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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

Modified protein promotes hair growth and fights ageing in mice
Conclusion This mouse study aimed to investigate whether there are ways to target and destroy senescent cells that have stopped dividing yet somehow avoid the normal cell-death pathways. Removing these cells could counteract damage to tissue in the body caused by medical treatments such as chemotherapy, and accelerated or natural ageing. It essentially found that a modified peptide (FOXO4-DRI) was able to cause death of the senescent cells. In turn, this was able to counteract the liver and kidney cell toxicity induced by a chemotherapy drug, in addition to reducing frailty and loss of fur density in the mice. Animal studi...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 24, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medication Source Type: news

Moderate drinking may reduce heart disease risk
Conclusion This study paints a more complicated picture than the "Pint a day keeps the doctor away" story proffered by The Sun. It seems to confirm the findings of other studies, which have shown that non-drinkers tend to have a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases than people who drink moderately. It suggests that some cardiovascular diseases (mainly those directly affecting the heart) seem to have a stronger link to a possible protective effect from alcohol than other vascular diseases, such as mini-strokes and bleeding in the brain. However, this can't be concluded with certainty due to the study design. We ...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 23, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Heart/lungs Food/diet Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

Mixing alcohol and energy drinks 'may be a risky cocktail'
Conclusion This systematic review aimed to try to better establish whether drinking alcohol mixed with energy drinks is linked with risk of injury. Although the majority of studies generally supported a link between consumption and increased risk of injury, as the researchers acknowledge, the high variability in the methods of the individual studies and assessment of harms "makes it difficult to determine the extent of this risk". Nearly all the studies were online surveys that asked questions about alcohol and energy drink consumption, and self-reported injury. But the temporal relationship between the two, ...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 23, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Lifestyle/exercise Mental health Source Type: news

The pill provides 'lifelong protection against some cancers'
Conclusion The research is in line with other studies that have reported on cancer risk and the pill. This study had the advantage of being both very large and having the longest follow-up period of any study of the effects of the pill on cancer. But we shouldn't lose sight of this study's limitations. It's not possible to say that taking the pill prevented women from getting certain cancers. It may be the case, but other confounding factors could be involved. The researchers took account of some basic factors that affect cancer risk, but not others like diet, physical exercise, weight and alcohol use. Many of the wom...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 22, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Cancer Medication Pregnancy/child Source Type: news

Overweight young men 'more likely to get severe liver disease'
Conclusion This cohort study aimed to assess whether a high BMI in late adolescence is associated with an increased risk of severe liver disease and liver cancer in later life. The researchers generally found a higher BMI was associated with an increased risk of severe liver disease, including liver cancer. A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes during follow-up was associated with a further increased risk of severe liver disease, regardless of BMI at the start of the study. This study included a very large population, and has used reliable sources of data for medical diagnoses and cause of death. But there are limitations to ...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 21, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Obesity Cancer Source Type: news

New drug shows promise in preventing heart attacks
Conclusion This is a high-quality, well-conducted randomised controlled trial conducted in a very large number of people across multiple countries. To date, it's remained uncertain whether evolocumab reduces the risk of cardiovascular events. This study provides good evidence that the drug reduces the risk of major cardiovascular events in people with high LDL cholesterol levels, and with a high risk of having a cardiovascular event, who are already taking statins. The follow-up is limited to around two years, during which roughly 1 in 10 people experienced a cardiovascular event. The reduction in risk was shown to inc...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 20, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medication Heart/lungs Source Type: news

Grandparents 'may be first to spot autism in a child'
Conclusions These cross-sectional parent and family surveys explore the factors that may be associated with the timing of diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. It's important to put these findings into the right context. The surveys found grandparents, particularly maternal grandmothers, were often the first to recognise the signs of ASD. But this doesn't necessarily mean grandmothers have some sort of "superpower" for recognising developmental conditions. The fact that in a quarter of cases close family members suspected a problem before the parents themselves may reveal that people slightly removed from a f...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 17, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Mental health Neurology Source Type: news

