NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

RSS Feed for NHS Choices News pages

http://www.nhs.uk/News/Pages/NewsArticles.aspx

Do heart benefits of statins outweigh diabetes risk?

10th August 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

‘Heart benefits of statins outweigh diabetes risk’, The Daily Telegraph says. Statins are a type of medication widely used to lower blood cholesterol levels. While statins have proved reasonably effective in preventing cardiovascular disease (CVD), concerns have been raised that they could be associated with an increased risk increased risk of type 2 diabetes. The Telegraph’s story is based on a large, five-year study from the US that was seeking to clarify the ‘risk-benefit balance’ between: statin use reduced risk of CVD increased risk of type 2 diabetes The key findings of the study were that: in people with no ...

Having baby like 'being in a terror attack'

10th August 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

The Daily Mail tells us that one in three mothers suffers post-traumatic stress after having a baby, and says “having a baby’s like being in a terror attack”. The unnecessarily alarmist headlines follow a study of just 89 women in Israel who completed a survey in the month after giving birth. In fact, only three women (3.4%) reported full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at one month after birth Around 1 in 4 women (25.9%) did have symptoms of PTSD, but did not meet criteria for diagnosis. These symptomatic women were more likely to report having a previous ‘traumatic’ birth, and ...

Improved care for elderly could 'free up 7,000 hospital beds'

9th August 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

The BBC has reported that if urgent care services in England were better organised this would “free up 7,000 beds - 6% of the total - saving the NHS nearly £500m a year”. This headline is based on a think-tank report that looked at how people over the age of 65 in England used urgent care services. The report found that there was a four-fold difference between the number of beds used after emergency admissions and length of stay between the areas at the top and bottom of the scale. Some of this difference can be put down to demographic ...

Stressed-out men 'crave curvier women'

9th August 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

”Stressed men prefer larger women,” the Daily Telegraph reported today. It said that while men are usually programmed to prefer slimmer, younger-looking women, stress can make men “treasure more homely qualities”, such as larger body size. The story comes from a small study which set out to look at the impact of psychological stress on men’s judgements of female attractiveness in relation to body size. It found that men given tasks designed to put them under pressure rated a slightly larger female body size as their physical ideal, compared with the size chosen by men in a control group. The ...

'Fainting runs in families'

8th August 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

“Feeling faint? Blame your parents” advises the Daily Mail. The Mail went on to say that scientists have discovered that people who faint “could be genetically pre-disposed to swooning”. The research looked at whether genetic factors are involved in fainting. The researchers examined identical and non-identical twins where at least one twin had a history of fainting. Identical twins share the same DNA, whereas non-identical twins are no more alike than any two non-twin siblings. Therefore, if the researchers found that fainting affected both identical twins more frequently than it affected both non-identical twins, this would suggest that genetic factors ...

Grapefruit juice 'boost cancer drugs'

8th August 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

“Drinking grapefruit juice can dramatically boost the effectiveness of cancer drugs,” the Daily Express today reported. This headline is based on an early clinical trial investigating the effect of grapefruit juice on the ability to treat terminally ill cancer patients successfully with a drug called sirolimus. Sirolimus is widely used in transplant patients in order to prevent their immune system from rejecting transplanted organs. It is also believed to have the potential to treat certain types of cancers. A drawback is that if it is given in doses high enough to be useful in treating cancer, it can cause unpleasant ...

‘One million people’ with ‘undiagnosed’ chronic kidney disease

7th August 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

The Daily Mail and other newspapers have reported that up to a million people may have undiagnosed chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD is a long-term condition that does not cause any symptoms in its initial stages but can potentially lead to premature death or dialysis.. The news is based on an NHS Kidney Care report that examined the impact of CKD and its associated complications and costs to the NHS in England. The researchers looked at several previous well-conducted studies that were seeking to assess how widespread CKD is in England. They then compared the findings of these studies with ...

Weightlifting 'reduces men’s diabetes risk'

7th August 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

“Pumping weights five times a week can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by a third”, The Daily Telegraph has reported. The news is based on the results of a large US study which found that men who performed weight training reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Previous research has shown that regular moderate or vigorous physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day reduces risk of type 2. The authors of the study also report that other studies have shown that resistance training can improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes. This is the ...

Chemotherapy ‘encourages cancer’ claims researchers

6th August 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

“Chemotherapy can actually boost the growth of cancer cells, making the disease harder to fight,” the Metro has gloomily reported . The Metro’s claim focuses on some research that could explain a frustrating problem in cancer treatment.: The majority of advanced cancers, where the cancer has spread to multiple parts of the body (metastatic cancer), become resistant to chemotherapy treatment. This means that the vast majority of metastatic cancers are incurable. This news is based on a study looking at cancer tissue and cells in the laboratory and in mice. Rather than looking at the effects of cancer treatments on ...

Baby talk: survey claims third of baby health websites have ‘wrong information’

6th August 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

“Be careful what you Google for: Parents warned half of baby health advice online is wrong,” is the startling headline in the Daily Mail. This story is based on a US survey looking at how well 1,300 websites identified by Google searches agreed with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations on infant sleep safety. Specific questions that the researchers were looking at included: What’s the safest position for a baby to sleep? (On their back, according to the AAP.) Should babies share their beds with others? (No – ideally a baby should sleep by themselves.) What type of surface ...

