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Gum disease linked to increased risk of Alzheimer's disease
Conclusion This was an interesting study that identified a possible link between two conditions, but it may not be a strong enough piece of research to provide definitive estimates of the size of the risk. The study has a number of weaknesses: If the researchers had used more of the data available rather than taking a random sample to select a cohort, there may have been more cases of CP and AD to use in their analysis. This may have given a better insight into any association. The study did not give any details of how CP was treated or managed, so we don't know if there were any differences between people with CP who...
Source: NHS News Feed - August 22, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Neurology Source Type: news

Vitamin C injections could play a role in treating blood cancers
Conclusion This mouse study explored whether treatment with vitamin C could restore function of TET2 and therefore block the progression of blood cancers like leukaemia. It found that using high doses of vitamin C intravenously did in fact suppress the growth of leukaemia cancer stem cells in the mice implanted with cell lines from human patients with leukaemia. It also reported that using vitamin C alongside existing treatment with PARP inhibitors helped reduce the progressions of the disease. The researchers suggest that in the future, vitamin C could be used alongside chemotherapy and other conventional treatment forms....
Source: NHS News Feed - August 21, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Cancer Source Type: news

'Junk food' may increase cancer risk in 'healthy weight' women
"Women who eat junk food such as burgers or pizza are increasing their risk of cancer even if they're not overweight, new research has warned," reports the Daily Mail. The story is based on research from the US looking at the diet of postmenopausal women in the 1990s and then tracking the development of a variety of cancers over about 15 years. "Junk food" is often defined as food that is rich in calories (energy dense food) but low in nutrients. Having a diet high in energy dense foods, such as biscuits, chocolate and pizza was found to increase the risk of cancer in these women, specifically in those ...
Source: NHS News Feed - August 18, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Cancer Source Type: news

People who regularly groom their pubic hair at risk of injuries
Conclusion Pubic hair removal is now common practice, and this study suggests it is not without risk. It seems sensible to find out more about how it can be done safely, with minimal risk of injury. However, while the study provides useful information about peoples' experiences of pubic hair removal and injury (at least in the US), it doesn't tell us which is the safest method. Although waxing was linked to fewer repeated injuries among women, previous studies suggest it can be harmful if done incorrectly, leading to severe injury or infection. Similarly, although frequent removal of all pubic hair is linked to higher...
Source: NHS News Feed - August 17, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

'Alternative cancer therapies' may increase your risk of death
Conclusion The results and conclusions of this study are clear: people who choose conventional treatments for cancer (such as surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormone treatments) are likely to live longer than those who choose alternative medicine only. It's rare for people to choose to ignore conventional treatment completely when faced with a cancer diagnosis. More often, people choose to add complementary therapies to their conventional cancer treatment. This study doesn't apply to people combining conventional and complementary therapies. There are some limitations to the study to be aware of: As an observatio...
Source: NHS News Feed - August 16, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Cancer Source Type: news

'Fat but fit' people may still be at risk of heart disease
Conclusion This large, valuable study confirms that – as has long been thought – an increased BMI is linked with an increased risk of heart disease. It shows that people with an obese BMI had a higher risk of heart disease, even if they didn't have other risk factors like high cholesterol and high blood pressure, proving that body fat is an independent risk factor. That said, this study does have some limitations. For example, definitions of being metabolically unhealthy aren't entirely consistent with other definitions of metabolic syndrome. This was also only assessed at the start of the study, and risk fac...
Source: NHS News Feed - August 15, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Obesity Source Type: news

Reports that antibacterials in pregnancy are 'harmful' unfounded
Conclusion This experimental study in mice demonstrates the ability of TCC, a substance found in some antibacterial soaps, to transfer from mother to baby across the placenta and through breast milk. Moreover, this had signs of developmental effects on new-born mice, reducing brain size. It also increased body weight, which was associated with poorer fat metabolism in the female mice. This research adds to the body of research suggesting that triclocarban, like the antiseptic triclosan, has potentially harmful effects and should not be used in consumer products. However, the study was carried out on mice and they are ...
Source: NHS News Feed - August 14, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Source Type: news

