New prescription drug-driving law, the cancer 'breathalyser' and why butter 'isn't bad after all'
A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines
People who take strong drugs for anxiety or pain relief are being warned a new drug-driving law covering prescription medications is soon to come into force, the BBC reports.
The law - to be introduced on 2 March - sets low thresholds for illegal drugs, including cannabis and cocaine, but also includes eight prescription drugs such as temazepam and diazepam, as well as morphine. Although most people will be fine, those on high doses are being advised to carry prescription slips when driving.
Road safety minister Robert Goodwill MP said: ‘If you are taking your medicine as directed and your driving is not impaired, then you are not breaking the law and there is no need to worry…There will also be a medical defence if a driver has been taking medication as directed and is found to be over the limit but not impaired.
‘Drivers who are taking prescribed medication at high doses [are advised] to carry evidence with them, such as prescriptions slips, when driving in order to minimise any inconvenience should they be asked to take a test by the police.’
Elsewhere, a new breath test that can pick up early signs of lung and bowel cancer is set to be trialled in the UK, the Independent reports.
The technology has been developed by the widower of former Tony Blair advisor Kate Gross, who died of colorectal cancer last year.
Lastly, the Daily Mail reports that ‘butter isn’t bad for you after all’, after academics said guidelines introduced 30 years ago urging people to cut down on saturated fat and dairy products in their diet weren’t based on solid evidence.
Britons were advised by an official dietary committee to cut their fat intake to 30% of total energy and saturated fat intake to 10%, while increasing the amount of carbohydrate they ate, says the paper, but now a review has concluded this was flawed - and some scientists even say the advice is partly responsible for the obesity crisis, because it encouraged an increase in carbohydrate intake.
Professor Iain Broom, of the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, told the paper mounting evidence against low-fat diets meant the Government needed to rethink dietary adviace.
He said: ‘It is now time for the UK Government to grasp the nettle and stop an uncontrolled experiment, which has gone global and may have had bad outcomes in terms of the obesity explosion and creating a more unhealthy nation with the current idea of “healthy eating”.’