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Terminally ill left waiting for benefits, statins suppress multiple sclerosis progress, and fat genes hit jeans fit

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Wednesday 19 March.

A government benefits overhaul is causing unnecessary distress to thousands, wuth cancer patients certified as terminally ill waiting up to eight weeks for benefits that should take eight days,The Telegraph reports.

It says the ‘bungled’ introduction of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) is leaving some patients unable to arrange care, carers spending hours on the phones chasing applications, and a mounting backlog of claims. A report from the Commons Work and Pensions Committee criticised the rushed implementation of the system, and government ‘spinning’ of statistics to fuel hostility towards disabled people.

The Guardian reports that statins have been shown to have additional benefits in halting the progression of Multiple Sclerosis in a trial of 140 participants with advanced forms of the disease.

The study, published in The Lancet, administered an 80mg dose of simvastatin to half the participants for a period of two years and found a 43% reduction in the rate of brain atrophy. Dr Susan Kohlhaas, head of biomedical research at the MS Society, said: ‘Scientists have worked for years to find a potential treatment that could help people, and now, finally, one has been found. This is very exciting news.’

Further large-scale trials are required to determine its clinical effectiveness and safety, the report added.

And finally - continuing the daily digest’s quest to bring you the cutting edge of obesity research – news that a genetic predisposition to obesity makes you more likely to be obese if you eat fatty foods.

The Independent reports on a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health, which analysed data for 37,000 participants and found that eating fried foods more than four times a week doubled the impact on BMI for participants with the highest genetic risk of obesity compared with participants at low obesity risk.

 

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