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Minocycline for schizophrenia, apology for kidneys and MOTs for relationships

A round-up of the health news in the papers on Friday 2 March

Significant numbers of older women are dying of cancer because they do not consult GPs early enough, the Daily Mail reports. The story comes from Cambridge University researchers who found that over-70s are at a higher risk than other people of having the illness detected when it has already spread to other parts of the body.

Many women wrongly assume they are out of danger when they turn 70, the Mail said. Research author Dr Georgios Lyratzopoulos said: ‘There is substantial potential for improvements in early diagnosis in older patients with breast cancer.' The study, involving 17,800 women is published in the British Journal of Cancer.

A cheap antibiotic given to teenagers for acne is being tested as a possible treatment for psychosis in patients with schizophrenia. The Independent describes how the National Institute of Health Research is funding a £1.9 million trial of minocycline.  It has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects, which may be useful in tackling the inflammatory processes in the brain that occur in people with schizophrenia, said the Independent.

The NHS has admitted negligence after two transplant patients received kidney from a donor with an aggressive form of cancer, reports papers including the Daily Telegraph. Robert Law and Gillian Smart were told they need chemotherapy soon after they received the kidneys at Royal Liverpool University Hospital in November 2010. Lynda Hamlin, chief executive of NHS Blood and Cancer, offered ‘sincere and unreserved apologies', and said the incident included ‘human error' from a nurse.

Care for older people and disabled people is a ‘dog's breakfast', health minister Paul Burstow admitted, the Telegraph report. The paper referred to a live discussion that Mr Burstow took part in for social networking website Gransnet. His comments followed ‘a catalogue of examples of poor care', the Telegraph reported.

Forty-something couples should consider counselling in the form of a ‘relationship MOT', to prevent their marriages falling apart. This is the view of Baroness Tyler, the head of the counselling service Relate, quoted in the Times (paywall). She said to the paper regarding couples in their forties: ‘They are in middle life, probably working long hours and typically with young children, and may have elderly parents too. They often spend little time together and often lead parallel lives.'


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