Gene editing brings pig organ transplant closer
Conclusion This promising research shows that it can be possible to use gene editing techniques to eliminate retroviruses from pigs, removing one of the potential barriers to using genetically modified pigs as organ donors for humans. There are a few points to note. As the researchers say, though they have shown that pig retroviruses can be passed onto human cells in the laboratory, we don't know what the effects would be in real life. We don't know whether pig retroviruses would be transferred to humans and whether they could cause cancers or immunodeficiency illnesses, for example. The research is at an early stage. The ...
Source: NHS News Feed - August 11, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Genetics/stem cells Source Type: news

Vitamin B3 found in Marmite not proven to prevent miscarriage
Conclusion This early-stage laboratory research has pinpointed two potential genes that might be responsible for some miscarriages and birth defects. As well as identifying a problem, the researchers also managed to find a solution: the effect of these genes can be combatted by increasing vitamin B3 intake. But treating a very specific and uncommon cause of birth defects in mice is certainly not a sure-fire solution to "significantly reduce the number of miscarriages and birth defects around the world". We need future research to see if the same effect would happen in humans. Also, three of the four children inc...
Source: NHS News Feed - August 10, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Source Type: news

Saliva 'may speed healing' but 'kissing it better' probably won't
Conclusion This complex study helps us understand the biological mechanisms behind wound healing in the mouth and the role of saliva in promoting wound healing. As well as keeping the mouth moist and reducing levels of harmful bacteria, saliva contains a protein that encourages the movement of cells in ways that help wounds to heal. It's possible this might lead to the development of new wound-healing treatments in future; however, this study didn't look at future uses – it simply helps us better understand how the body heals itself. Before any new treatment could be developed, further studies in cell lines and in an...
Source: NHS News Feed - August 10, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Source Type: news

'Exercise pill' could potentially help people with heart failure
Conclusion The protein hCT1 caused heart muscles to grow in a more healthy way in rodents with heart failure. When treatment stopped, the heart went back to its original condition – something that does not happen when the heart grows in a dysfunctional way. There is currently no cure for heart failure and treatment is only available for keeping symptoms under control. Therefore, this very promising early-stage research with potential for developing a drug for people with heart failure, has huge implications. However, it is important to remember that as this is experimental laboratory research, there are man...
Source: NHS News Feed - August 9, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Heart/lungs Source Type: news

Software used to screen social media photos for depression signs
Conclusion This study suggests that a computer algorithm could be used to help screen for depression more accurately than GPs – using Instagram images. But there are several limitations that need to be considered when analysing the results: As only people with a CES-D score of between 16 and 22 (on a scale of 0-60) were included, this is likely to have ruled out those with moderate to severe depression. There were a small number of participants. Selection bias will have skewed the results – it only includes people who like to use Instagram and are willing to allow researchers access to all of t...
Source: NHS News Feed - August 8, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Mental health Source Type: news

Alcohol linked to an increased risk of skin cancer
Conclusion These findings should be interpreted with care before concluding that an alcoholic drink per day increases your risk of skin cancer. There are several important cautions: These are only observational studies. It wouldn't be possible to randomise people to different alcohol intake and follow them to look at cancer development. And with observational studies, many other health, sociodemographic and lifestyle factors may be influencing the link between alcohol intake and cancer development. The studies differed considerably in terms of the influencing factors they took account of, with some adjusting for various ...
Source: NHS News Feed - August 7, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Cancer Source Type: news

Diabetes drug may be helpful for Parkinson's disease
Conclusion This research shows some interesting early findings, though the magnitude of effect was very small compared to the improvements in symptoms with current dopaminergic drugs. The study was well conducted but did have some limitations: The number of people taking part was quite small. This may have meant it was hard to detect any other benefits or harms of taking the drug other than the effects on motor scores. The period of time people were given the drug and followed up meant that longer-term effects could not be measured. The benefit of the drug observed so far might not be big enough to make a difference ...
Source: NHS News Feed - August 4, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Neurology Source Type: news

