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Maternity care 'varies across England', a 'migraine gene' and why snorers who lie in are twice as likely to develop bowel cancer

A round-up of the health news headlines on Thursday 2 May.

The quality of maternity care varies across England meaning some women are not receiving the best possible care, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists warns.

A report carried out with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found rates of inductions, emergency caesareans and assisted deliveries are twice as high in some hospitals as others.

The research focussed on 11 indicators of the quality of maternity care, using data routinely collected by hospitals to analyse the performance of maternity units in England during 2011/12.

In light of the report, Dr David Richmond, vice president of RCOG, called for an expansion of maternity services.

He said: ‘The initial set of indicators suggests wide variation in both practice and outcomes between maternity units which is a source of concern for the specialty as we cannot be sure that every woman is getting the best possible care.’

He added: ‘It highlights that specialist-delivered care must expand so that for women with complex obstetric needs - which may only become apparent during labour - care can be provided by trained clinicians 24 hours a day and seven days a week.’

Do you suffer migraines? It could be down to your genes, reports the Telegraph, after the discovery of a so-called ‘migraine gene’.

Researchers found the gene after first studying the genetics of two families of migraine sufferers, allowing them to pinpoint a common genetic flaw.

US researchers then carried out experiments on mice, to prove the gene was involved in causing the disabling headaches.

The mice with the gene, like people with migraines, were very sensitive to pain, touch, sound and light. They were also more prone to a pattern of brain waves linked to the flashing lights or other visual problems that can precede a migraine.

Drugs appeared to ease the mice’s symptoms, and scientists said they hope the research could help them better understand the condition and formulate better treatments.

The Daily Mail brings news of a study by Harvard medical school which found that snorers who lie-in are twice as likely to develop bowel cancer.

The study showed a significant link between long periods of sleep and the development of colorectal cancer, especially among people who are overweight or who snore.

Snorers who sleep for nine hours a night were found to be twice as likely to develop bowel cancer than those who get seven hours.

It is believed that obstructive sleep apnoea - a form of snoring that causes interrupted breathing during sleep - could contribute to an increased risk of cancer because those with the condition tend to sleep for longer as their sleep is obstructed so they are tired.

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