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A lifeline for heart failure sufferers, how having an older father could be bad for your genes and why exercise could make you fat

A round-up of the health news headlines on Thursday 23 August

Today could mark the start of a new dawn for heart failure sufferers as the first British patient will be implanted with a new device that could help treat the condition, reports the Telegraph.

Unlike current devices which help the heart to pump, the CardioFit system stimulates the vagus nerve in the neck. This allows the heart to pump more slowly, relieving the strain.

If it is successful, it could save heart failure patients from a lifetime of drugs and heart pumps.

The system is being trialled at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester and has already seen promising results in 32 patients across Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Serbia.

The Telegraph quotes Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation: "Heart failure affects more than 750,000 people in the UK alone and we need new ways to tackle this often debilitating condition.

"This new procedure uses an implantable device to stimulate the vagus nerve in order to ‘calm' the heart and could help patients who are responding poorly to current treatment.

"This is the first large trial to test if the treatment really works and we look forward to seeing the results, which may help thousands of people."

From good news for heart patients to bad news for greying dads: the Daily Mail informs us that it's not just women who have a "rapidly ticking biological clock".

Researchers have found that older fathers pass down the majority of the faulty genes linked with autism, schizophrenia and possibly even dyslexia.

Scientists in Iceland screened 78 families with children diagnosed with autism or schizophrenia and found that 97% of genetic mutations were linked to the age of the father. The mother's age was deemed to have no effect.

Alexey Kondrashov, a professor of evolutionary biology at Michigan University, has said that if the study's findings were confirmed, "collecting the sperm of young adult men and cool-storing it for later use could be a wise individual decision".

And back to more hopeful news from the Telegraph: researchers have concluded that 30 minutes exercise is "better than an hour of training" for weight loss.

The University of Copenhagen study, published in the American Journal of Physiology, found that men who exercised for 30 minutes a day for three months lost an average of 8lb. The poor blokes who were made to work out for a whole 60 minutes lost two pounds less.

The researchers concluded that "30 minutes of exercise hard enough to produce a sweat was enough to turn the tide on an unhealthy body mass index". Which means half an hour more eating crisps on the sofa, right?

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