Gene editing used to repair diseased genes in embryos
Conclusion Currently, genetically-inherited conditions like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy cannot be cured, only managed to reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death. For couples where one partner carries the mutated gene, the only option to avoid passing it onto their children is pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. This involves using IVF to create embryos, then testing a cell of the embryo to see whether it carries the healthy or mutated version of the gene. Embryos with healthy versions of the gene are then selected for implantation in the womb. Problems arise if too few or none of the embryos have the correct version of the...
Source: NHS News Feed - August 3, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Genetics/stem cells Source Type: news

Kitchen sponges may be a 'bacteria hotspot' – but no need to worry
Conclusion There's no need to panic about the results of this study. Bacteria are everywhere, so it's no surprise to find them growing in kitchens. The researchers say sponges, being porous and usually damp, represent ideal conditions for bacteria to grow. The study found that one of the most dominant types of bacteria came from the Moraxella family. These bacteria are often found on human skin, so it's likely they got onto the sponges from people's hands. Moraxella are also linked to the unpleasant smell sometimes found after laundry has taken longer to dry, so they seem to be common in the household environment.  T...
Source: NHS News Feed - August 3, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

Could discovery of 'fat switch' cure obesity?
Conclusion This early-stage research suggests there is potentially a mechanism by which energy expenditure and storage is controlled in normal-weight mice versus obese mice. Removing a protein called hypothalamic TCPTP, which acts as the "switch" for fat storage, promoted weight loss in obese mice. This might give us some insight into how weight loss could be promoted in obese humans by turning this switch off. But at this stage, this is just a hypothesis – we can't assume the same is true for humans. Many therapies and procedures that appear promising at the outset aren't always successful in humans. Giv...
Source: NHS News Feed - August 2, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Obesity Source Type: news

More older adults 'may benefit from taking statins,' study reports
Conclusion The study was an interesting analysis of how many more people in England could be eligible to receive statins than those currently receiving them. It didn't make any recommendations about acting on these findings. The study was also unable to follow people over time to see whether statins might have made a difference. And the study did have some limitations: Because it only looked at people at one point in time, we don't know whether the people who were considered at risk of CVD actually went on to develop it. The researchers were only able to use one year of data from HSE, as this was the only year that h...
Source: NHS News Feed - August 1, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Heart/lungs Source Type: news

Calls for GPs to offer HIV screening in high-risk areas
Conclusion The results of this study suggest it seems to be cost-effective to screen new patients for HIV when they register at a GP practice in areas where HIV is particularly prevalent. This conclusion is based on projections making use of a wide range of data from the UK, and making certain assumptions about HIV prevalence over time and the behaviour of people who've been newly diagnosed with HIV. The researchers used good methods, and their recommendation to roll out screening in areas where there are high rates of HIV is consistent with current National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines. Stud...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 31, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medical practice Source Type: news

Reports that frequent drinking prevents diabetes are inaccurate
Conclusion Although this study found an interesting association between alcohol drinking habits and risk of developing diabetes, this study does not present strong enough evidence to recommend adopting a particular drinking pattern to reduce diabetes risk. This study had a number of limitations that weaken confidence in the results: People were only asked about their drinking habits and other risk factors at a single time point. The study doesn't tell us whether those habits changed over the period in which people were monitored for diabetes. Most studies related to alcohol consumption also run the risk that people are n...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 28, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Diabetes Food/diet Source Type: news

Questions over advice to finish courses of antibiotics
Conclusions This narrative review challenges current medical advice that patients should complete their course of antibiotics, by suggesting that concerns around antibiotic treatment are driven by fears of under treatment, when we should instead be concerned about over use. Professor Peter Openshaw, President of the British Society for Immunology and Professor of Experimental Medicine at Imperial College London commented: "It could be that antibiotics should be used only to reduce the bacterial burden to a level that can be coped with by the person's own immune system. In many previously healthy patients with acute in...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 27, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medication QA articles Source Type: news

