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Calorie restricted diets, X-factor-style kidney donation, and is your child a psychopath?

A round-up of the health news headlines on Friday 31 August

If you pretended to burst into tears in front of your one-and-a-half year-old would they start to cry in turn? If not, chances are they could be a psychopath.

Research suggests that around one in a 100 children in the UK could be categorised by psychologists as ‘callous-unemotional' (CU): liable to lie, cheat, manipulate, behave with staggering cruelty and show no remorse.

Relatives can be reassured that it's not their parenting skills that are at fault, but their genes.

Professor Essi Viding from University College London out twin studies which suggest that psychopathic traits in children are largely genetic.

‘This does not mean these children are born anti-social or are destined to become anti-social, 'she told the Telegraph. ‘But in the same way that some of us are more susceptible to heart disease, these children are people who are more vulnerable to environmental influences that trigger the anti-social outcome.'

She said between a quarter and half of children in the UK with conduct problems - slightly less than 1%- may fall into the CU category.

The solution? Evidence showed the children responded to ‘warm parenting', including giving them what they want in return for good behaviour.

‘We may need to appeal to their selfish motives' said Professor Viding.

The Telegraph also follows-up on two Pulse stories today; firstly the lead investigator of a nationwide trial into telehealth urging caution over national rollout, and secondly, potential delays in flu jabs due to problems at the manufacturers.

Over at the Guardian, a new study using rhesus monkeys has thrown in a spanner in the face of the dominant view that calorie restriction slows down the ageing process.

Since 1934, research has shown that lab rats, mice, yeast, fruit flies and round worms fed calorie restricted diet could live from 30% to 50% longer.

But research from the National Institute on Aging, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, suggests this is not the case for rhesus monkeys, who are genetically closer to humans than the animals used in previous trials.

It found that most of the 57 calorie-restricted monkeys suffered less disease the 64 control monkeys, their drastic diets did not make them live longer.

Serco-run out of hours services leading to a spike in A&E attendance in Cornwall also made the news.

The Daily Mail blasted the arrival of a new ‘X-factor' style website where patients needing organ transplants can appeal to donors.

The American website features videos of needy recipients playing guitar or of their children asking viewers to help their parents.

Under the NHS scheme, donors give organs anonymously, and a medical team decides who will benefit most from the transplant.

250 strangers have been successfully matched, twice as many as under the NHS scheme.

Rebecca Rogers from Ramsgate has signed up to MatchingDonors because she wants a more personal system.

'I like knowing who I am going to give my kidney to,' she told ITV.

'You don't get that in the UK. You just go to the hospital and they expect you to give it up just like that.'

Allan Marriott-Smith, Director of Strategy and Quality at theThe Human Tissue Authority (HTA), the UK's transplant watchdog, told the Daily Mail: 'We are acutely aware that organ donation can be an emotive and sensitive subject. It is our role to make sure that living organ donors give consent to the process, and to safeguard against reward being offered or sought for a donation.

'The principle of organ donations, both from living and deceased people, being a freely given gift is the basis of the law in this area. We must give careful consideration to new developments to make sure that they are within these parameters.

 

 

 

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