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'Rip-off' dentists, a cure for shopaholics, and how clean is your hospital kitchen?

A round-up of the health news headlines on Tuesday 29 May

When in hospital, a visitor can really cheer you up. The Sun brings the delightful news this morning that rats, mice, cockroaches are common visitors of hospital kitchens.

An investigation by the paper has found kitchen staff poorly trained in health and hygiene procedures - with one worker allegedly wiping their nose in a ‘high-risk' area - and many serving out-of-date food and meals contaminated with deadly bacteria.

The investigation found that 541 out of 731 kitchens probed by environmental officers were breaking hygiene rules.

 

Many of the papers today carry news of alleged deception by dentists, as it was revealed many may be deliberately misleading their patients. A report by the Office of Fair Trading found that half a million people a year were paying to receive dental care they are entitled to for free on the NHS, having been fed inaccurate advice by the men in white.

The report accused the dental industry of putting profit before patient, and called for major changes to the dentistry market.

John Fingleton, the OFT's chief executive, said: 'All too often patients lack access to the information they need, for example when choosing a dentist or when getting dental treatment.'

"This study has also highlighted that the current NHS dental contract in England may well not be working in the best interests of patients, and that regulations unjustifiably restrict patients from getting direct access to dental care professionals like hygienists.'

 

A pill to treat Alzheimers can also cure shopaholics, says The Telegraph this morning. A team of US psychiatrists found that memantine, traditionally used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimers, halved symptoms of people with ‘obsessive compulsive disorder' after eight weeks, meaning they spent less time on the high street and made fewer impulse purchases.

It says some 5.8 per cent of the population suffer from ‘compulsive buying order', a form of obsessive compulsive disorder which leaves them senselessly addicted to shopping. Often they find it hard to function at work or in their social lives and they run up thousands in debts and get into financial difficulty.

 

From one pill to another, with The Telegraph also reporting the findings of a Danish study which found that regularly taking ibuprofen or other similar painkillers can lower the risk of skin cancers.

Researchers from Aarhus University Hospital looked at the medical records from almost 20,000 people diagnosed with skin cancer in northern Denmark between 1991 and 2009, and compared them to 179,000 people without the disease.

Those who frequently ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were at a lower risk of two major types of skin cancer.

However, before people start popping painkillers, they also warned of the well-known side effects, that use of NSAIDs has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, irregular heartbeat and miscarriage.

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