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Going from nurse to worse

GPs jobs are being taken by amateurs, and we must take some of the responsibility

GPs jobs are being taken by amateurs, and we must take some of the responsibility

'Homoeopathy works'

The story Homoeopathic remedies work for nearly three-quarters of patients, the Daily Mail claims.

The source A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found 71 per cent of patients noted positive changes in their condition after treatment at Bristol Homoeopathic Hospital. The six-year observational study looked at 6,544 patients with a wide range of chronic conditions.

expert view Dr George Lewith, a reader in complementary medical research at the University of Southampton, said: 'You always get big effects in outcome studies and this suggests homoeopathy is effective. But it does not tell us anything about the difference between real treatment with homoeopathy and placebo. My feeling is that much more research needs to be done.'

'Dolphins beat depression'

The story Swimming with dolphins can beat depression, The Times, Daily Mail and Independent report.

The source A study published in a special issue of the BMJ found patients who went swimming with dolphins had a much greater reduction in severity of depressive symptoms after two weeks than those who simply went snorkelling. Researchers from the University of Leicester took 30 patients with mild to moderate depression to Honduras for water activities.

expert view Professor Andre Tylee, professor of primary care mental health at King's College London, said: 'This is fascinating. Patients couldn't be blinded to the intervention but their findings are of interest and make intuitive sense. More available animals such as cats and dogs probably have an effect on mild depression too, although the biophilia hypothesis of course takes this a lot further.'

'How to stop miscarriage'

The story A treatment to stop recurrent miscarriages may follow the discovery of the cause, the Daily Express, Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail claim.

The source An Australian study of 400 women found women who miscarried averaged 70 per cent lower levels of a protein called MIC 1 in the placenta than those whose pregnancies proceeded normally. The researchers said lower levels of the protein could identify those at risk.

expert view Dr Jane Stewart, a consultant in reproductive medicine at Newcastle Fertility Centre, said: 'The researchers rightly say this work is at an early stage. It is not clear that they have shown conclusively that the lower level of MIC 1 is a causative factor.'

'Noise causes heart attack'

The story Loud noises increase the risk of a heart attack, The Times and BBC News Online report.

The source German researchers found environmental noise increased the risk of myocardial infarction more than three-fold in women and 46 per cent in men. The study, of 4,115 patients admitted to hospital with a diagnosis of acute MI and matched controls, was published in the European Heart Journal.

expert view Dr Rubin Minhas, CHD lead at Medway PCT and a GP in Kent, said: 'This story is based on findings that are almost certainly not true. Some of the outcomes were actually negative and the others could have arisen from bias or chance.'

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