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Mid-Staffs chief nurse denies wrongdoing, another reason not to skip breakfast… and a gloomier take on Royal baby news

A round-up of the health news headlines on Tuesday 23 July.

The Independent reports this morning on the disciplinary hearing of former chief nurse at the scandal-hit Stafford Hospital, Janice Harry.

Harry, who denies any misconduct, is accused of failing to ensure enough skilled nurses were on duty, that wards were kept clean and patients were given enough food and water.

She told the NMC panel that she had not ‘front-line’ managed nurses and that she was not aware of problems of short-staffing.

She said: ‘When I was at the trust I recruited staff rather than lost staff. I had perhaps misplaced confidence in some of the senior staff on those wards, thinking they were doing things that perhaps they were not.’

Meanwhile the Independent also reports today on an even better reason to make time for breakfast each morning – scientists have found that men who regularly skip breakfast may be significantly increasing their risk of heart attacks.

A study in the journal Circulation tracked the health of over 25,000 men aged 45 to 82 years for 16 years and showed that those who missed breakfast were 27% more likely to suffer a heart attack or develop fatal heart disease.

Lead researcher Dr Leah Cahill, from Harvard University, told the paper: ‘When your body is fasting it goes into a protective drive, raising your blood pressure, raising levels of insulin and cholesterol. If you don’t breakfast in the morning you’re putting an extra strain on your body after it’s already been fasting all night.

‘Over many years of doing this, you can develop insulin resistance – which leads to diabetes – or high cholesterol or high blood pressure, which can all lead to heart disease.’

Finally, if you thought the health news pages would offer refuge from Royal baby mania – think again. But in this case the Guardian has a rather gloomy report on what the Royal baby’s generation can expect as they grow older – and it doesn’t make for comfortable reading.

According to the paper, they will face heatwaves, dementia and a reduced quality of life. The 2,000 or so infants born this month are apparently beginning a journey that will take a third of them to their 100th birthday – and mean they face increasing risks from heatwaves and large-scale water shortages, while flooding will become an even greater hazard.

Professor David Gordon, from the University of Bristol, said: ‘They will be the first generation in living memory that will face bleaker prospects than the previous one.

‘Incomes aren’t growing for the majority of parents, the quality of schools is falling and healthcare is likely to get worse. Growing up in the sixties wasn’t as nice as growing up today, but we may be going into reverse. I hope I am proved wrong.’

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