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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs under fire over asthma fatalities

'Showering harms the brain'

The story

Daily showers can cause brain damage, the

Daily Express and Mirror claim.

The source

US scientists warned that ingesting small amounts of manganese dissolved in water could harm the nervous system. Their study in the Journal of Medical Hypotheses calculated that a 10-minute shower a day for 10 years would expose children to doses three times higher than needed to damage a rat's brain.

Expert view

Dr Andy Dowson, chair of the Primary Care Neurology Society and a GP with a special interest in headache, said: 'The animal study is a first small step to develop evidence. We are not sure if there is a link with human illness and there is no reason for the public to be alarmed.'

'Implant cures obesity'

The story

An anti-obesity device can trick overweight people into thinking they are full, the Daily Express and BBC News Online report.

The source

US company Transneuronix has developed a matchbox-sized pacemaker implanted into the abdomen. The device works by triggering nerves in the stomach that are involved in digestion, to tell the brain that the stomach is full.

Expert view

Dr David Haslam, chair of the National Obesity Forum and a GP in Watton-at-Stone in Hertfordshire, said: 'The first-line treatments of nutrition and exercise will always be the gold standard, and second-line treatment such as drug therapy will be used before this sort of invasive treatment is appropriate.'

'Drug reverses Parkinson's'

The story

Damage from Parkinson's disease can be reversed by rewiring the brain, The Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail

report.

The source

A study in Nature Medicine examined a patient who had taken the experimental Parkinson's drug GDNF and found it had stimulated new nerve growth in the brain.

Expert view

Linda Kelly, chief executive of the Parkinson's Disease Society, said she was encouraged by the report but it was only based on one brain. She added: 'It is encouraging that there was regrowth but no indication as to how this happens and if they produce dopamine.'

'Sing to stop snoring'

The story

Snorers can sing their way to a silent night, according to the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and Sun.

The source

A limited University of Exeter pilot study by a music teacher found singing exercises could strengthen the soft palate and help with snoring. A full clinical trial is now being set up.

Expert view

Dr Heather Engleman, lecturer in sleep medicine at the University of Edinburgh, said: 'I think it's very unlikely to lead to much therapeutic benefit. Poor muscle tone in the upper airway is not a major determinant of snoring or sleep apnoea.'

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