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Doctors not needed at most births, complementary therapies undermine cancer treatment, late night snacking drives weight-gain

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines

Home and midwife-led maternity unit births are safer for most women, the Telegraph says of new NICE guidelines which say thousands more births could take place without doctors present.

The new guidance adds that unless mothers-to-be have a high risk of complications, it is safer for them to give birth in a small midwife-led unit, than go to a traditional labour ward – though currently nine out of ten births have a doctor present.

Professor Mark Baker, NICE’s clinical practice director, said: ‘Over the years, evidence has emerged which shows that, for this group of women [with uncomplicated pregnancies], giving birth in a midwife-led unit instead of a traditional labour ward is a safe option.  

The Guardian reports that complementary therapies commonly adopted by cancer patients under going chemotherapy could actually be undermining the benefits of their treatment.

An evaluation of 462 patient enquiries about alternative therapies found patients frequently asked about  treatments, including fish oil, turmeric, coenzyme Q10, milk thistle, known to have drug interactions with cancer treatments.

The lead researcher Sally Brooks, said: ‘These products may increase the effects of chemotherapy and put the patient at risk of toxicity, or decrease the efficacy of chemotherapy, those that contain high levels of antioxidants may interfere with both chemotherapy and radiation therapy.’

And finally the BBC reports that late night snacking could be a trigger for weight gain, after studies using mice showed those who fasted for at least 12 hours a day  triggered fat metabolising pathways.

Mice who ate the same amount of food, but could access it at any point in a 24 hour period, put on more weight. While the mice on restricted diets continued to keep weight off despite a weekend feast.

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