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Independents' Day

GPC savages MPs over attack on prescribing

'Acupuncture cures infertility'

The story

Acupuncture may help women overcome fertility problems, report the Daily Express and the

Daily Mail.

The source

Both newspapers tell the story of a woman from Newcastle who had tried unsuccessfully for five years to get pregnant, including two rounds of IVF, only to succeed two weeks after trying acupuncture.

Expert view

Dr Patrick O'Brien, consultant in obstetrics and

gynaecology at University College London Hospital, said: 'There is no evidence acupuncture has an effect on fertility. The best advice is that there is no proven benefit but it can't do any harm and patients can try it if they wish.'

'Vaccine helps smokers quit'

The story

A vaccine for smokers that doubles the chance of helping them quit could be available within five years, report the Daily Mail, Daily Express,

Times and Guardian.

The source

Phase I and II results of a therapeutic vaccine for nicotine dependence were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Florida this week, finding it safe and well-tolerated. The vaccine works by induction of nicotine-specific antibodies that reduce uptake into the brain.

Expert view

Gay Sutherland, lecturer in the tobacco research team at King's College London, said: 'This is exciting but needs to be replicated. Not all the smokers responded but those with a high antibody response did twice as well. It's encouraging but not much more effective than current medication.'

'Jab helps dieters stay thin'

The story

A new vaccine could help people lose weight and stay thin, the Daily Mail claims.

The source

A Swiss biotechnology company announced it had developed a drug that suppresses levels of ghrelin, a hormone linked to appetite. The drug has been tested on mice and will shortly be

tested in humans.

Expert view

Dr Nick Finer, clinical director at the Wellcome clinical research facility, said: 'Ghrelin is a hormone that appears to be involved in the initiation of eating. It is thus a logical target as an approach to reducing food intake. The use of vaccines is unorthodox and will need rigorous testing for both efficacy and safety.'

'Statins halve breast Ca risk'

The story

Statins halve the risk of breast cancer, the

Times reports.

The source

A case-control study of 40,000 US female veterans reported at the ASCO annual conference in Florida found that statins were associated with a 51 per cent risk reduction of breast cancer after controlling for age, smoking, alcohol use and diabetes.

Expert view

Professor John Toy, Cancer Research UK medical director, said: 'This adds to the increasing observational evidence that statins may act as cancer chemopreventives. But as with all such types of studies there is a need to interpret the findings with caution. Prospective randomised trials would be required.'

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