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Dementia saliva testing 'shows early promise'
Conclusion The researchers are appropriately cautious in their conclusions. These findings have potential, but this is an early stage pilot – a starting point for further study. The tests were carried out in small samples of healthy people and those with cognitive impairment. They would have to be validated in much larger groups, in which it's possible the test would give different findings. The researchers calculate that they would need at least 100 people per group to develop models that could reliably detect significant differences in biomarkers between the groups. Even among this small sample, we don't know from ...
Source: NHS News Feed - May 22, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Neurology Medical practice Older people Source Type: news

Instagram 'ranked worst for mental health' in teen survey
Conclusion This timely report should be welcomed, given that almost all young people use social media, and it undoubtedly can affect their wellbeing. It also offers well-considered recommendations. However, the study does have some limitations. Researchers gauged the potential positive and negative effects of different social media platforms by asking young people to answer whether they felt better or worse by using them. This can't prove that social media is directly responsible for increasing rates of depression and anxiety. It's difficult to explore all the various ways the social media sites may make people feel ...
Source: NHS News Feed - May 19, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Mental health Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

Swallowable gastric balloon could help with weight loss
Conclusion This research investigated whether treatment with a swallowable gastric balloon is a safe and effective option to help obese people lose weight. Overall, the study found the gastric balloon led to weight loss when used alongside a low calorie diet, with a mean weight loss of 15.2kg by the end of the 16-week treatment period. However, the rate of weight loss declined after 12 weeks of treatment, before going up again in the last month with the introduction of a very low calorie diet. This is an interesting piece of research, but it has a number of limitations. This is a very small study, and the findings would...
Source: NHS News Feed - May 18, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Food/diet Obesity Source Type: news

'Fat but fit' still at higher risk of heart disease
Conclusion The question of whether someone can be "fat but fit" has been much debated. If you're obese but exercise, eat well and don't have metabolic risk factors, the theory goes, you could be just as healthy as someone of recommended weight. This study suggests that may not be true. It is definitely worth adopting a healthy lifestyle, whatever your weight. The study found that, the more metabolic risk factors people had, the more likely they were to develop heart disease, cardiovascular disease and so on. Metabolic risk factors do make a difference. But in this large study, on average, people who wer...
Source: NHS News Feed - May 17, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Food/diet Obesity Source Type: news

Lack of sleep knocks your social appeal, says research
Conclusion Most people who have looked in the mirror after a sleepless night won't be surprised to hear that a poor night's sleep makes you look less attractive and healthy. It may not be particularly welcome news that your appearance could also put people off talking to you. But the study results show only a very small impact of sleep deprivation on people's perceptions of appearance. While the results are statistically significant, it's hard to know how you would notice a 2% drop in a stranger's willingness to socialise with you. And studies like this, which include only a limited demographic (in this case Swedish stu...
Source: NHS News Feed - May 17, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

Hope for plant-based contraceptive, study claims
Conclusion This laboratory study aimed to investigate a variety of steroid hormones and plant compounds to look at their effect on sperm activation and ability to fertilise an egg. The researchers confirmed that the hormone progesterone present in the female reproductive tract seems to be needed to activate sperm and make them able to fertilise an egg. The also found that two plant compounds, pristimerin and lupeol, were able to block the sites on the sperm that are activated by progesterone. This means these two compounds could have a potential contraceptive action. But it's far too early to say whether new contraceptiv...
Source: NHS News Feed - May 16, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Source Type: news

Can fizzy water make you fat?
Conclusion There seemed to be a clear distinction in this study between fizzy and non-fizzy-drink consumption in terms of weight gain, appetite and ghrelin production. These findings were further supported by the study in healthy adult volunteers, which similarly showed that the fizzy drinks increased ghrelin production. But does this mean that carbonation and ghrelin production provide the whole answer to why soft drink consumption is linked with obesity? But this doesn’t account for the link between weight gain and diet drinks which don’t contain sugar’They suggest carbonation could be the common lin...
Source: NHS News Feed - May 15, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Obesity Food/diet Source Type: news