Eye screening linked to fall in sight loss in people with diabetes
Conclusion The results indicate that since the introduction of the screening programme for diabetic retinopathy in Wales, the total number and rate of new certifications of sight impairment and severe sight impairment have decreased. This is despite an increase in the number of people diagnosed with diabetes. The study shows a promising trend and highlights the possible benefit of such screening. However, there are some important considerations: Reporting of visual loss currently requires a consultant ophthalmologist to complete a Certificate of Vision Impairment, and this isn't compulsory. Patients may be reluctant to...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 27, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Source Type: news

Western sperm counts 'halved' in last 40 years
Conclusion This research presented a useful summary of existing studies in the area of human sperm count, and presented some interesting findings relating to trends over time. But this study does have some limitations: The research was based on a wide range of populations who, in some cases, may only have been assessed once. Following a fixed population over time in a cohort study might have had different findings. Research that wasn't published in English wasn't included, and there also aren't many studies published before 1985 from countries in the other category. This might have an effect on whether the estimates f...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 26, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

'Buying time' and not just things may increase life satisfaction
Conclusion This large multi-country study on adults of various incomes found that buying time was linked to greater life satisfaction, even when considering a wide range of demographics and spend on other items each month. It also seemed to show that people were in a better mood when buying something that saved them time versus buying something material. These results are interesting in the busy, time-pressured culture many of us face today. The researchers suggest using money to buy time may reduce feelings of time pressure and buffer against negative effects of time pressure on life satisfaction. While this may be the ca...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 25, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Mental health Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

Snoring link to Alzheimer ’s disease unproven
Conclusion This relatively large cross-sectional analysis has found a link between certain measures of breathing problems during sleep and poorer cognitive function in middle-aged to older adults. The strengths of this study include its size and use of a prospective sleep study to assess whether people had sleep apnoea or other problems with breathing during sleep. The use of standard cognitive tests is also a strength. However, the study does have its limitations: The study did have mixed findings – while certain measures of problems with breathing during sleep (e.g. oxygen levels) were associated with cognitive o...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 24, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Neurology Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

Could cows be the clue that leads to an HIV vaccine?
Conclusion This early stage research on cows indicates that they had a broad and quick immune response to HIV infection when given a specific vaccine. Because the immune proteins produced in cows are able to neutralise many different strains of HIV virus, the authors suggest this potentially gives them an edge over the human proteins that have been looked at so far. As always with animal studies it is important to remember that what works in cows might not work in the same way in humans. Many drug studies that appear promising at first, fall at the first hurdle once humans are involved. The study was also carried out on ju...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 21, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medication Source Type: news

Nine lifestyle changes may reduce risk of dementia
"Nine lifestyle changes can reduce dementia risk," BBC News reports. A major review by The Lancet has identified nine potentially modifiable risk factors linked to dementia. The risk factors were: low levels of education midlife hearing loss physical inactivity high blood pressure (hypertension) type 2 diabetes obesity smoking depression social isolation However, it's important to note that even if you add up the percentage risk of all of these factors, they only account for about 35% of the overall risk of getting dementia. This means about 65% of the risk is still due to factors you can't co...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 20, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Neurology QA articles Source Type: news

High-dose vitamin D 'doesn't prevent colds and flu in kids'
Conclusion This study found giving a high dose of vitamin D to healthy children in the winter doesn't reduce their overall risk of upper airway infections compared with the standard recommended dose. This well-designed study used several measures to ensure the results were robust. For example, researchers: used randomisation to split the children into groups blinded parents as to which treatment the child was receiving to make sure this knowledge couldn't affect their perception of their child's health used laboratory tests to confirm that the child did have a viral infection There was a reduction in flu with high-...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 19, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Source Type: news

Benefits of artificial sweeteners unclear
Conclusion The study authors suggest artificial sweeteners may not aid weight loss, despite marketing claims to the contrary, and could actually increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, the results need to be treated with caution, as this review had numerous limitations: The randomised controlled trials had great variability and few participants, increasing the possibility of the results occurring by chance. They were also judged to be at a high risk of bias – for example, the participants could not be blinded to the intervention, and adherence (drop-out) rates were not provided. We do not know whether...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 19, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Food/diet Obesity Source Type: news

