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Government faces plain packaging legal threat, gruelling medical training depresses doctors and happiness won't make you live longer

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

The UK Government is facing a combined legal threat from four of the world’s biggest tobacco firms over plans to implement new legislation on plain packaging for tobacco products in May 2016.

The BBC reports that Phillip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International will say the legislation unlawfully takes away their trademark intellectual property.

The challenge is set to begin today and the Department of Health will contest the case saying it is an important public health measure aimed at discouraging children from smoking and helping smokers quit.

The Independent reports that one in four new American doctors have signs of depression, according to a study suggesting that the gruelling years of medical training may be responsible.

US medics train for between 11 and 16 years, a similar time to their UK counterparts, with up to three additional years specialist training, and the study reviewed data from 17,500 medical residents.

It found that ‘roughly a quarter to a third of physicians in training reported experiencing significant depressive symptomatology, if not over clinical depression, at any point in time’.

And in today’s instalment of silver linings for the overloaded GP, stress related misery does not appear to reduce your life expectancy and happiness won’t make you live longer.

The Guardian reports that Oxford University researchers from the UK Million Woman study have identified that, if controlling for other ill-health factors, unhappiness from working conditions, stress or general dissatisfaction is not life shortening.

The study did note that poor health makes people unhappy, and also that it shortens life expectancy. But Dr Bette Liu from the University of New South Wales in Australia said: ‘We found no direct effect of unhappiness or stress on mortality, even in a 10-year study of a million women.’

 

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