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Care homes cash crisis, researchers ‘breach’ the brain barrier and drop Facebook to be happier

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

A new report has warned that a cash crisis facing the NHS could cause the complete collapse of residential care within five years, costing the NHS an extra £3bn each year, says The Independent.

The report - from the think tank ResPublica - says local authority spending on social care for the elderly has fallen 17% since 2009 and if the trend continues it will lead to the loss of 37,000 care home beds.

The introduction of the national living wage for low-wage workers will put the industry under further strain, the report warns, so that ‘the most likely outcome is the vast majority of care home residents flowing through to hospitals’, which will ‘require the NHS to find £3 billion per year by 2020/21 to support frail and aged people who no longer have a home in the residential care sector, and who do not belong – nor wish to be – in a hospital’.

Canadian researchers have used a novel technique to ‘breach’ the brain barrier, allowing them to deliver cancer-fighting drugs to a brain tumour of a 56-year-old patient, the BBC reports.

The technique involved creating tiny gas-filled bubbles that were injected into the bloodstream of the patient, and then use of ultrasound waves applied to the skull to get the bubbles ‘to vibrate and push their way through, along with chemotherapy drugs’, says the report.

Neurosurgeon Dr Todd Mainprize said: ’The results are preliminary at this point because we don’t have the levels of chemotherapy - but based on the gadolinium MRI scan, we were clearly able to open up the blood-brain barrier non-invasively, reversibly and it appears quite safely.’

Lastly, scientists say we should give up Facebook if we want to be happier, reports The Times.

A study of over 1,000 people in Denmark found that a score of their ’lifestyle satisfaction’ went up among those who avoided Facebook for a week. These people also reported feeling happier and less lonely.

Author Meik Wiking, from the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, said their study showed the impact of ’being bombarded with great news about other people’ and urged Facebook users to share more of their failures and disappointments, says the paper.

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