Keyhole knee surgery is 'waste of time' review finds
Conclusion This expert panel review provides compelling evidence against the use of knee arthroscopy for degenerative knee conditions/osteoarthritis. This procedure often has varied and inconsistent use in clinical practice. As part of their review the researchers also considered what other government organisations currently recommend about the procedure. NICE already says knee arthroscopy (with washout – flushing the joint with fluid) should not be performed for people with osteoarthritis. The only indication NICE currently gives for the procedure is people who have a clear history of mechanical locking symptom...
Source: NHS News Feed - May 12, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medical practice Older people Source Type: news

Yoga may bring long-term benefits for people with depression
Conclusion The study will have to be interpreted in the context of other research into yoga and depression. But taken in isolation, it doesn't provide firm evidence that yoga is beneficial for depression. The findings are applicable to a very specific population group: people with moderately severe depression who took antidepressants (often alongside other psychological therapy) and had no other mental health illness. They also hadn't previously practised yoga, but must have had an interest in doing so as they responded to advertisements. This means the groups by no means represent all people with depression symptoms.&nb...
Source: NHS News Feed - May 12, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Mental health Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

Life expectancy for people with HIV now 'near normal'
Conclusion This study is good news for anyone affected by HIV. It shows that people who start on modern HIV treatments can now live almost as long as people without HIV. The study is a demonstration of the enormous transformation in life expectancy for many people with HIV since the 1980s. However, the study can't tell us why these improvements have come about. We know that drug treatments have improved greatly since 1996, when the study began, so it's reasonable to think that drug treatments play an important role. However, there are other factors that might be important, such as earlier diagnosis and treatment, quick and...
Source: NHS News Feed - May 11, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medication Medical practice Source Type: news

Ibuprofen linked to increased risk of heart attacks
Conclusion This study is a useful addition to our knowledge about the links between NSAIDs and heart attack risk. The study suggests all commonly-used NSAIDs are linked to a similarly-raised risk of heart attacks, that the risk generally rises with the dose, and that it is highest in the first month of treatment. The researchers did a good job at taking account of potential confounding factors that could have affected the results. Even so, we don't know for sure that the NSAIDs were the direct cause of the problem. For example, if you are prescribed NSAIDs for a painful condition, and have a heart attack two weeks later, i...
Source: NHS News Feed - May 10, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Heart/lungs Medication Source Type: news

Review finds no link between dairy and heart attack or stroke risk
Conclusion This large meta-analysis of cohort studies demonstrated no increased risk to cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease or all-cause death from eating dairy products. The review has strengths in its large size and the fact it was able to analyse different types of dairy product, such as high and low-fat and everyday products such as cheese and yoghurt. However, there are a number of factors to consider: The results of a systematic review are only as good as the quality of the underlying studies. These are all observational studies and it's possible that unadjusted health and lifestyle factors are having an...
Source: NHS News Feed - May 9, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Food/diet Heart/lungs Neurology Source Type: news

Evidence behind reports of new baldness cure is a little thin
Conclusion The current study identified a group of cells in the hair follicles of mice which are important both in forming the hair shaft to allow hair growth, and also in maintaining hair colour. So far this research has been in mice, but the basic biology of cells in mammals is very similar, so it seems likely that the findings would also apply to humans. Researchers are also likely to want to perform tests on human cells in the laboratory to confirm their findings. The findings represent an advance in what is known about how hair grows and maintains its colour. However, this doesn't automatically mean the researchers ar...
Source: NHS News Feed - May 8, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Genetics/stem cells Older people Source Type: news

Concerns about alleged 'harmful' arsenic levels in baby rice cakes
Conclusion Arsenic is found in the earth's crust and is naturally present in the environment. Certain countries – including India, China and Bangladesh – are known to have higher levels of arsenic in ground water than others. Water supplies in the UK are low in arsenic, but we may be exposed to arsenic through foods – such as rice and other crops – that have been exposed to contaminated water. This study shows that babies tend to have higher levels of arsenic metabolites in their urine when exposed to food – including formula milk and rice – and that rice contains higher than recommend...
Source: NHS News Feed - May 5, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Food/diet Pregnancy/child Source Type: news