Can yoga and breathing really help 'cure' depression?
Conclusion Many people report finding yoga and breathing exercises to be relaxing and helpful for their mental health. This study provides some evidence the practice might help people with symptoms of depression. But flaws in the study mean we can't be sure this is the case. The lack of a control group is the big problem. For some people, depression simply gets better over time. For others, taking part in a class, being able to talk about their mental health, or getting out and doing some gentle physical exercise may improve their symptoms. We don't know whether yoga specifically made a difference because the study does...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 16, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Mental health Source Type: news

Ibuprofen claimed to raise cardiac arrest risk by a third
Conclusion This study showed an association between taking ibuprofen or diclofenac and an increased risk of a cardiac arrest in the following 30 days, but no association was found with the other NSAIDs investigated. But this study does have its limitations: Although the researchers used the same people to avoid confounding variables, the same person will differ in certain aspects over time – for example, certain diseases may get better or worse, which might have affected the results. The study only looked at prescribed drugs and not over-the-counter drugs. In Denmark, ibuprofen was the only over-the-counter drug sold...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 16, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medication Heart/lungs Source Type: news

New breast cancer drugs could help more than previously thought
Conclusion Advances in genetic technology are happening fast, improving our knowledge about which treatments may be most suitable for which types of cancer. However, testing these theories takes time, which can be frustrating for researchers, when newspaper headlines suggest people should already be receiving new treatments. This study potentially widens the pool of people who may benefit from targeted cancer treatment with PARP inhibitors, from around 5% to around 20%. That's clearly good news, but the potential for benefit needs to be tested in clinical trials. The researchers express a great deal of confidence in the ac...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 15, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Cancer Genetics/stem cells Medication Source Type: news

Children's screen time linked to diabetes risk factors
Conclusion This cross sectional study aimed to investigate the association between markers for type 2 diabetes and the amount of screen time a child has. The study found an association between higher levels of screen time and higher body fat and insulin resistance. However, as mentioned, this type of study is not able to prove cause and effect. It is most likely not the screen time itself that is the cause of these factors, more that this could indicate a generally less healthy and more sedentary lifestyle. A similar link might be found for children who spend more time reading books instead of taking physical activity. The...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 14, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Diabetes Pregnancy/child Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

Children's screen time linked to diabetes risk factors
Conclusion This cross sectional study aimed to investigate the association between markers for type 2 diabetes and the amount of screen time a child has. The study found an association between higher levels of screen time and higher body fat and insulin resistance. However, as mentioned, this type of study is not able to prove cause and effect. It is most likely not the screen time itself that is the cause of these factors, more that this could indicate a generally less healthy and more sedentary lifestyle. A similar link might be found for children who spend more time reading books instead of taking physical activity. The...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 14, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Diabetes Pregnancy/child Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

Hair loss drugs linked with erectile dysfunction
Conclusion This review confirms what is already known, that 5α-reductase inhibitors (5α-RIs) increase risk of erectile dysfunction. However, it also shows that even the low-dose formulation of finasteride taken by younger men for male pattern baldness is associated with increased risk. It is important to recognise that erectile dysfunction is already a known risk of the drug. It occurred in around one in 31 young men exposed – but the vast majority of cases resolved after stopping the drug. Erectile dysfunction only persisted in less than one in 100 young men after discontinuation of 5α-RI treatment. Even for men taki...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 13, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medication Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

Parents told to use pram covers to protect babies from air pollution
Conclusion This study aimed to investigate the pollution that babies and young children are exposed to, whether in the pram or carried by adults, on different school drop-off and pick-up walking routes. It generally found that the concentrations of fine particulates (PMC and PNC) were higher during morning hours, particularly around traffic intersections and bus stops. Experimental studies like this one are useful for testing hypotheses but there are a few points worth noting: The study assessed a single town. They would need to compare their findings with many more assessments on different routes, and in different towns...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 10, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Heart/lungs Source Type: news

