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Brits make up quarter of Dignitas suicides, MRSA efforts 'ineffective' and more evidence of obesity link with dementia

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Thursday 21 August.

Nearly a quarter of people ending their own lives at Swiss ‘suicide clinics’ like Dignitas are British, reports the Telegraph this morning.

Between 2008 and 2012, 126 Britons went to Switzerland to die, the majority at Dignitas, and a handful via less well known clinics, like Exit, the paper says.

Dr Charles Foster, lecturer in medical law and ethics at Oxford University, commented: ‘Switzerland is happy to continue providing this facility, then however intellectually dishonest it may be to allow her to siphon off all our own English pain, fear, angst and debate, it is likely to do less harm overall than introducing any conceivable assisted suicide law in England.’

Elsewhere, researchers have questioned current approaches to tackling the problem of hospital ‘superbug’ MRSA infections, according to the BBC.

Researchers in the Lancet say there is little evidence to show the standard practice of screening and isolating infected patients is effective - but good hand hygiene and bathing with antibacterial solutions are key.

Lastly there is more evidence about the link between obesity in mid-life and dementia, as researchers say people as young as 30 who become obese are at significantly increased risk of dementia in later life.

The study showed that people admitted to hospital with obesity in their 30s were more than three times more likely to develop dementia than non-obese people this age.

Dr Eric Karran, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: ‘There is an increasing body of evidence that lifestyle factors are linked to dementia risk.

‘As well as maintaining a healthy weight, research suggests that keeping blood pressure in check, not smoking and regular exercise throughout life are good ways to keep the brain healthy.’

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