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Breast implants ‘hide breast cancer’, stroke survivors lack emotional support and what you should eat to create a wordsmith

A round-up of the health news headlines on Wednesday 1 May.

Worrying news from the Independent today, which reports on a BMJ studying showing women who have cosmetic surgery to increase their breast size may be at greater risk of dying from cancer.

The study – a review of studies published over the past 20 years found women with the implants had 38% increased risk of death from breast cancer. Although the implants themselves are not necessarily the cause, it is thought their presence may mask developing tumours when women undergo mammograms, meaning their cancer is more advanced by the time it is diagnosed.

The British Association of British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons was unruffled by the findings, saying: ‘The study only demonstrates an association of reduced survival rate from non-localised (advanced) breast cancer in women with breast implants rather than a cause. The authors also quote many papers that show no association between breast implants and an increase in breast cancer.’

The BBC meanwhile says that the emotional impact of stroke is being overlooked. A survey of over 2,700 stroke survivors revealed that more than half had felt depressed and two-thirds reported anxiety, yet 42% said they felt abandoned after their physical needs were seen to.

The findings come from the Stroke Association. Chief executive Jon Barrick said: ‘Stroke leaves survivors and families shocked, shaken and anxious as their lives are often irreversibly changed in an instant.

‘Better recognition by health and social care professionals of the impact of stroke will help people to be properly assessed and get the right support.’

And over at the Daily Mail today, a report that eating plenty of seaweed, ice cream and strawberries in pregnancy could make your child more literate. Based on a Tasmanian study, the paper reports that iodine intake during pregnancy affects a child’s ability to read later in life, but not how good they are at sums.

More specifically, the research showed that iodine deficiency was associated with worse literacy in offspring, especially spelling, but not with maths skills – suggesting that the element is important for the development of auditory pathways and working memory, says the paper.

Researcher Dr Kristen Hynes said: ‘Pregnant women should follow public health guidelines and take daily dietary supplements containing iodine. Public health supplementation programs also can play a key role in monitoring how much iodine the population is receiving and acting to ensure at-risk groups receive enough iodine in the diet.’

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