'Tooth loss link to increased risk of dementia'
Conclusion This study adds to the evidence that good oral health is linked to good overall health, including a reduction in the chances of developing dementia in later life. But the research doesn't prove that regular tooth brushing will prevent dementia. We don't know what causes dementia. From research so far, it looks as if there are a number of interlinked causes. Brain health and ageing are likely to be affected by factors including diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol use, blood pressure and genetics. While living a healthy lifestyle may certainly reduce the chances of dementia, there are no guarantees. This study ha...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 9, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Mental health Neurology Older people Source Type: news

Substance found in red wine 'helps fight ageing'
Conclusion Resveratrol has been of interest to anti-ageing scientists for many years and researchers have previously shown it may be linked to a slowing of the decline in thinking and movement, at least in rodents. This study suggests a possible way this might happen. But the results don't tell us anything about what happens in humans. They suggest this substance may be useful for further research in humans at some point. They certainly don't provide a reason to drink gallons of red wine, in the hope of seeing an anti-ageing effect. Drinking too much alcohol is a sure-fire way to speed up deterioration of thinking skills,...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 8, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Food/diet Lifestyle/exercise Neurology Source Type: news

Mediterranean diet linked to lower risk of one type of breast cancer
Conclusion This study aimed to assess whether sticking to a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduction in breast cancer risk for postmenopausal women. The researchers found following a Mediterranean diet was indeed associated with a reduction in breast cancer risk – but only for ER-negative breast cancer. This study has both strengths and weaknesses. Its large, prospective design and long period of follow-up are strengths. The typical weakness of this type of study is that many factors are likely to contribute to risk, and it's very difficult to be sure the factor in question – in this case, eating a Mediter...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 7, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Cancer Food/diet Source Type: news

Is red hair gene linked to increased risk of Parkinson's?
Conclusion This study looked at the role the red hair gene MC1R plays in the brains of mice. The findings suggest the gene has a part to play in keeping certain nerve cells in the brain alive. The cells in question are those that die off in Parkinson's disease and cause the condition's characteristic movement problems. These findings in mice are likely to need further investigation in human cells and tissue in lab studies. Exactly what causes brain cells to die, causing Parkinson's disease, is unknown. As with many conditions, it's thought both genetic and environmental factors could play a role. Research like this helps...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 6, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Cancer Genetics/stem cells Source Type: news

Artificial mouse embryos created
Conclusion This early-stage research offers a good insight into the development of mouse embryos and the sequence of biological steps that take place up to the point of implantation in the womb and immediately afterwards. They could provide an insight into the early stages of human life. However, this does not mean that the creation of artificial human life is now possible: The study was carried out on mice stem cells, which have a very different biological make-up to humans so the processes may not be identical with human cells. While the artificial mouse embryo seemed to behave like a natural one, it is unlikely it c...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 3, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Genetics/stem cells Source Type: news

Regular activity may help some people stay 'fat and fit'
Conclusion As people often say, if exercise was a medicine, it would be hailed as a miracle cure. This study suggests that what we already know about the benefits of exercise may extend to reducing risk of cardiovascular disease for middle aged and older people, even if they are overweight or obese. But the study has some limitations. This type of study can't prove that one factor – exercise – is responsible for the lower risk of heart attack and stroke among overweight or obese people who exercise more. It's possible that other factors are important – for example people's income may be linked to their opportuniti...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 2, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Obesity Lifestyle/exercise Heart/lungs Source Type: news

Wide range of cancers now linked to being overweight
Conclusion The results of this study provide further evidence for the link between increasing levels of fat and the risk of developing certain cancers. There was strong evidence for nine cancers, with another two – ovarian cancer and stomach cancer – included when comparing obesity with healthy weight. This study is important in showing the significance of fat levels and obesity in cancer risk. But there are some important things to consider: The study doesn't tell us how excess body fat might play a role in the development of certain cancers, just that there's a link. Some studies might have been missed, as the ...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 1, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Cancer Obesity Source Type: news

