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Breast cancer drug boosts survival, people unaware of heart risks and getting children active helps their concentration

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines

A new breast cancer drug could lead to big improvements in breast cancer survival - and more headaches for NICE health economists, according to the Guardian this morning.

The new drug - Perjeta - extended lives for 15 months when added to current effective therapies.

NICE recently turned down the drug for lack of evidence, so the new data is expected to swing the regulator in its favour - although the cost of £43,000 per year could yet limit its use on the NHS.

Elsewhere, the BBC reports that many people are still completely unaware of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

A YouGov poll found one in ten adults confessed to not knowing how to look after their hearts - and only 2% were worried about dying from heart disease, whereas a third worried about getting dementia or cancer.

Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘Your heart is the most vital organ in the body, but all too often we take it for granted. Despite being a largely preventable condition, coronary heart disease is still the UK’s single biggest killer, causing unnecessary heartache for thousands of families.’

And parents should make sure their children take at least an hour of group exercise each day to help improve their brain function, says the Telegraph.

Apparently, US research has shown children that participated in a daily fitness programme - which involved short bursts of exercise interspersed with rest, amounting to about 70 minutes physical activity on average, had substantial improvements in their ability to pay attention, avoid distraction and switch between cognitive tasks.

By contrast, children who did not take part showed only ‘minimal’ improvements in these mental functions, in line with what would be expected from maturation alone.

 

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