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HIV self testing kits go on sale, let people die at home and the back pain patients aping chimpanzees

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

The UK’s first legally-approved HIV self-testing kits have gone on sale, enabling people to test themselves with 99.7% accuracy from a finger prick blood sample, with results in just 15 minutes.

The test’s founder Brigette Bard said its launch was a significant step towards normalising HIV testing, writes the Telegraph.

The Guardian reports that the NHS could save millions by acting on the wishes of the terminally ill and allowing them to die at home, as most wish to do, A coalition of charities, led by the palliative care charity Marie Curie has said.

Access to high quality community nursing could reduce care costs by as much a £500 per person, but this is lacking alongside poor coordination between services and the failure to provide fast and free social care support for people at the end of life.

Dr Jane Collins, chief executive of Marie Curie, said: ‘Fewer than 5% of people say they want to be in hospital at the end of their lives, yet around 50% of people who die do so in hospital, often with no clinical need to be there.’

And finally patients suffering lower back pain might literally be a little bit of a panzee, as researchers found those with disk problems had spines that were more similar to chimps, human’s closest ape ancestor.

The BBC reports that a lesion which forms in the disc between the bones of the spine is the reason for the differing shape, and could have been an evolutionary stepping stone to moving from four limbs to two.

Prof Mark Collard, from the University of Aberdeen and Simon Fraser University in Canada, said the findings could help doctors predict those at risk of back problems: ‘Our study suggests that the pathological vertebrae of some people may be less well adapted for walking upright.’

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