Early warning signs of some cases of heart attacks 'being missed'
Conclusion Are doctors missing signs of heart attack in people admitted to hospital? The study results show that may be true in some cases, but there could be other explanations for these findings. One limitation of the study is that it doesn't show what tests were done, so we don't know whether people who'd complained of chest pain, for example, had tests for heart attacks. We don't know whether doctors actually missed the signs, or whether they investigated them but the tests were negative. It's also possible that – where people were admitted for one reason but eventually died of a heart attack – the initial diagno...
Source: NHS News Feed - March 1, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Heart/lungs Medical practice Source Type: news

'Avoid fads and stick to diet guidelines,' say US heart experts
Conclusion This review looked into food groups often linked to cardiovascular risk, some of which may be overstated or based on poor evidence. Overall, the researchers reported there being evidence solid fats are harmful. Examples include coconut and palm oil, eggs, fruit and veg juicing with pulp removal, and "[US] Southern diets" that include added fats, fried and processed foods and sugar-sweetened drinks. There's also evidence extra virgin olive oil, blueberries and strawberries, leafy green vegetables and controlled portions of nuts are beneficial for cardiovascular health. Investigating whether the he...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 28, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Food/diet Heart/lungs QA articles Source Type: news

Does putting the clocks forward make IVF more likely to fail?
Conclusion This study has identified a link between the clocks going forward in spring and pregnancy loss for women who have had IVF embryos implanted in the past 21 days. This link seemed to be particularly pronounced in women who had experienced pregnancy loss before. However, there are some important limitations to bear in mind: The women were all taken from one clinic in America, and were mostly white, so it is hard to generalise results to other populations, including women in a UK setting. Further studies in women from multiple clinics and in different countries are needed to check whether the link is seen in these...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 27, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Source Type: news

Fasting diet may help regenerate a diabetic pancreas
Conclusion This animal study examined whether a diet mimicking fasting cycles would be able to promote the generation of new insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells in a mouse model of diabetes. Overall, researchers found in mice models of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, insulin secretion was restored and insulin resistance and beta cells could be regenerated or have their function restored. Very early laboratory study on human cell samples suggested similar potential. These results show promise, but further research is needed to validate these findings in humans. Professor Anne Cooke, professor of immunology at the Univ...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 24, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Diabetes Food/diet Source Type: news

Link between herpes in pregnancy and autism is unconfirmed
Conclusion This was a Norwegian case-control study that looked at whether maternal infections during pregnancy are associated with the risk of neurological developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in their children. The study initially found no association between any of the pathogens during pregnancy or after delivery, and the development of ASD in boys or girls. Further investigations suggested that high levels of HSV-2 virus antibodies during mid-pregnancy were associated with increased risk of the development of ASD in boys. The researchers suggest that the suspected risk of ASD associated wit...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 24, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Neurology Mental health Source Type: news

Five-a-day of fruit and veg is good, but '10 is better'
Conclusion This research supports the idea that the more fruit and veg you eat the better – at least, up to 10 portions (800g) a day. It also suggests the number of people who die early might be reduced if they were to eat more than the current recommended guideline daily amount. However, before we take this at face value, there are some important considerations: There are likely to be many confounding factors that may have affected the results. It might be that people who eat a lot of fruit and veg are also more likely to be physically active, consume less alcohol, not smoke and be a healthy weight, or other facto...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 23, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Food/diet Heart/lungs Cancer Medical practice Source Type: news

Exercise 'most proven method' to prevent return of breast cancer
Conclusion This was a helpful summary of recent research into how lifestyle changes impact on the risk of breast cancer returning, but it does have some limitations. Researching lifestyle factors separately is always difficult as they tend to clump together, making it difficult to pick apart individual factors. For example, people who are more physically active tend to have a healthier diet and are less likely to drink excessive amounts of alcohol or smoke. While the researchers say many studies attempt to make adjustments for these confounding factors, it is difficult to know which studies did this and how successful they...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 22, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Cancer QA articles Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