Blood test may lead to targeted therapy for prostate cancer
Conclusion Genetic testing is becoming more common in cancer treatment as a way of tailoring treatment to the individual cancer. It's already used in breast cancer, for example. This test could help identify which men that have not responded to hormone treatment are most likely to benefit from two of the newer prostate cancer drugs. It is good news, because men could then be spared treatment that is unlikely to help them, and directed towards more suitable treatment options. Also, both of these newer drugs are very expensive, so a suitable test could save the NHS a great deal of money. Meanwhile, those men who are likely t...
Source: NHS News Feed - May 5, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Cancer Medication Source Type: news

Low-gluten diet linked to heart attack risk
Conclusion This study has found that while overall gluten consumption in people without coeliac disease may not be related to heart disease risk, avoiding whole grains (wheat, barley and rye) in order to avoid gluten may be associated with increased heart disease risk. This study has several strengths, including its large size, the fact that data was collected prospectively and diet assessed at several time-points, the long period of follow up, and that it took into account a wide range of potential confounders. As with all studies of this type, it is possible that other factors may affect the results. However, the researc...
Source: NHS News Feed - May 4, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Food/diet Heart/lungs Source Type: news

Statins side effects 'have been overstated', says study
Conclusion This is a complex study that provides a plausible explanation for the difference in reports of adverse effects of statins in RCTs and observational studies, some of which have suggested as many as 1 in 5 people get side effects from statins. However, we need to be aware of some limitations and unanswered questions: When people knew they were taking statins, they were more likely to report muscle pain than those not taking statins. But they were less likely to report muscle pain than in the first phase of the study, when they didn't know whether they were taking statins or placebo. We don't know why this is. ...
Source: NHS News Feed - May 3, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medication Heart/lungs Source Type: news

Statins side effects 'have been overstated,' says study
Conclusion This is a complex study that provides a plausible explanation for the difference in reports of adverse effects of statins in RCTs and observational studies, some of which have suggested as many as 1 in 5 people get side effects from statins. However, we need to be aware of some limitations and unanswered questions: When people knew they were taking statins, they were more likely to report muscle pain than those not taking statins. But they were less likely to report muscle pain than in the first phase of the study, when they didn't know whether they were taking statins or placebo. We don't know why this is. ...
Source: NHS News Feed - May 3, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medication Heart/lungs Source Type: news

Alternate-day fasting diets 'no better' than traditional dieting
Conclusion This study finds no difference between alternating-day fasting diets and daily calorie restriction diets in terms of weight loss and cardiovascular disease indicators. So this does not show that fasting diets don't work – people in this group did lose weight compared to the control group, just that they are no different to a calorie restriction diet. While this seems good evidence that one is not better than the other, there are some important things to consider before taking the findings at face value. Sample size and drop-out The drop-out rate was high. Ideally in a trial you would hope to see at le...
Source: NHS News Feed - May 2, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Food/diet Source Type: news

Weak link between grandmums' smoking and autistic grandkids
Conclusion This study aimed to see whether smoking in pregnancy is linked with some traits of ASD in the smoker's grandchildren. Although this was based on a large cohort of children, the results give quite a confusing and inconclusive picture. To be frank, the study raised more questions than it answered. Maternal grandmother smoking was linked with ASD traits only in girls (in whom ASD is less common in any case) – and then only if their own mother did not smoke. When looking at actual diagnosed cases of autism, the link was only found in boys. The study had some important limitations to consider: Most of the dat...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 28, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Neurology Mental health Genetics/stem cells Source Type: news

Binge drinking could trigger abnormal heart rhythms
Conclusion This cross-sectional study found binge drinking is associated with an increased risk of having an irregular heartbeat. However, the type of irregular heartbeat found was mainly sinus tachycardia, which isn't life threatening but involves the heart beating at an abnormally fast rate of over 100 heartbeats a minute. This research also has some notable limitations: The ECG recordings from the acute alcohol group were taken using a smartphone application operated outside the manufacturer's recommended environment. The lively atmosphere within the beer tent may have caused inaccurate recordings. The population...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 27, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Heart/lungs Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

