What is Gout & can you test for it at home ?

Uric acid meter UK

Monitor uric acid levels at home with the Easylife meter

Gout is a painful condition affecting muscles and joints. It is relatively common and can affect up to 25% of western populations during their lifetime.

Elevated levels of Uric Acid, also known as Urate can crystallise in sold tissue around joints and also in the fluid lubricating joints leading to painful inflammation and eventually arthritis.

Until now the diagnosis of gout has depended on hospital laboratory whole blood analysis, but there is now a handheld digital uric acid meter available giving doctors and patients the ability to test a tiny finger prick sample of blood accurately for uric acid levels.

The digital uric acid meter is distributed by Valuemed in the UK and also tests cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The uric acid meter kit is supplied with a comprehensive easy to follow manual and separate test strips for Uric Acid, cholesterol and glucose. lancets and an auto-lancing device also come with the starter pack. the lancing device is a sprung auto-lancer, so taking a finger prick sample is automated for anyone who may be squeamish about needles.

Testing for gout and monitoring levels during an attack or between episodes is now available as a home test option for thousands of patients affected by this condition. The Easylife uric acid meter is also certified for clinical use by doctors, so it is expected to also find use in outpatient departments and casualty departments where it will come into its own during out of hours consultations, where access to lab services are further restricted.

The price for the 3 in 1 meter is expected to be below £40 and the refill packs of Easylife gout meter test strips well below £1 per test, with the glucose option expected to be even cheaper per test.

Best reflex hammer for medical students

This reflex hammer from Valuemed is both a queens and a babinski reflex hammer

This reflex hammer from Valuemed is both a queens and a babinski reflex hammer

We are often asked the following question: Which is the best reflex hammer for medical students?

The standard traditional choice has always been the Queens reflex hammer. The Queens hammer is a standard round-headed hammer, usually with a metal head (for weight) surrounded with a firm rubber tyre like ring. The head is fixed at 90 degrees to the handle, which is usually plastic or metal with a pointed tip for neuro pressure examinations. Ward reflex hammers are usually long handled 30 to 38cm which make them too long to fit most pockets but a short handled 21cm Queens reflex hammer is available which is perfectly adequate for examination, but also much more practical for white coat pockets or GP bags.

So our first choice for function and cost is a 21 cm Queens reflex hammer.

For a little more, the options offered by the telescopic Babinski Queens hammer give greater examination options and is a more robust reflex hammer. A metal telescopic extending handle (with the point) extends from 21cm to 36cm, giving a full-size hammer option as required. The metal and rubber head unscrews from the handle and can be attached at 90 degrees as in a traditional Queens, or in line with the handle, giving an inline hammer similar to the Taylors reflex hammer arrangement. Look for models which un-screw rather than twist and lock, as the latter tend to loosen as they get older, leaving the head dangling, loose on a metal stick (not great and not useful)

Finally, if you want something functional, practical and unbreakable go for a good old Taylor reflex hammer. Steel handle holding a firm plastic triangular head. No moving parts, basic and functional.

If you still can’t decide consider the full reflex hammer pack, with everything you are likely to ever need in a neurology examination.

There are a range of reflex hammers in different sizes and makes available to buy in the UK from Valuemed medical supplies including Queens, Babinski, and Taylors reflex hammers.


New roadside drug testing for drivers in the UK came into force 2nd March 2015

Saliva drug driving test kit screens for Cannabis, Cocaine, Opiates, Amphetamine, Methadone and Benzodiazepines

Saliva drug driving test kit screens for Cannabis, Cocaine, Opiates, Amphetamine, Methadone and Benzodiazepines

The big news story this week has been the introduction in the UK of new rules that enable the police to perform roadside drug tests on drivers.
The new regulations came into effect on the 2nd March 2015 and allow the police to perform a roadside drug test using a saliva drug testing kit on motorists that they believe to be under the influence of drugs.

If the driver tests positive with the mouth swab drug testing kit the police will then take them back to the police station for further testing.

The penalties if you are found guilty of drug driving are similar to those for drink driving. This new test will make it much easier for the police to test drivers whom they suspect of driving while under the influence of drugs. Some of the drugs being tested for are prescription drugs including a group of drugs known as benzodiazepines which include amongst them Temazepam, Diazepam, and Lorazepam. Drivers may also be tested for Opiates and Methadone as well as Cannabis, Cocaine & Amphetamine.

For more information or to buy oral drug testing kits that screen for the drugs that are tested for on a drug driving drug tests visit UKDrugTesting.co.uk