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Friends and family test results, the 'arms race' for NHS contracts and the gum bugs that could cause Alzheimer's

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Tuesday 30 July.

Sky News reports on a ‘revolution in healthcare’ to take place later today, as the first results from the Friends and Family Test in hospitals are due to be published.

Hospital patients were asked their views after staying over night or visiting an A&E department during April, May and June, with health secretary Jeremy Hunt hailing the unveiling of the results of the one-question survey as ‘a historic moment’.

He said: ‘We will eventually know what patients think about almost every ward, at every hospital, across the county.’

Meanwhile, the FT reports that private sector companies are ‘engaged in an arms race’ to win £5bn worth of NHS work that is being tendered in open procurement processes, including hospitals, mental healthcare, pathology and GP clinics. It says the move could ‘transform the future of healthcare in Britain’.

Children may need more exercise than is currently advised, The Telegraph reports. It said the under-10s recommended between 60 and 85 minutes or they may risk raising their risk of heart disease and stroke in later life.

European researchers studied 3,000 children, finding 15% already had levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and skinfold thickness to suggest they were at high risk of developing cardiovascular problems in later life.

NHS guidelines currently recommend that in order to stay generally healthy, children should exercise for about 60 minutes per day, but the new paper found that younger boys may need to be more active to keep in good shape.

The Daily Mail poses the question whether gum disease and poor dental health could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. It said a type of bacteria that cause gum disease were found in brains of dementia patients and may have led to cell death in the brain.

But the researchers were unsure of which came first, the gum disease or the dementia.

Dean of dentistry Professor Stjohn Crean said: ‘The bacteria could be a trigger that sets off a chain reaction in people pre-disposed to dementia. We are not saying this bacteria causes Alzheimer’s, but it was present in the brains of the patients and not the control group. So people should pay particular attention to brushing their teeth and visiting the dentist to reduce the amount of bugs in their mouths - especially those with a history of dementia in their family.’

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