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Depression is on the rise - and no wonder when health MOTs are a waste of time and drinking kills you more quickly than smoking

A round-up of the health news headlines on Wednesday 17 October

We start today with a study that shows health MOTs may be a waste of time.

Danish researchers studied 180,000 patients and concluded that the MOTs did not reduce deaths overall or deaths from cancer and heart disease, the BBC reports.

Ministers have said that the MOTs – free health checks offered to people aged 40-74 – could save 650 lives a year. They are designed to spot conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

 But those who take up the offer tend to be people who have an interest in their own health, while those at most risk of serious illness keep away.

There is good news – the lead researcher suggests this could be because physicians are doing a good job of keeping illness away.


Meanwhile, NHS data has showed that the number of people living with depression in England has increased by nearly half a million in three years. The total number for 2010-11 stood at 4.7 million, the BBC reports.

The data analysis firm SSentif said there was a large increase in the number of prescriptions or anti-depressants.

However, charities warned that this might be the tip of the iceberg as many people suffering from depression will not seek GP support. 


Finally in a particularly downbeat digest, a new study has shown that heavy drinking kills you more quickly than smoking.

German researchers found that alcoholics die 20 years sooner on average than the general population and sooner than smokers, the Daily Mail reports.

The data spanned 14 years in relation to 149 adults with alcohol problems.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Vinci Ho

    You can say the so called health MOT checks are very narrowly minded focusing only on cardiovascular death, calculating your CVD risks particularly , for instance .
    The contemporary situation is more people suffer from social or psycho-social diseases under this current atmosphere . Depression is rising cos people have all kinds of social problems.
    Alcohol is a historical and cultural issue . Therapy arrangements are very patchy rather driven by MDT approach . After all , no single specialty likes to take on the sole responsibility of a patient with alcohol problem drinking or dependence.
    These health checks are no where near matching the issues in reality .......

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  • The Health MOT is a vital first step towards a NHS Health Service, and not what we have at the moment - NHS illness service. We need to change our approach to health care to make it just that! If anyone thinks otherwise, they do not understand the whole health economics. It is vital that we empower the public to look after themselves much more and to do that we have to give them the information to do this. Think ahead and let's not just focus on today, Wellness is the way forward, MOTs are the beginning......!

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  • Let's not confuse a " health Mot" with wellness.
    It worries me to see patients " anxious" about their Cholesterol- even though no Family history, amazing HDL levels, non smokers, exercising regularly with normal body weight. I find the current adverts for the British Heart Foundation and Flora Proactive " unhealthy " and disappointing. Obviously public health is the beginning and it is right to empower people but lets find a better approach than this very narrow medical approach.

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