Some types of vegetarian diet can raise heart disease risk
Conclusion This large pooled cohort study seems to demonstrate an association between a healthy plant-based diet and reduced risk of coronary heart disease, and an increased risk of heart disease with an unhealthy plant-based diet. This adds to the evidence base supporting the possible benefits of healthy plant-based diets in protecting against certain illnesses. However there are some limitations to the research: The cohort included only health professionals from the US so might not be representative of wider populations in the UK or elsewhere. The study can't provide information on the benefits or otherwise of this d...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 18, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Food/diet Source Type: news

'Regular sex keeps you younger' claims are unsupported
Conclusion Despite the media headlines that regular sex keeps you young, only limited implications can be drawn from this study. This was a small sample of a specific group of women. All were mothers or caregivers, in heterosexual relationships from one region of the US. About half of them were caring for children with autism spectrum disorders and were perceived to have high stress levels as a result. Therefore they can't be assumed to represent all women. Researchers only assessed relationship quality, intimacy and telomere length over the space of a single week. This can't prove that intimacy that week directly caused...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 17, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

Long working week 'may increase risk of irregular heartbeat'
Conclusion This study draws together data from a large group of people to investigate whether working hours could be linked to AF. It found people who work 55 or more hours a week had an increased risk of developing an irregular heartbeat. But before we jump to any conclusions, there are several important things to consider: The number of people who developed AF during this study was small: only 1.24%. That's the absolute risk of AF. Even if working more than 55 hours a week does increase your risk of AF by around 40%, it would only be increasing it to something like 1.74% – which is still very small. Only ...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 14, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Heart/lungs Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

House dust linked to obesity – but only in mice
Conclusion The main cause of obesity is an imbalance between calories taken into the body and the number of calories used up. But other environmental causes may also play a part, and we're just starting to understand how certain chemicals affect fat storage in the body. One area of interest is semi-volatile organic compounds, such as those tested in this study. These chemicals have been linked to hormonal changes, which may in turn affect the way the body processes glucose and stores it. This potentially could impact on the metabolism and increase weight gain. This study suggests that chemicals already known to affect ho...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 14, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Obesity Source Type: news

Face-to-face bullying much more common than cyberbullying
Conclusion Being bullied is a relatively common and distressing experience for many children and adolescents. Research in recent years has linked the experience of being bullied as a child to the development of mental health problems like anxiety and depression. It's perhaps not a surprise that cyberbullying in this study almost always occurred when teenagers were also being bullied offline. The internet is a tool, not a separate entity from the human world, and people who bully in one part of life may also use internet tools to bully in cyberspace. If anything, it's surprising how few teenagers reported having experien...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 13, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Mental health Source Type: news

Does coffee make you live longer?
Conclusion This study, conducted on a large number of people across Europe, was backed up by similar findings in the US. It appears to show some association between people who drink higher amounts of coffee and a reduced risk of death. But the "potentially beneficial clinical implications" need to be considered carefully for a number of reasons: Although the analyses were adjusted for some confounding variables, there may be a number of other factors that differ between the groups that account for the differences in death, such as socioeconomic status, family history, other medical conditions, and use of medic...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 12, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Food/diet Source Type: news

Old meningitis B vaccine 'may also protect against gonorrhoea'
Conclusion This large study found an association between having the MeNZB vaccine and a reduced likelihood of being diagnosed with gonorrhoea. But it's difficult to form any firm conclusions because of the nature of the case and control groups. For example, given that both groups were sexually active, we don't know why the majority of people with gonorrhoea didn't also have a chlamydia infection, and how this may have affected the results. It could just be down to pure chance and have nothing to do with the vaccine. So before we celebrate the alleged "cure of gonorrhoea", there are many things to consider: T...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 11, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medication Source Type: news