New glaucoma test could save millions from blindness
Conclusion Glaucoma is responsible for about 10 in 100 people registered blind in the UK. About 2 in 100 people over 40 in the UK have glaucoma, and around 10 in 100 of those aged over 75. Because there is no cure, but early treatment can often help slow or prevent damage, early diagnosis is important. Regular eye tests may pick up glaucoma, but often there's no sign of the disease until people have already begun to lose vision. That's why this test is interesting. If it can be shown to work well and safely, it could be a quick and efficient way to diagnose glaucoma before people have started to lose their sight. However, ...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 27, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medical practice Older people Source Type: news

Regular exercise for the over-50s 'sharpens the mind'
Conclusion It's no surprise to hear that exercise has health benefits – but not everyone knows that it's good for your brain as well as your body. This study provides evidence that, even for people with some signs of declining mental function, regular moderately intense exercise has a positive effect. There are a few minor caveats, however. Although the study showed tai chi is beneficial, this was based on only four trials. And it's not completely clear how often people need to exercise. The study found any number of weekly sessions showed a benefit, but it's reasonable to think more sessions would be more benefici...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 26, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Lifestyle/exercise Older people Neurology Source Type: news

Four cups of coffee 'not bad for health' suggests review
Conclusion It appears that previous recommendations from the 2003 Health Canada review into the effects of caffeine on health remain suitable. Health Canada recommended a maximum daily coffee intake of 400mg/day for healthy adults and 300mg/day for pregnant women. Although this review looked at a large number of studies and found that the evidence overall supports these recommendations, there are some limitations to the research: The number of studies providing evidence for each health outcome varied. Some results were based on a large number of studies, others on a much smaller number. This means the strength of evide...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 25, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Food/diet Pregnancy/child Source Type: news

Children with regular bedtimes 'less likely to become obese'
Conclusion This study aimed to look at whether child routines and behavioural regulation are linked with child obesity aged 11. The study made use of data collected at regular home assessments for a large, nationally representative UK sample. The data suggests that inconsistent bedtimes are linked with increased likelihood of the child being obese at age 11. But before drawing firm conclusions about this, there are a couple of points to bear in mind. Though the researchers have tried to adjust for sociodemographic factors, there is a high possibility that this link is being influenced by confounding factors. The most lik...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 24, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Lifestyle/exercise Obesity Pregnancy/child Source Type: news

Reported link between diet drinks and dementia and stroke is weak
Conclusion The researchers used data from a large ongoing cohort study to look for links between consumption of sugary and artificially sweetened drinks and risk of stroke or dementia. This cohort study benefits from the large overall sample size, long period of data collection, careful and valid diagnostic assessments, and adjustments for a number of confounders. However, care must be taken when interpreting these results – particularly if latching on to the maximal tripled risk figures reported in the media. There are several points to consider: Small numbers The new number of strokes and dementia in this study was...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 21, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Food/diet Heart/lungs Neurology Source Type: news

Cycling commuters have lower rates of heart disease and cancer
Conclusion This prospective cohort study has established that active methods of commuting to work, either walking or cycling, are associated with reduced risk of death, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Overall this was a well-designed study based on a large collection of real-world data from the UK. The researchers controlled for key socioeconomic and lifestyle confounders. Although this is an observational study, confidence in the link is improved by its consistency with existing knowledge and research on the benefits of physical activity and the graded response in the results. Participants from the UK Biobank who ...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 21, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Lifestyle/exercise Cancer Heart/lungs Source Type: news

