Health News Round-Up
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Weekly Health News Round-Up (W/E 5/8/16)

Hello and welcome to our weekly round-up of news, views and stats from the world of Health Insurance and Health in general. Our aim is to give you a snapshot of what has been happening in the Health scene in the past 7 days, as reported by the National Media.


Zika virus cases confirmed in Scotland - Independent 

  • More than 50 people across the UK have been treated for the infection, which is associated with a birth defect called microcephaly, which results in children being born with abnormally small heads and brain damage.
  • The Scottish Government stressed that the disease, which has sparked a major health alert in South America, “does not pose a public health risk” in Scotland, but said that an undisclosed number of cases had been found.
  • Experts warn that Zika, which has been linked to birth defects, could spread as mosquitoes migrate due to warmer summer weather


Meat contributes to obesity as much as sugar, research suggestsIndependent 

  • Protein, not the fat in meat contributes to obesity, scientists say
  • The consumption of meat contributes just as much as sugar to the growing prevalence of global obesity, new research suggests.
  • This means that increased availability of meat may be making a significant contribution to global waist sizes.


Flossing teeth could be a waste of time, new research suggestsIndependent 

  • If you have been diligently setting aside five minutes every day to floss your teeth, you may have been wasting your time.
  • There is little reliable evidence it actually works and recommendations to do so have been removed from official health guidelines in America, according to new research.
  • Investigative journalist Jeff Donn wrote: “Most of these studies used outdated methods”


Being overweight 'ages people's brains'BBC News 

  • The brains of overweight people look "10 years older" than those of leaner peers, a study has found.
  • Brains naturally lose white matter - the part of the brain that transmits information - as people age. But a Cambridge University team found that loss was exacerbated with extra weight - so an overweight 50-year-old had a lean 60-year-old's brain.
  • Researchers said it shows we need to know relatively more about how extra weight affects the brain.


Cancer gene tests 'reveal family link'BBC News 

  • Scientists have discovered why some families are affected by many different types of cancer, thanks to genetic testing.
  • In tests on 1,100 patients affected by a rare cancer called sarcoma, more than half were born with gene mutations known to increase cancer risk.
  • The researchers, from The Institute of Cancer Research, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said the results were revealing and gave a more detailed picture of how cancer risk is inherited.


HIV campaigners win NHS drug battleBBC News 

  • The High Court has told the NHS in England it can fund a drug that can prevent HIV - after health bosses argued it was not their responsibility.
  • NHS England previously said councils should provide the pre-exposure prophylaxis (Prep) drug as they are in charge of preventative health.
  • This stance was successfully challenged by the National Aids Trust (NAT).


Acupuncture may stop memory loss that precedes dementiaTelegraph 

  • Acupuncture may help to improve the memory loss that precedes the development of dementia, a new review suggests.
  • Researchers in China drew together data from five studies involving more than 500 people and found that the ancient complementary medicine raised mental test scores by 10 per cent.
  • Acupuncture seems to improve memory but it may be due to a placebo effect


Superfoods debunked - and their cheaper and more effective alternatives revealedTelegraph 

  • Foods such as blueberries and kale are hailed as superfoods - but how good are they for us really?
  • “It’s a marketing term that is leaving consumers confused because these foods are touted as having magical abilities, but often claims aren’t supported by evidence,” says Anna Daniels, a registered dietitian and spokesman for the British Dietetic Association.
  • Experts also urge caution, especially if you are compensating for a bad diet by eating one or two “superfoods”