Does having a 'sense of purpose' in life help you sleep better?
Conclusion This study explored the relationship between having a sense of purpose in life and sleep quality and sleep disorders. Researchers found generally, having a greater sense of purpose in life was associated with better quality of sleep and a decreased likelihood of sleep disorders like sleep apnoea and restless leg syndrome. The researchers suggest this may be down to people having better overall physical and mental health. Although these are plausible hypotheses, there are a few points to note. As with the majority of cohort studies, it isn't possible to prove cause and effect and fully rule out the i...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 10, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Lifestyle/exercise Mental health Source Type: news

WHO issues warning about rise of drug-resistant gonorrhoea
Conclusion The increase in antimicrobial resistance towards drugs used to treat gonorrhoea is reaching a critical stage, especially given how common the infection is worldwide, with an estimated 78 million new cases in 2012. This study raises concerns around an important topic while also proposing strategies to help address the slow pace of research and development of new drugs. The prevention of gonorrhoea is equally, if not more, important. The most effective way to prevent gonorrhoea is to always use a condom during sex, including anal and oral sex. Read more advice about sexually transmitted infections and how to prev...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 7, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medication QA articles Source Type: news

Researchers try to unknot Alzheimer's protein tangles
Conclusion There's a tendency when scientists announce a breakthrough in our understanding of a disease to immediately start thinking about whether this could lead to a cure. While the ultimate aim of research into Alzheimer's disease is of course to be able to prevent or treat it, early research like this is more about understanding the disease mechanisms. This piece of research demonstrates how a new technique can be used to identify the molecular structure of abnormal protein deposits in the brain. That's a big step forward for use of this technology, which may be useful for other diseases, too. The causes of Alzheimer...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 6, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Neurology Source Type: news

Frequent ejaculation may decrease prostate cancer risk
"Ejaculating at least 21 times a month significantly reduces a man's risk of prostate cancer," is the headline on the Mail Online. This is based on research from the US that asked men how often they ejaculated per month and subsequent reporting of prostate cancer. They found that men who ejaculated 21 times or more a month were less likely to report prostate cancer at follow-up than those ejaculating four to seven times per month. However, it does not prove that ejaculating more frequently prevents cancer, only that it is associated with a reduction in risk. It might be that a range of other factors such as ...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 6, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Cancer Source Type: news

Toothpaste ingredient linked to antibiotic resistance
Conclusion This study mainly explored why bacterial resistance could be common for both quinolone antibiotics like ciprofloxacin and the antibacterial triclosan. It confirmed previous findings that one cause seems to be bacteria developing mutations in the gyrA gene. In the case of quinolones, the mutation alters the enzyme that they normally bind to. Triclosan resistance is largely because the already-mutant bacteria have boosted stress response pathways, or molecular defences. The main finding of this research was that small triclosan concentrations led to resistant E. coli bacteria becoming the more dominant strains m...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 5, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medication Source Type: news

Heartburn drugs linked to premature death
Conclusion This larger set of observational data finds that PPI drugs are associated with an increase in the risk of early death compared with either H2 blockers or no acid suppression drugs. This was the case for participants both with and without gastrointestinal problems. It also appears as though the longer the PPIs drugs are taken, the greater the risk of death. Considering that these drugs are widely used in the UK, these findings may cause concern. But the research has a number of important limitations: The study was conducted in a population of mostly white, older US male veterans, which might limit the abi...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 4, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medication Source Type: news

Brain training app used to treat memory condition
Conclusion This small trial suggests that an iPad game aimed at training episodic memory – memory of locations and events – can lead to improvements in this aspect of memory in older adults with aMCI. The fact the study used a control group and an RCT design increases confidence in these findings. But there are some important things to bear in mind at this very early stage: The study was very small – the authors acknowledge that it needs to be repeated in a larger sample of people to confirm the findings. The game hasn't been tried in people with dementia, so we don't know if it would help them. T...
Source: NHS News Feed - July 3, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Neurology Source Type: news

