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.