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Miliband's NHS 'secret weapon' plot, five steps to avoid dementia and new blood test to help smokers quit

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines

The Telegraph makes room for a front page story on reports Ed Miliband said he wanted to ‘weaponise’ the NHS in a secret meeeting with BBC executives.

Miliband did not deny the comments - made originally November and picked up in Prime Minister’s questions last week.

Tories said they showed Labour was using the NHS as a political football.

Former GP and chair of the health committee Dr Sarah Wollaston said: ‘They are exploiting the huge pressures that A&E is under for political gain. It is less about genuinely arguing about systems and the best way forward, and more about a campaign to gain votes.’

A Labour spokesman said: ‘No one should be surprised that we are going to make a fight of the NHS in the coming election. No one should be surprised that we are going to campaign and fight for the future of the NHS.’

Meanwhile the Express leads on ‘the five simple steps to stave off dementia’.

According to researchers, taking regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, keeping the mind active, watching your weight and getting regular health check-ups are the five golden rules to follow to delay the onset of dementia and reduce its severity.

Lastly, research suggests a blood test could help smokers decide which stop-smoking strategy will give them the best chance of quitting, reports the BBC.

The test analyses how quickly a person breaks down nicotine.

According to a study published in the Lancet, people who break down nicotine at a normal rate did better on the smoking cessation drug varenicline than on patches, whereas those who broke it down faster had an equal chance of quitting with either method - but reported more side effects with the varenicline.

Commenting on the study, Professor Neil Davies from the University of Bristol said: “The results are an important scientific advance. If the findings can be replicated they could lead to changes in practice. But there are still questions that need to be answered. The cost-effectiveness of these tests would need to be taken into account.’

Readers' comments (3)

  • A poor choice of words however it was in a "private meeting"! Surely all he is saying is that the NHS will be the main focus of his election campaign and given the mess that the Tories have made of it quite frankly who can blame him!

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  • Regular health checks. Guess who will doing all this for free. Us mugs. Thank you GPC

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  • i wonder why we don't hear any statements from Sarah Wollaston about the GMC and the deaths of doctors under investigation?

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