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Weighty news for smokers and how fat cells can help osteoarthritis

A round-up of the health news headlines on Wednesday 11 July

It's turning out to be a bad week for the BMA's anti-tobacco campaign. Following yesterday's news that a Welsh Council member was suspended for questioning the BMA's stance on smoking, research in the BMJ today suggests that people who quit smoking put on almost double the weight previously believed.

The study showed that people can expect to put on almost 5kg within a year of quitting. This compares with the 3kg quoted in advice leaflets, the BBC reports.

The research, based on 62 case studies, showed that most of the weight was put on in the first three months. An unlucky 13% of former smokers put on more than 10kg in the first 12 months. However, 16% actually lost weight over the year.

Different techniques in quitting made no difference to weight gain, the study found.

Professor Esteve Fernandez, of the University of Barcelona, and Professor Simon Chapman, of the University of Sydney, stated that other studies had shown that people who smoke gain more weight than non-smokers.

The study added: ‘Weight gain is important because weight concern is widespread among smokers and could deter some from trying to quit.'

In slightly more cheery news, Australian company Regeneus has claimed that an injection of stem cells taken from body fat could help patients recover from crippling osteoarthritis.

According to the Mail, the treatment has been successfully trialed on animals.

The treatment is said to delay the need for joint repair by 10 to 20 years.

The pain-relieving effects were ‘almost immediate', said Dr Diana Robinson, who is one of Regeneus' medical partners. 'In some patients we've been able to show around 30 per cent cartilage regeneration after six months,' she told Body and Soul Online.

Finally, in non-clinical news, the GMS has issued guidance to consider the risk of child abuse in every case they see, the BBC reports.

Doctors have complained there is a ‘climate of fear', which has made come wary about reporting concerns.

The guidance has been produced after a two-year review.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: ‘Doctors who make child protection decisions based on the guidance will be able to justify their actions if a complaint is made against them.'

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