‘Eve-olution’ – natural selection may help women live longer

3rd August 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

“Revealed, at last: why women live longer than men” reports The Independent. It says that “a mutation in the power producers of the body's cells is more harmful to males than females”. This news is based on research on the DNA in the “powerhouses” of cells - the mitochondria - in fruit flies, and their influence on aging and lifespan. Most of our genes come in pairs. We receive one of the pair from our mother, and the corresponding gene from our father. But mitochondrial DNA is different in that only females pass on their mitochondria to their offspring. This ...

Pacing 'not cost-effective’ for CFS

2nd August 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

“Brain training is most cost-effective treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome,” BBC News reports, while pacing therapies (learning to live within limits) “offer little value”. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a poorly understood and often controversial condition. The most common symptom of CFS is extreme tiredness (fatigue). This news is based on research that aimed to determine how cost-effective four treatment options were for people with CFS. These were: specialist medical care for CFS cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – a type of talking therapy graded exercise therapy – a structured exercise programme that aims gradually to increase how long a person ...

Cancer cell insight may 'revolutionise treatment'

2nd August 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

“Cancer cell discovery could revolutionise treatment,” said The Independent today. These reports are based on an American study looking at brain cancer in mice. The mice in this study had been genetically engineered to have a highly aggressive form of brain cancer. The cancer often returns after chemotherapy in humans, and has an average survival period of just a year after diagnosis. The scientists who ran the study wanted to see if they could identify a specific group of cancer “stem cells” that might be responsible for the return of the cancer. Stem cells are remarkable cells that can transform ...

Worried to death? – distress linked to early death

1st August 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

Those with an anxious disposition may want to look away now, but the Telegraph are reporting ‘even low levels of stress or anxiety can increase the risk of fatal heart attacks or stroke by up to a fifth’. This news is based on a well-designed study which pooled data from over 68,000 adults in England and looked at how their levels of psychological distress affected their risk of death from any cause, or due to specific types of conditions such as heart attacks, stroke and cancer.. The people were followed over the course of eight years. The symptoms of psychological ...

UK becoming nation of ‘happy pill poppers’ fears

1st August 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

The UK is in the grip of a ‘happy pill boom’ according to the Daily Mail, with ‘almost 50 million’ antidepressants prescribed in 2011. The reports are based on figures released today for prescriptions dispensed by GPs, pharmacists and other health professionals in the community during 2011. It shows that antidepressants such as Prozac and Seroxat account for the largest annual rise in prescriptions since 2010. Just under 46.7 million prescriptions for antidepressants were dispensed in 2011, a rise of 3.9 million on 2010. Some newspapers raise concerns that this rise may be the results of GPs looking for a ...

Are we becoming nation of ‘happy pill poppers?'

1st August 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

The UK is in the grip of a ‘happy pill boom’ according to the Daily Mail, with ‘almost 50 million’ antidepressants prescribed in 2011. The reports are based on figures released today for prescriptions dispensed by GPs, pharmacists and other health professionals in the community during 2011. It shows that antidepressants such as Prozac and Seroxat account for the largest annual rise in prescriptions from 2010 to 2011. Just under 46.7 million prescriptions for antidepressants were dispensed in 2011, a rise of 3.9 million on 2010. Some newspapers raise concerns that this rise may be the results of GPs looking ...

Is ‘nurse burnout’ putting patients at risk of infection?

31st July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

“Overworked nurses ‘put patients at greater risk of infection’,” is the headline in the Daily Mail. The news is based on a survey from the US that looked at a combination of: the nurse to patient ratio in from 161 hospitals in Pennsylvania how many cases of two common hospital-acquired infections occurred in these hospitals reported feelings of ‘burnout’ by nurses working in those hospitals There is no precise clinical definition of ‘burnout’, but some experts have described it as a combination of emotional exhaustion and detachment, and a feeling that a person is not performing well in their job. ...

Humans have 'super spidey sense' for danger claim

31st July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

BBC News informs us that “Researchers find fear link to Spider-Man”, while the Daily Express breathlessly informs us “just as Spider-Man’s instincts gave him the edge over his arch enemy the Green Goblin… researchers have now found we all have ‘Spidey Sense’ like the web-slinging superhero”. The so-called ‘spidey sense’ is the eponymous superhero’s ability to predict when he is in danger. The headlines are based on a recent experiment assessing whether humans had an ability to respond to threats while not necessarily being consciously aware of them. The news is based on a study in which two different ‘fearful’ ...

Future medics 'not taught about exercise pros'

30th July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

Medical students are “not taught activity benefits” BBC News has reported, based on a survey checking how many UK medical schools provided their students with information on the health benefits of physical activity. This led The Daily Telegraph to claim “Doctors are failing to advise patients on the benefits of exercise because its teaching is ‘sparse or non-existent’ in medical schools”. The survey assessed the provision of physical activity teaching in the curricula of all UK medical schools. The survey results uncovered what the authors call “alarming findings”, showing that there is widespread omission of basic teaching elements, such as ...

Whooping cough vaccine plans for pregnant women and teens due to ‘rocketing number of cases’

30th July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

‘Pregnant may get whooping cough jab to protect babies as number of cases rockets,’ reports the Mail, after an alarming rise in cases and a reported five infant deaths. The Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) (a board of specialists that advises on vaccination policy) is considering offering a vaccine against whooping cough to teenagers and pregnant women. The reason this step is being considered is because of an alarming rise in cases, which, as the Mail reports, is the ‘worst outbreak in more than a decade’. Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacteria infection that can cause persistent ...