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Eating butter is good for you, moderate drinkers underestimate their intake by 40% and the specs that cure colour blindness

A round-up of the health news headlines on Thursday 7 February

After yesterday’s dire health news roundup, today brings some happier news: we can bin the margarine and enjoy our butter. The Daily Mail writes that we have been conned into believing that margarine was better for us than butter but now scientific evidence proves to be’ totally at odds’ with decades of official advice.

Taking a sample of middle-aged Australian men who had either experienced a heart attack or suffered from angina, US researchers advised half of them to cut their animal fat intake and replace it with safflower oil (which is similar to sunflower oil) and safflower oil margarine, while the other half continued to eat as normal.

The results, published in the British Medical Journal, showed that those who ate more of these products were almost twice as likely to die from all causes, including heart disease.

Perhaps that good-news piece will outweigh the slightly less upbeat report from The Telegraph, which writes that the Brits continue to disregard stark advice about the harms of over-indulging in alcoholic drinks. The paper reports on a new study carried out by the Department of Health, which showed that moderate drinkers tend to underestimate alcohol use by 40 per cent.

As any GP will know, official guidance advises that men should not regularly drink more 3-4 units of alcohol a day - equivalent to a pint and a half of beer - and 2-3 units of alcohol for women, the same as a 175ml glass of wine. But while up to four in five people described themselves as a ‘moderate drinker’, they admitted they exceeded safe guidelines and knew the health risks of their habits. The research further unveiled that almost two in three of these drinkers had ‘no intention of cutting down’.

‘I understand that people enjoy having a glass of wine or beer to unwind at the end of a busy day but these drinks stack up and can increase your risk of high blood pressure, cancer or liver disease,” said Prof Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer. ‘Cutting back your drinking can reduce your health risks, reduce your calorie intake, help you sleep better and boost your energy.’

For the research, 19 everyday drinkers were asked to keep a diary over a fortnight after giving an estimate of how much they thought they drank.

Heading back down the good news trail though, The Telegraph also reports on a new invention that claims to cure colour blindness.

Spectacles that could cure a person’s colour blindness and allow them to see the full spectrum for the first time have been developed by scientists, with the high tech glasses help those with ‘red-green deficiency’ - an inability to see some red and green colours. The genetic abnormality is estimated to affect about 10 per cent of all adult men and a small number of women.

The invention by 2AI Labs, an American research institute, has been produced based on years of research into how human sight has evolved.

The Labs reportedly developed several different pairs of glasses that could enhance the ability to see “oxygenated blood” in the skin. Scientists originally thought the spectacles, which feature special ‘Oxy-Iso’ lenses, could be used for medical purposes such as identifying veins before blood donation or identifying bruising. But they found that people with the ‘red-green’ colour-blindness could also use them to fix their condition.

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