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The chocolate diet, teen pregnancy map and a cure for cancer

A round-up of the health news in the papers on Tuesday 27 March 2012

A drug could help the immune system to break down tumours, reports the Daily Mail.

Researchers say that if given early, the treatment – which has shown positive results for breast, bowel, prostate, ovarian, brain, bladder and liver cancers and some blood cancers – could prove to be a cure.

The drug works by ‘unmasking' the CD47 protein found in many cancers that prevents the immune system from attacking the cancer: ‘The drug masks the so-called "don't-eat-me signal", allowing the immune system to attack the cancer – a goal of many researchers for decades'.

So far only tested on mice, researchers hope to give it to humans within two years.

If you're already getting that ‘weekend is over' feeling, help is at hand. The BBC reports the very exciting finding that ‘people who eat chocolate regularly tend to be thinner'. The  website reports: ‘Even though chocolate is loaded with calories, it contains ingredients that may favour weight loss rather than fat synthesis, scientists believe.'

Researchers have found it is how often you eat chocolate – rather than how much you consume – that positively affects your BMI, 'suggesting that the composition of calories, not just the number of them, matters for determining their ultimate impact on weight'.

Of course we all know that chocolate can be good for your heart, is packed full with antioxidant and...well it's yummy isn't it?

The BBC does include one caveat in the article though: ‘If you are looking to change your diet, you are likely to benefit most from eating more fresh fruits and vegetables'.

The Guardian website has created ‘the teen pregnancy map of England and Wales'. The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that teen pregnancy rates are the lowest since 1969 at 35.5 conceptions per thousand women aged 15–17.

You can browse the map by area and see how your locality compares to the rest of the country. County Durham has a high conception rate for under 18s, while Wealden is in the lowest bracket. You can also compare the data to last year's findings.

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