Some women in the UK still unaware of cervical screening
Conclusion This study presents interesting findings on the proportion of women who don't go for cervical screening tests, and the possible reasons for their non-attendance. Researchers found most non-participants were either unaware of screening or intended to go to screening but still failed to go. This was most common in single women aged 25-34. One point to note is that the data was collected through self-reported questionnaires, which carry the risk of inaccurate reporting because of the perceived social stigma around screening and the desire to give the "right" response. In the case of cervical cancer scre...
Source: NHS News Feed - June 30, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Cancer Source Type: news

Overweight teen boys have increased risk of stroke in later life
Conclusion The findings of this large longitudinal cohort study seem to demonstrate a link between being overweight aged 20 and an increased risk of stroke. This risk was regardless of whether the boy had been overweight aged 8 or not. There seemed to be no increased risk for boys who were overweight aged 8 but were a normal weight by the age of 20. The study was conducted before the obesity epidemic, and might be even more relevant today. But there are a number of considerations to take into account before we draw any conclusions: Participants were followed up until they were 52-68, so all the strokes occurred at...
Source: NHS News Feed - June 29, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Obesity Pregnancy/child Source Type: news

Can magnesium help depression – or is it just a placebo?
Conclusion Depression is a serious illness that can cause a great deal of distress to those who have it, as well as to their friends and family. Current treatments – both medication and talking therapies – work well for some people but less well for others. Antidepressants can have unwanted side effects. So, a new treatment for depression with few side effects would be very welcome. Despite the researchers' interpretations of their results, however, it's hard to recommend a treatment when we don't know whether a sugar pill would work just as well. The lack of a placebo group in the study means we cannot be sur...
Source: NHS News Feed - June 29, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Mental health Source Type: news

'Painless' flu vaccine skin patch shows promise
Conclusion Further testing in larger trials needs to be done to be sure these initial results hold true and that the vaccine patch is safe and effective. This is the first time these flu microneedle patches have been tested on humans, and the study was relatively small, with only 100 participants. But if the results are confirmed, this new method of delivering the flu vaccination could make a big difference. The patches could have several main advantages over traditional injections: they may be preferred by people who dislike needles and avoid vaccination because of the fear of pain it may be quicker and easier to admi...
Source: NHS News Feed - June 28, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medical practice Medication Swine flu Source Type: news

Middle-aged office workers 'sit down more' than OAPs
Conclusion The results of this large Scottish survey indicate that for adults in work, time spent being inactive during weekdays is greater in all age groups compared with people aged 75 and above. This is reversed at the weekend. This indicates that work has a huge impact on activity levels. The authors argue that long periods spent sitting at work have public health implications, including increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers. However, there are a number of limitations to the study: The responses were self-reported, so might be subject to bias if people inaccurately estimate the amount o...
Source: NHS News Feed - June 27, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Lifestyle/exercise Older people Source Type: news

Can coffee machines and kettles spread toxic spores?
Conclusion This laboratory study suggests that under humid conditions, indoor surfaces like wallpaper may be colonised by fungi that produce toxic particles – some of which may be small enough to be inhaled. But it's important that these findings aren't taken too far out of context at this stage. The study was carried out in highly experimental circumstances where both temperature and humidity were optimised for maximal fungal growth. We can't know for sure that these circumstances would be typical of indoor environments, even bathrooms or kitchens, if they're well ventilated. The UK media has applied these findin...
Source: NHS News Feed - June 26, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Heart/lungs Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

Does paracetamol taken in pregnancy affect masculinity?
Conclusion Headlines like those in the media about this study are likely to alarm pregnant women who have taken or may need to take paracetamol in pregnancy. While the study's results can't be dismissed altogether, there are three important things to bear in mind: Studies in mice don't always translate into results in humans. The doses of paracetamol that produced the effects in mice were the equivalent of three times higher than the maximum daily dose for adult humans. The pregnant mice were fed paracetamol every day throughout the last two-thirds of their pregnancy. Most pregnant women take paracetamol at the re...
Source: NHS News Feed - June 23, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Medication Source Type: news