Two older drugs could be 'repurposed' to fight dementia
Conclusion This early stage experimental research has demonstrated a beneficial neurological effect of trazodone and dibenzoylmethane on mice with diseases mimicking neurodegenerative diseases. It is important to acknowledge that this is animal research and therefore the drugs might not have the same effect when they are trialled on humans. That being said, trazodone is already an approved drug for depression and sleep problems and has therefore already passed safety tests. If the mechanisms of neurodegeneration in humans and mice are similar, it is possible trazodone could be used in the future in treating Alzheimer's and...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 20, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Older people Neurology Medication Source Type: news

Frog slime could protect us against future flu epidemic
Conclusion This study has identified a substance in the mucus secreted by a south Indian frog which can kill certain types of flu virus. Researchers often turn to natural substances with known health-giving properties to find potential new drugs for humans. For example, aspirin was developed based on a compound found in willow bark – which had been used in traditional medicine for hundreds of years. Some other drugs – such as some chemotherapy and anticlotting drugs – have also been developed from chemicals found in plants. By isolating the substances that have an effect the researchers can make sure...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 19, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Heart/lungs Medication Medical practice Source Type: news

Touchscreen-using toddlers may sleep less
Conclusion This survey aimed to assess whether touchscreen use in infants and toddlers aged between 6 and 36 months has an impact on the quality of their sleep. Sleep is very important for young children as it has a role in development, and if environmental influences are identified that reduce the quality of sleep, they should be limited. This UK study has strengths in its good sample size and its attempts to control for the effects of other confounding variables – however, these weren't all explicitly listed. While a link between levels of touchscreen use and daily sleep was found, this cross-sectional study is not...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 18, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Source Type: news

Being either under or overweight may increase migraine risk
Conclusion The study results are clear: people who are obese have a moderately increased chance of getting migraine headaches, and people who are underweight have a small increased chance. However, the results don't tell us why that is. There are a few limitations to be aware of: More than half the studies used people's self-reported height and weight to calculate body mass index, which may have under-estimated the proportion of people who were overweight. Half the studies used people's self-report of migraine, rather than a medical diagnosis, which could have affected the accuracy of the results. There were substan...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 18, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Neurology Obesity Source Type: news

Being both under and overweight may increase migraine risk
Conclusion The study results are clear: people who are obese have a moderately increased chance of getting migraine headaches, and people who are underweight have a small increased chance. However, the results don't tell us why that is. There are a few limitations to be aware of: More than half the studies used people's self-reported height and weight to calculate body mass index, which may have under-estimated the proportion of people who were overweight. Half the studies used people's self-report of migraine, rather than a medical diagnosis, which could have affected the accuracy of the results. There were substan...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 18, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Neurology Obesity Source Type: news

Could your tattoos put you at risk of heat stroke?
Conclusion The study showed that artificially stimulating sweat glands in a tattooed area of skin in 10 men produced a lower sweat rate than stimulating sweat glands in a non-tattooed area of skin in the same person. The authors suggest a number of possible explanations for this, including that it may be because tattooing skin starts an inflammatory response that may cause damage to normal tissue including sweat glands. However, these are only theories and need to be investigated further. While this is interesting preliminary research, there are some important things to remember: There were only 10 male participants invo...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 13, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

Daily diet of fresh fruit linked to lower diabetes risk
Conclusion The study findings – that eating fresh fruit every day does not raise the risk of diabetes, and may reduce it – are reassuring and in line with dietary advice in the UK. It's also helpful to see evidence that people who already have diabetes are likely to benefit from fresh fruit as well, because there has not been much research into fruit-eating for people with diabetes. However, it's a step too far to say that fresh fruit prevents diabetes or diabetes complications. Fresh fruit is just one part of a healthy diet, and diet is just one of the things that may affect someone's risk of getting diabetes....
Source: NHS News Feed - April 12, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Diabetes Food/diet Source Type: news

Brain cell reprogramming therapy shows promise for Parkinson's
Conclusion This laboratory and animal study aimed to see whether it is possible to modify a type of cell commonly found in the brain, called glial cells, to become dopamine-producing nerve cells. These dopamine-producing nerve cells are the ones lost in people with Parkinson's disease. If a method could be found to replace these cells, it could potentially be used to treat the condition. Previous research has shown that mouse and human skin cells can be converted to dopamine-producing cells in the laboratory. However, this is the first study to develop a way to convert a different type of cell already in the brain into dop...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 11, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Neurology Medical practice Source Type: news

