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£3.70 to call NHS Direct, why school milk can help cut bowel cancer risk and strange but true – injections are less painful if you don’t look away

By Laura Passi

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Friday 11 February.

Hard to believe, we know, but the Daily Mail is outraged today.

The paper reports that it will cost ‘£3.70 to phone NHS Direct‘ as a ‘free number for patients is axed.’ It has been worked out that the average call to NHS Direct lasts 9 minutes and costs £3.70, and the Daily Mail is up in arms because patients may have to ring NHS Direct at a premium rate to make a GP appointment until the freephone ‘111’ number is in place. David Hickson, who has long campaigned against premium-rate calls, thinks that in the meanwhile ‘03 numbers offer the equitable alternative.’

This might come as bad news to those who grew up in the era of ‘Margaret Thatcher, milk snatcher’ because it turns out ‘School milk can help cut bowel cancer risk as adults‘. Oops! Researchers in New Zealand have found youngsters are ‘20% less likely to have a tumour later in life if they have half a pint every day for at least four years – and 40% if they drink it for more than six years.’ Turns out the calcium kills off cancer cells in the bowel.

Contrary to popular belief scientists have found that ‘Injections are less painful if you don’t look away‘. According to the report in the Daily Telegraph, the body ‘naturally reduces the pain experienced if the limb or body part affected is focused on visually’. And even more amazing is that if the body part appears larger, with the use of a mirror, then the ‘analgesic effect of simply looking was also increased.’ It doesn’t happen everyday, but the Daily Digest is impressed!

And finally, we have the distressing story of a six-year-old girl who was rushed to ‘hospital after drinking a ‘dangerous level of alcohol’‘. The Daily Mail (again, sorry) thinks that she could be the ‘youngest child in the country to be admitted in this condition.’

Spotted a story we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments and we’ll update the digest throughout the day…

Daily digest