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MediaWatch

'Limpets can cure high BP'

The story Thousands of lives will be saved by a jab that cures high blood pressure, claims the Daily Mail in a story that also featured in the Telegraph and on Sky News.The source Bio-tech firm Protherics is reported as claiming a protein derived from limpets can improve blood pressure control by 'attacking' angiotensin. It apparently stimulates the immune system to act against the hormone. The vaccine would need a course of three jabs, followed by six-monthly boosters. Protherics says it will start trials later this year.Expert view Dr Mike Knapton, director of prevention and care at the British Heart Foundation, said: 'A vaccine is an interesting approach to managing blood pressure but more research will be needed before it can be used in clinical practice.'

'Milk makes teens spotty'

The story Drinking a lot of milk causes spots in teenagers, report the Daily Mail and Independent.The source The study in question was published two years ago. About 47,000 women were asked to recall their dietary habits when they were teenagers and whether they were diagnosed with acne. There appeared to be a positive correlation between the amount of milk consumed and risk of spots, particularly with skimmed milk.Expert view Christopher Lee, a nutritionist who works for celebrity dermatologist Dr Nicholas Perricone, said: 'A diet high in sugars and saturated fats is rich in free-radical-causing agents, which will exacerbate acne. But acne is triggered by hormones and is not caused by diet.'

'Oral sex a cancer threat'

The story The HPV virus, which can be contracted through oral sex, increases the risk of some throat cancers by up to 32 times, the Sun, Daily Mail and BBC News Online report.The source Researchers took blood and saliva from 100 men and women newly diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer, and asked questions about sexual habits and familial history of cancer. The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found the risk of throat cancer was almost nine times higher for people who reported having oral sex with more than six partners. Those who had evidence of prior oral HPV-16 infection had a 32-fold increased risk of throat cancer. Expert view Dr Julie Sharp, science information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: 'As this was a small study, further research is needed to confirm these observations. We know that after age, the main causes of mouth cancer are smoking or chewing tobacco or betel nut, and drinking too much alcohol.'

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