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Five ways to avoid dementia, elderly not so sick after all and how companies could run the NHS

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

There are five ways to reduce the risk of developing dementia, reports the Daily Mail. According to a study from Age UK, taking regular exercise, not smoking, maintaining a healthy bodyweight, eating a Mediterranean diet and a low alcohol intake could reduce the risk of cognitive decline by 36%.

The elderly are putting less pressure on hospital and emergency services than previously thought, writes The Times. In fact, elderly are getting healthier all the time, by not smoking and keeping a healthy diet, researchers said.

A Cabinet minister tasked with designing £20bn worth of savings in the Whitehall budget says the NHS can be run ‘outside of’ the public sector, The Telegraph reports. According to the paper, Francis Maude MP said that defence and policing aside, all other state functions could be carried out by companies.

Readers' comments (2)

  • "The elderly are putting less pressure on hospital and emergency services than previously thought, writes The Times. In fact, elderly are getting healthier all the time, by not smoking and keeping a healthy diet, researchers said."... Indeed, increasingly elderly people are not even dying anymore, rather the younger poorer ones who don't have jobs and are putting such a strain on the country's health service with their demands for acne treatment and contraceptives.

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  • Glancing at the Times report, it seems like a cohort study has shown that those born later are likely to spend fewer days in hospital than people born earlier did at the same age; and that they are likely to have fewer episodes of emergency treatment (not sure how this was defined).

    The move towards shorter hospital stays may be more cultural (move to day case surgery etc) rather than an indicator of better health.

    And against the welcome fact of today's elderly needing less emergency treatment than their predecessors, one must balance the fact that they are on massively more preventative treatment - is someone on 15 regular tablets with no episodes of acute illness actually healthier than someone on no regular meds with a single episode of acute illness?

    I doubt it but this is what the Times report seems to assume.

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