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Calls for regulation of food and drink companies, a TB resurgence and why you should brush your teeth to Gangnam Style

Public health experts have called for further regulation of food, drink and alcohol companies, as they are using strategies similar to the tobacco industry to undermine public health policies.

The Guardian reports on a Lancet paper which said negotiating with these companies on the levels of salt, fat, sugar or alcohol or calorie amounts on labels (as the UK government has done through its ‘responsibility deal’)) will not work.

Rather than a ‘competitive market’ with a variety of traders, they said that multinational dominate the worldwide sale of food and drink worldwide, concentrated ‘to the point of oligopoly’.

Industry documents show they build ‘financial and institutional relations’ with health professionals, non-governmental organisations, and national and international health agencies.

They also distort research findings and lobby politicians to oppose health care reform.

The authors of the paper said that the food and drink industry should be treated like the tobacco industry; companies with too much of a vested interest in the sale of unhealthy products to stem the epidemic of the non-communicable diseases- including cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and respitatory disease.

Professor Ron Moodie of the University of Melbourne, Australia said: ‘Self-regulation is like having burglars install your locks. You feel you’re safe, but you’re not.’

‘Regulation, or the threat of regulation, is the only way to change these transnational corporations. The industry must be put under pressure if it is to change.’

Over at the Telegraph, we find the news that antibiotic resistance is causing a resurgence of tuberculosis.

Doctors said that new forms of the bacterial infection are emerging, and that Britain has higher rates of infection than other comparable countries.

They said the increase of the disease comes almost exclusively from immigration from south-Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. They advise testing immigrants using interferon-gamma release assay (IGRAs)- as used in France and Germany- rather than the skin prick used in the UK to pick up on TB cases earlier.

It is thought that overuse of antibiotics on pig farms in these countries has driven up antibiotic resistance.

Writing in the journal Thorax, professors Andy Bush and Ian Pavord, of the Royal Brompton Hospital in London and Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, said: ‘Whatever we may have once optimistically thought, TB remains with death, taxes and political chicanery as being inevitable, unavoidable and deeply unpleasant.’

‘It shows every sign of weathering the storm and superb randomised controlled trials, to emerge in ever-increasingly drug-resistant forms, potentially turning the clock back to the 1930s.’

Lastly, ‘Gangam Style’ should be played at bedtime said the Daily Mail, as dentists advise the YouTube hit is the best song for encouraging children to brush their teeth properly.

An expert from Brighton Institue of Modern Music and a dental professional have devised a musical formula for brushing teeth, which works out the number of beats needed for a perfect clean.

Based on this formula, they compiled a list of songs matching the calculation, to help children brush better.

Gangnam Style - which recently became the most watched item ever posted on YouTube with over one billion views - came out on top, followed by Rihanna’s Diamond; Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To know; Olly Murs’ Troublemaker; Wiley’s Heatwave and Cheryl Cole’s Call My Name.




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