”

Professor Hugh Pennington, a leading bacteriologist, said the issue had put instruments at risk of contamination.

He said: “Clean rooms should be impeccably clean, that goes without saying.

“I assume that the clean room is at the end of the process of instrument preparation.

“The environmental problems therefore carry a theoretical risk that outgoing instruments could be contaminated. I also regard the non-performance of scheduled environmental monitoring as an important issue as was poor record keeping.”

Inspectors said the building was in a ‘poor state of repair’ with paint and plaster flaking from the ceilings in the washroom and the cleanroom.

The unit, was cleared for safety on November 22 and production recommenced four days later. However, not before more than 1000 operations were cancelled, including some ‘urgent’ cancer operations, hip or knee replacements and all scheduled tonsillectomies.

Some work was transferred to another unit in Inverclyde. However, one whistleblower claimed the board was forced to spend £140,000 sending dirty equipment to a private contractor in Manchester to cope with the problem.

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said all appropriate steps would be being taken to ensure the closure did not happen again.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said ‘the majority’ of patients who had operations postponed had been given alternative dates and the remainder would be re-booked over the next two weeks.

A spokeswoman for NHSGGC said: “Cowlairs is back in full operation after some issues raised by inspectors were fully addressed.

“The vast majority of patients who had to have procedures postponed have now been re-booked with early appointments and the few remaining will be re-booked within the next two weeks.”

This content was originally published here.

Glasgow surgical cleaning unit forced to close ‘riddled with mould and bacteria’ | Evening Times

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said issues with the fabric of the building were responsible for the closure, which lasted almost two weeks, but did not give any further details.

However, information obtained by the Evening Times using Freedom of Information laws, has revealed inspectors uncovered a ‘significant issue’ with bacterial and mould contamination in the cleanroom – the area where instruments are despatched to hospitals.

Inspectors from independent assessors at Lloyd’s Register Business Assurance were also critical that environmental checks scheduled to take place in October, had not been carried out and no results were available for a tests on November 8, leaving inspectors unclear if they had been carried out.

The inspectors said: “There was a significant issue relating to bacterial and mould contamination in the cleanroom.

“The October scheduled environmental monitoring was not performed as scheduled and was stated to have been performed 08.11.2018 – no results were available for review.

“Although a deep clean was performed, mould continues to be an issue.”

Professor Hugh Pennington, a leading bacteriologist, said the issue had put instruments at risk of contamination.

He said: “Clean rooms should be impeccably clean, that goes without saying.

“I assume that the clean room is at the end of the process of instrument preparation.

“The environmental problems therefore carry a theoretical risk that outgoing instruments could be contaminated. I also regard the non-performance of scheduled environmental monitoring as an important issue as was poor record keeping.”

Inspectors said the building was in a ‘poor state of repair’ with paint and plaster flaking from the ceilings in the washroom and the cleanroom.

The unit, was cleared for safety on November 22 and production recommenced four days later. However, not before more than 1000 operations were cancelled, including some ‘urgent’ cancer operations, hip or knee replacements and all scheduled tonsillectomies.

Some work was transferred to another unit in Inverclyde. However, one whistleblower claimed the board was forced to spend £140,000 sending dirty equipment to a private contractor in Manchester to cope with the problem.

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said all appropriate steps would be being taken to ensure the closure did not happen again.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said ‘the majority’ of patients who had operations postponed had been given alternative dates and the remainder would be re-booked over the next two weeks.

A spokeswoman for NHSGGC said: “Cowlairs is back in full operation after some issues raised by inspectors were fully addressed.

“The vast majority of patients who had to have procedures postponed have now been re-booked with early appointments and the few remaining will be re-booked within the next two weeks.”

This content was originally published here.

Novichok attack: Skripal house to be declared safe after 13,000 hours of cleaning | UK News | Sky News

Britain is set to signal the end of an unprecedented operation to clean up a trail of nerve agent that was left by an attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter almost a year ago.

The government is expected to announce the handover of Sergei Skripal’s house in Salisbury – which was the epicentre of the novichok poisoning – to Wiltshire Council.

This would be the last of 12 sites across Salisbury and the surrounding area to be declared safe.

It can also be revealed that the armed forces are creating a new regiment specialised in tackling the threat posed by chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons in a rebuilding of a capability that had been allowed to wither because of cost cuts.

The expansion was in part prompted by the 4 March novichok attack, which Britain has accused Russia’s military intelligence agency of carrying out.

Sergei and Yulia Skripal were attacked with novichok and found slumped on a bench in Salisbury in March

Lieutenant General Ty Urch, the officer in charge of military operations in the UK, including the armed forces element of the response to the Skripal poisoning, said: “This has been a forcing function.”

He praised the work of soldiers, sailors and airmen who played a part in the decontamination effort, codenamed Operation Morlop, along with other government agencies.

Commander of Home Command said: “Novichok is probably one of the most complicated and dangerous agents in existence.

“So the courage that it has taken our young men and women in the armed forces to go back across that line (into contaminated areas) time and time again I think is phenomenal.”

Skripal house

Mr Skripal’s house on Christie Miller Road was the hardest to clean up, taking some three to four months.

Two suspected Russian intelligence officers are accused of spraying the front door handle with novichok, infecting Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

A decontamination team conducted a search of the entire house to identify all other possible traces of the agent.

But the ease at which objects can be cross-contaminated meant the search could have helped transfer traces of poison around the building.

Ultimately the roof had to be removed and taken away, though the rest of the structure is still standing, surrounded by white tarpaulin.

The deadly risk of exposure to even the tiniest speck of novichok meant the specialist personnel had to wear protective gear as well as dry suits and respirators.

Each time they entered what the military call the “hot zone” – an area of contamination – they had to go through stringent checks.

The layers of protection made working in the height of summer last year particularly tough.

In total, the military carried out some 13,000 hours of work in the protective clothing, taking part in 250 bespoke decontamination missions.

They collected around 5,000 samples – ranging from ambulances and cars to chairs and pieces of plaster – to be taken away for testing by scientists at the specialist government laboratory at nearby Porton Down.

Many of the items were then destroyed.

The bench where the Skripals were found was covered with a protective tent after the poisonings

Lieutenant General Urch said: “The Home Office, the Ministry of Defence and Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) hopefully will announce that the decontamination work that has been going on for the last 355 days in Salisbury and Amesbury should come to a conclusion leaving the 12 complicated sites safe.

“It is going to be a huge relief for an awful lot of people, not least of which the good citizens of Salisbury and Amesbury.

“We have lots of military people living in those cities so that will be a huge relief for them.”

The military were involved in decontamination efforts after the Salisbury and Amesbury poisonings

The decontamination mission was unprecedented for the military in terms of its length, with the commander saying this was the longest time in living memory for the armed forces to be deployed on an operation on the UK mainland in support of the government.

Nine of the sites that needed decontaminating were affected following the 4 March attack on the Skripals.

They included the Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury, where the father and daughter were found collapsed on a bench, and a pub and restaurant they had visited.

The other three sites, all in Amesbury, became infected in a second, related incident when almost three months later Dawn Sturgess, a local woman, and her partner found the perfume bottle suspected of being used by the would-be assassins.

They were exposed to the poison and Ms Sturgess later died – the only person to be killed.

Dawn Sturgess

A further three or four locations where there were concerns of exposure to novichok also had to be painstakingly checked – though they turned out to be clear.

While the government is expected to announce the last of the 12 main sites as safe, it will not be possible for officials to give a guarantee that there are no other yet-to-be-discovered traces of novichok elsewhere.

However, the imminent end of Operation Morlop will be seen as a significant moment.

This content was originally published here.