Long-term daily drinking linked to stiffening of the arteries in men
Conclusion This prospective cohort study aimed to look at the relationship between long-term alcohol patterns and stiffness of the arteries as a potential indicator of cardiovascular health. The researchers found men who were stable heavy drinkers had stiffer arteries compared with stable moderate drinkers. Male former drinkers also had increasingly stiffer arteries over the following four to five years compared with consistent moderate drinkers. There were no significant findings seen for women at all. But this study does have limitations: This type of study is not able to prove drinking causes stiffness of the arter...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 21, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Heart/lungs Food/diet Source Type: news

Worrying about work out-of-hours 'may be bad for the heart'
Conclusions This research lends support to the theory that people who persistently worry about work may be less relaxed in the evenings compared with those who don't think about work once they've left the office. However, before we conclude too much from this research, there are several limitations to consider: This is a very small, selective sample of 36 people working for a company involved in banking and financial services. They were part of a much larger cohort and were selected for this sub-study because they were identified as being the highest or lowest ruminators, and furthermore had full data available. They ma...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 20, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Heart/lungs Lifestyle/exercise Mental health Source Type: news

Inappropriate antibiotic prescribing by online pharmacies 'reckless'
Conclusion Worryingly, most of the online pharmacies had no evidence of the registration required by current UK and European legislation. This could be because some of the operators were based outside Europe – but regardless of where they are based, they are still subject to UK legislation if selling to the UK public. The study raises concerns about the effectiveness of current UK legislation and the regulation of companies selling antibiotics over the internet. This research does have some limitations, however: Google and Yahoo searches are not identical when different browsers are used or when searches are per...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 17, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medication Medical practice Source Type: news

Could brain scans be used to screen for autism?
Conclusion This early-phase research suggests there may be brain changes associated with ASD, and MRI scans could potentially be used to aid earlier diagnosis. However, we don't know if these changes are present in all children with ASD. Much larger studies would be required to see if this is the case. The researchers suggest these findings may have implications for the early detection of and intervention for ASD. However, any such test would need to have a high degree of accuracy to avoid over- or under-diagnosis of ASD in infants. Even if this test was well validated, it would probably be just the start of a process ...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 17, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Neurology Pregnancy/child Mental health Source Type: news

'Add vitamin D to food to prevent colds and flu', say researchers
Conclusion This was a systematic review and meta-analysis investigating the use of vitamin D supplementation as a way of preventing acute respiratory tract infections such as flu, bronchitis and pneumonia. The study found vitamin D supplementation to be useful in the prevention of acute respiratory tract infection. People who are very deficient in vitamin D and those receiving daily or weekly supplementation without additional large one-off doses had a larger benefit. This study has both strengths and limitations. It is very well designed and includes high-quality evidence. The researchers made efforts to reduce the risk ...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 16, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Food/diet Medication Heart/lungs Source Type: news

Heading footballs 'linked to brain damage in professional players'
Conclusion There is growing concern that repeated concussion in contact sports like American football and rugby increase the risk of CTE, which was first found in boxers. This study raises questions as to whether less severe but repeated head impacts, such as those sustained by heading a football, could lead to brain damage later in life. All six of the retired footballers who had a post-mortem showed features of CTE, but the study is not able to show that this was a result of heading footballs. As CTE can only be diagnosed at post-mortem, it has been difficult to study the progress of the condition with any degree of ...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 15, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Neurology Older people Source Type: news

