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Radio waves to treat hypertension, concerns over cancer spending and depressed hamsters

Our roundup of health news headlines on Thursday 18 November.

By Laura Passi

Our roundup of health news headlines on Thursday 18 November.

High blood pressure can be treated with radio waves' reports The Guardian, after a study by scientists in Australia involving 106 patients.

The paper reports: ‘Those allocated to receive renal denervation, as the technique is called, saw their blood pressure fall by an average 32 over 12 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) over a period of six months.'

The procedure involves inserting a catheter into a blood vessel at the groin, then ‘easing' it up to the kidney where it ‘delivers a burst of high-energy radio waves to deactivate renal nerves, which play a role in raising blood pressure.' Presumably some anesthetic is also involved.

‘The NHS fails to spend cancer budget wisely' according to a report in The Times. We're told a spending review by the National Audit Office found that ‘some areas spend three times as much as each other on each patient, with most of the treatment unexplained and little evidence that treatment is any better'.

The Telegraph presents survey results from the King's Fund: ‘Patients still choose local hospital over better distant ones'. According to the results they want reassurance that ‘their local hospital is safe' as opposed to being given lots of information and ‘data comparing the quality of services.'

Busted may have sung about ‘sleeping with the light on' because they were feeling miserable, but new research shows that in fact ‘Sleeping with the light on can cause depression'.

The Metro tells us American researchers studied hamsters who showed significant changes in the hippocampus after being exposed to a dim light over eight weeks. ‘The night-time light used in the study was not bright – the equivalent of having a television on in a darkened room,' we're told.

Spotted a story we've missed? Let us know and we'll update the digest throughout the day...

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