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'Happiness gene' in Britain's DNA, a blood test to detect Down's syndrome and Alzheimer's changes urine odour

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

Happy Friday to Britain, as the Times reports that a ‘happiness gene’ is in the DNA of many of the country’s inhabitants.

Scientists puzzled by high levels of happiness in a wide variety of countries with seemingly little in common decided to study the DNA of inhabitants.

Other countries with the ‘happy gene’ included Mexico, Ecuador, Nigeria, Ghana, Sweden and Denmark. Meanwhile Egypt, South Korea, Romania and China were said to be gloomier nations.

Women with a high risk of giving birth to a child with Down’s syndrome may be routinely offered a blood test that could pick up the condition, reports the Mirror and other papers.

Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) is 99% accurate in detecting Down’s syndrome, because DNA from a developing foetus also circles in the mother’s blood stream.

The Department of Health said it is considering a recommendation from the the UK National Screening Committee to introduce testing more widely.

A new method of detecting Alzheimer’s at an early stage may be on the cards after scientists found that the odour of urine changes before significant brain alterations occur, reports the Telegraph.

However scientists have only proved the concept in genetically modified mice and warned it may not work the same way in humans.

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