Growing up with a pet may boost a baby's bacterial health
Conclusion This subgroup analysis of babies from a large Canadian birth cohort assessed whether exposure to furry pets before and after birth has any impact on infant gut bacteria. Overall it found that exposure to pets while in the womb and after birth was linked with richer and more diverse gut bacteria. The researchers say that several studies in the past, including their own, have found a link between richness of gut bacteria and both the development of allergies and the development of obesity. Therefore these findings may be taken to imply that pet exposure could protect against allergy and obesity in infants – ...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 10, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Source Type: news

Tea not proven to 'shield you against dementia'
Conclusion This analysis of data from a prospective cohort study of Chinese older adults looked at a potential link between tea consumption and development of dementia. It found that tea drinkers who took part in the study were less likely to develop dementia compared to non-drinkers. The links were observed specifically in women tea drinkers, and in drinkers who carry the APOE ε4 gene that has been linked with Alzheimer's development. This was a well-designed cohort study which controlled for numerous potential confounders in its analysis. However, there are a number of things to bear in mind, many of which h...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 7, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Neurology Food/diet Source Type: news

Antibiotic use linked to 'pre-cancerous' bowel changes
Conclusion Antibiotics, like all drugs, have side effects. We know that they affect the composition of bacteria that live in a healthy gut. This study suggests that might possibly be linked to future development of bowel cancer. However, there are some major limitations to keep in mind. Bowel polyps are very common, and they're not cancerous. Most people who have them won't know they're there, unless they have a colonoscopy. Some polyps do develop into bowel cancer, but we don't know if any of these women got bowel cancer, or how many of their polyps would have become cancerous if not treated. It's highly possible that wom...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 6, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Cancer Medication Source Type: news

Reports that Marmite prevents dementia are laying it on a bit thick
Conclusion This is an early investigative research study, and while some of the findings are interesting, it's a long way from showing that yeast extract spreads can help with conditions like epilepsy or other neurological disorders. The study's strength is that it was carried out as a randomised controlled trial. However, its small size means we need to see the results replicated in larger studies to be sure they are not down to chance. We also need to see longer-term studies into the actual clinical effects of the changes measured. At this point, we don't know what effect – if any – the changes in brain respo...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 5, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Food/diet Neurology Source Type: news

Firefighters warned about heart attack risk
Conclusion This randomised crossover trial aimed to assess whether putting out a fire has an effect on the biological signs of cardiovascular health of firefighters.  By simulating a fire fighting scenario the researchers found that exposure to these conditions increased tendency of the blood to clot, reduced the stretchiness of the blood vessel walls, and caused a slight increase in a marker of heart muscle damage. This trial is thought to be the first assessing this link. Whilst a randomised controlled trial is the best way of investigating this link, there are some limitations to consider. The trial included a...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 5, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Heart/lungs Source Type: news

British babies 'among the world's biggest criers' claim unproven
Conclusion This study suggests the prevalence of colic is highest in the first six weeks of a child's life and then decreases over the next six weeks. Colic seems to be less common in babies in Denmark, Germany and Japan and more common in babies from Canada, the UK and Italy. This study is valuable in demonstrating the pattern of fussing and crying over the first 12 weeks of a baby's life and how this varies across countries, but there are limitations to the research: There was a varied number of studies from the different countries. For example, there were seven studies from the UK, but only one study from Canada, Germ...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 4, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Source Type: news

Morning after pill 'less reliable' for women over 11 stone
Conclusion Overall the FSRH guideline gives additional clarity around the different types of emergency contraception that should be selected in different circumstances. These recommendations are based on the best level of evidence and expert understanding to date. However, they may change in the future as more evidence comes to light. In particular, related to the issue of weight on the effectiveness of oral emergency contraception, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) concluded in 2014 that the available evidence "was limited and not robust enough to support with certainty a conclusion that oral emergency contrac...
Source: NHS News Feed - April 3, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child QA articles Medication Source Type: news

