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Porridge, pomegranates and prescription drugs

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Friday 11 November.

Most of the papers lead on the story that a high fibre diet can cut bowel cancer risk. But while porridge, brown rice and cereals reduce danger, there's ‘no significant' evidence that fruit and vegetables - or lentils, according to the Daily Mail - do the same.

An analysis of 25 studies, published online in the British Medical Journal, found that for every 10g increase in daily fibre intake, there was a 10% drop in risk of bowel cancer.

The Mail also reports that pomegranates could be ‘nature's elixir of youth'. A new study has found a daily dose could slow the ageing process of DNA, the paper says. Researchers at the private ProbelteBio laboratory in Murcia, Spainfound a significant decrease in a marker associated with cell damage, which can cause impaired brain, muscle, liver and kidney function as well as ageing effects on the skin.

The Independent has the story that the Department of Health is demanding action to curb addiction to prescription drugs after a leap in prescribing rates for powerful painkillers and tranquillisers. The paper says officials have appealed to doctors, drug agencies and regulators for greater ‘vigilance' because of fears that Britain could go the way of the US, where deaths involving opioid analgesics rose more than threefold in the last decade to almost 15,000 in 2008.

Finally, the Mirror reports that the number of people convicted of assaulting NHS staff has gone up 24% in a year. There were 1,397 punishments handed out by courts in 2010-11, up from 1,128 the previous year.

In the same period, reported assaults on staff rose from 56,718 to 57,830.

Attacks on doctors, nurses and staff cost the NHS an estimated £69million a year in absences, resignations and compensation pay-outs, the paper says.

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