GPs 'failing to prescribe tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer'
Conclusion This large survey shows around half of GPs surveyed were unaware of the benefits of tamoxifen: namely, that the drug can reduce the risk of breast cancer in women with a family history of the condition. Only around a quarter of GPs surveyed were aware of the current UK guidelines. Researchers found GPs were more likely to feel comfortable carrying on a prescription initiated by hospital doctors, rather than being the one to take the decision to prescribe. This is perhaps unsurprising given that the drug is still not licensed for the primary prevention of cancer. NICE currently recommends prescribers need to ta...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 14, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Cancer Medication Medical practice Source Type: news

Online reviews of health products 'are misleading'
Conclusions This unique study suggests that, in general, online medical product reviews may give a distorted and enhanced perception of the effectiveness of the product compared with that actually demonstrated in randomised controlled trials. The author discusses potential theories around this. For example, it may reflect the fact people are more likely to post a review if they found something good than if the benefit they found was not that remarkable or there was no benefit at all. He also suggests people may not wish to dwell on prior periods of ill health, whereas a positive recovery is something they may want to shar...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 13, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medication Medical practice Source Type: news

Four-in-one pill 'effective' for high blood pressure
Conclusion The findings of this early-stage study suggest that a quadpill might be an effective way of lowering blood pressure. It might also show fewer side effects associated with taking blood pressure tablets at higher doses, such as dizziness, diarrhoea, or a cough. There are some limitations to the study: There were only 18 people included in the study. A bigger trial needs to be undertaken to find out what the results would look like if the quadpill was widely used in the population. The study was undertaken in an Australian setting where medication and monitoring of blood pressure might differ – therefore res...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 10, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medication Heart/lungs Source Type: news

'Antibiotics, not surgery, best for child appendicitis' says study
Conclusion This was a randomised controlled trial (RCT) that compared the removal of the appendix with active observation in children who had previously received non-operative treatment for an appendix mass. The researchers found that appendectomy could be avoided in many cases. Perhaps actively keeping an eye on the child's symptoms and only operating on those that develop appendicitis could be an approach worth considering. This was a well-designed trial and efforts were made to reduce the risk of bias. For example, allocation to groups was concealed at the point of assignment. The trial was also performed at multip...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 10, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Medical practice Source Type: news

Switching to wholegrains may boost metabolism
Conclusion The suggestion that you can lose weight by simply swapping refined grains like white bread and rice for wholegrains like wholemeal bread and brown rice is attractive if you're planning to shift a few pounds. But there are some things to remember before relying on the study results: People didn't lose weight during the study. Indeed, it was designed to make sure they didn't lose or gain weight, with a dietitian adjusting their daily calories if they started to gain or lose weight. The daily extra amount of calories that the researchers estimate people in the wholegrain group lost is modest – the equivalent ...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 9, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Food/diet Obesity Source Type: news

Shift work and heavy lifting may make it harder to get pregnant
Conclusion Many factors affect a couple’s ability to get pregnant, and the numbers of mature eggs produced by the woman is one of them. This study seems to have found a link between physically demanding work, shift work, and egg production. However, the study has many limitations. All the women were seeking IVF treatment, so already knew they had a fertility problem. The numbers of mature eggs, used in the study to calculate the women’s potential for fertility, were counted after extraction during IVF treatment. It’s not clear whether these findings would have applied to women releasing eggs naturally (eggs are usua...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 8, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Lifestyle/exercise Source Type: news

Long-term vaping 'far safer than smoking' says 'landmark' study
Conclusion This cross-sectional study aimed to assess whether there are differences in levels of nicotine and toxic chemicals in cigarette smokers, and former or current smokers who are also long-term users of e-cigarettes or NRT. E-cigarettes are designed for users to inhale nicotine without most of the harmful effects of smoking. There has been much discussion over the benefits of vaping over conventional smoking methods and this is the first long-term study assessing these effects. The main findings are not that surprising – former smokers who have now switched to using e-cigarettes or NRT only have significantly low...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 7, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Cancer Heart/lungs Source Type: news