Loneliness may make cold symptoms feel worse
Conclusion This study shows that when people are infected with a common cold virus, there seems to be an association between how lonely people say they are and the self-reported severity of their cold symptoms. However, loneliness did not make people more likely to get a cold in the first place. From the findings in this study, it seems that the quality of social relationships and the feeling of loneliness are more important than the quantity of relationships and the social roles people play. A possible ironic consequence of the social networking age is that some people may have lots of "friends", via Facebook, ...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 31, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Mental health Lifestyle/exercise Heart/lungs Source Type: news

Electromagnetic fields link to motor neurone disease 'weak'
Conclusion The study found an increased risk of ALS for men with high exposure to ELF magnetic fields, but that doesn't mean magnetic fields are a direct cause of ALS. While figures such as a doubling of risk suggest a big increase, the overall risk of ALS remains low, at 0.009 per hundred people per year in this study. We should also be cautious because the rarity of the disease means – even with a big group of people – there's room for error. The margin of error on the possible increased risk from ELF magnetic fields comes close to the point where the result could be down to chance. This point is reinforced b...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 30, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Neurology Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

Exposure to electromagnetic fields linked to motor neurone disease
Conclusion The study found an increased risk of ALS for men with high exposure to ELF magnetic fields, but that doesn't mean magnetic fields are a direct cause of ALS. While figures such as a doubling of risk suggest a big increase, the overall risk of ALS remains low, at 0.009 per hundred people per year in this study. We should also be cautious because the rarity of the disease means – even with a big group of people – there's room for error. The margin of error on the possible increased risk from ELF magnetic fields comes close to the point where the result could be down to chance. This point is reinforced b...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 30, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Neurology Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

Brain implants allow paralysed man to feed himself
Conclusion This was a case report which described how a man who was paralysed from the shoulders down regained the ability to perform reaching and grasping movements using his own paralysed arm and hand controlled by his brain.  It was a "proof of concept" study to show that the approach – using a brain implant linked via a computer to "functional electrical stimulation" (FES) devices to deliver electrical stimulation to the muscles – could work. The next step will be to continue developing and studying the technique in more people. These are exciting findings and pave the way for ...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 30, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Neurology Medical practice Source Type: news

Can playing Tetris help prevent PTSD?
Conclusion Involvement in a traumatic event such as a traffic accident can have long-lasting effects on mental health. Some people have months or years of distressing, intrusive flash-backs, feelings of guilt or helplessness, anxiety and depression. At present, there are no treatments that can be given straight away to prevent such long-term effects. The lack of long-term effects in the study results mean we need to be cautious about claims that playing Tetris could "prevent" PTSD. Limitations of the study – such as an untested control intervention, and the relatively small number of participants – me...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 29, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Mental health Source Type: news

Breastfeeding 'doesn't boost children's intelligence'
Conclusion This study has tackled the controversial question of whether there are long-term benefits of breastfeeding for cognitive ability or problem behaviours when children are older (ages three to five). Although they found very limited evidence of benefit, the authors do note that there are some other studies that have used a similar analysis but found differing results. The researchers think this could be due to slight differences in analysis. This does highlight the difficulties in being absolutely certain whether breastfeeding has direct impact on long-term cognitive outcomes. What we can say is that, if there ar...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 28, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Mental health Neurology Source Type: news

Is bad luck the leading cause of cancer?
Conclusion This analysis of global cancer registry data proposes simple chance as the third possible factor behind cancer-causing gene mutations, alongside well-established genetic and environmental factors. The possibility that random gene mutations can occur when the body's cells repeatedly divide is obviously highly plausible and not really that revolutionary a theory. However, these researchers have tried to quantify exactly what proportion of cancers could be down to chance. This brings us to the greatest limitation of this research: these are only estimates. As the researchers themselves point out: "The actua...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 27, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Cancer Genetics/stem cells Source Type: news