Harnessing 'brute force' could be key to creating new antibiotics
Conclusions This laboratory study furthers understanding of the mechanisms by which antibacterial drugs target and destroy bacteria. The answer seems to lie in how effectively the drug can bind to target molecules on the bacterial surface membrane. When the force of this binding exerts sufficient mechanical strain on the cell surface, then the bacteria breaks apart and is destroyed. It shows that the strongest antibacterials that we have, such as vancomycin, are currently not infallible. That we could reach a point where we have bacterial infections that not even the strongest antibiotics are able to fight is a major pu...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 7, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Medication Medical practice Source Type: news

Does eating liquorice in pregnancy raise the risk of ADHD?
Conclusion This study provides evidence of some link between how much liquorice a pregnant woman eats and earlier puberty in girls, but not boys. It also shows some association between pregnant women eating liquorice and their children scoring lower for intelligence and being more likely to have ADHD. However, this study has some limitations to consider: Glycyrrhizin is found in other food products, such as chewing gum, sweets, cookies, ice creams, herbal teas, and herbal and traditional medicines, as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. The amount of these products the women ate was not reported, which means ...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 6, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Pregnancy/child Neurology Food/diet Source Type: news

Ibuprofen 'barely better than placebo' at treating back pain
Conclusion There was evidence that NSAIDs were effective in reducing pain and disability in patients with spinal pain, but treatment does not seem much more effective than a placebo and is not clinically important according to the researchers. Moreover, for every six patients treated with NSAIDs rather than a placebo, only one additional patient would benefit in the short-term. People taking NSAIDs also have a higher risk of gastrointestinal adverse reactions. Patients might like to consider if this seems like a chance worth taking. NSAIDs are currently recommended to treat back pain, but the authors suggest new, more effe...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 3, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Lifestyle/exercise Medical practice Medication Source Type: news

Poor sleep may affect good sex in later life
Conclusion These results show that women who sleep better are more satisfied with their sex lives, and more likely to be sexually active with a partner. However, the study can't tell us why this is. So many factors have the potential to affect both sleep and sexual satisfaction, that it's always going to be difficult to un-tangle the relationship between the two. There are a few limitations to the study that make the results less reliable. Although it was a big study, a large proportion of the women chose not to answer the questions about sex. The questionnaire included the option to tick "prefer not to say". Th...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 2, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Lifestyle/exercise Older people Source Type: news

'Breakthrough in communication for patients with severe MND', study claims
Conclusion It's hard to imagine the situation of being alert, aware of what's happening around you, but unable to move, respond or communicate with the outside world. So it is comforting, then, to hear that people with complete locked-in syndrome may be able to communicate – and may be relatively content with their situation. However, it's important to remember the limitations of this study. It's very small. Only four people took part, and full results are available for only three of them. The results may only apply to people with this very specific type of neurodegenerative disease, not to people with other types of pa...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 1, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Neurology Source Type: news

'Computer helps patients with severe MND communicate'
Conclusion It's hard to imagine the situation of being alert, aware of what's happening around you, but unable to move, respond or communicate with the outside world. So it is comforting, then, to hear that people with complete locked-in syndrome may be able to communicate – and may be relatively content with their situation. However, it's important to remember the limitations of this study. It's very small. Only four people took part, and full results are available for only three of them. The results may only apply to people with this very specific type of neurodegenerative disease, not to people with other types of pa...
Source: NHS News Feed - February 1, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Neurology Source Type: news

Diabetes could be a warning sign of pancreatic cancer
Conclusion This study uses a large prescription database to investigate the link between diabetes and pancreatic cancer, looking at the timing of first diabetes prescription and change in drugs prescribed. Among people with type 2 diabetes, diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was linked with recent onset of diabetes or rapidly deteriorating diabetes. This suggests these could both be potential warning signs of hidden pancreatic cancer and indicate the need for more investigations. While diabetes has previously been linked with pancreatic cancer, the nature of the cause and effect relationship remains unclear. It could be that d...
Source: NHS News Feed - January 31, 2017 Category: Consumer Health News Tags: Diabetes Cancer Source Type: news