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A warning to the iPod generation, new legal highs and how to celebrate 100 days of the new Government

By Lilian Anekwe

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Wednesday 18 August.

My avid fan tells me that latterly my Daily Digests have become somewhat cursory and I have not spent the time to personalise them and tailor them to my readership as I once did.

Today’s effort, lovingly crafted after poring over the nationals and scrutinising the minutiae of the health stories contained therein, will leave you in no doubt of my dedication and affection, dear reader.

GPs warn that forcing the long-term sick (‘work-shy’ or ‘malingerers’ as they are variably labelled in different papers, including The Times) back to work is doomed to fail. You can’t read what The Times made of it because of their paywall but you can read the Pulse story here. It’s way better, anyway.

Three quarters of you would back RCGP chair Professor Steve Field’s call for smoking in cars to be banned, The Guardian reports.

The Sun and the Daily Mirror both issue alerts over the new legal party drug, Ivory Wave. Who thinks of the names of these things? I would have called it a chazwazer.

Taking the pill makes you smarter, the Daily Mail says, closely followed by another doozie right out of the Daily Mail stable of dubious science stories: Girls with younger brothers become sexually active later in life than those who have only younger sisters or older siblings. I have three older brothers. You figure it out.

It also warns that iPods are damaging our children’s ears, reporting that hearing loss in teenagers has risen 30% in 20 years. Well before the advent of the iPod, that is, but let’s not let a crucial statistic get in the way of a thunderous DM headline.

In the last of the Daily Mail’s dire warnings (for today), office workers who take a lunchtime stroll in the summer sun are risking skin cancer by forgetting to wear suncream. Outside? At lunchtime? Sun? Who are these ‘office workers’ anyway? Workshy malingerers is what they are.

Evil pharmaceutical companies are creating a ‘market of lemons’ and knowingly selling drugs that have ‘few if any new benefits’, according to a speech by a leading critic of the industry reported in the Daily Telegraph. It says five out of six drugs don’t work – meaning you should prescribe six drugs for every one you think might work, to be on the safe side.

Naughty GP special in the Daily Telegraph: ‘Killer Doctor’ Dr Daniel Ubani is unlikely to be struck off in his home country of Germany.

It’s the coalition Government’s 100-day anniversary, and The Times and The Guardian have decided to celebrate by doing a political switcharoo.

The Guardian has an extravagant and fawning four-page spread, which reduces all of the swingeing public service cuts to tiny news-in-briefs, and calls the huge shake-up of the NHS ‘a surprise within a surprise’. Which is one way of putting it, I suppose.

Meanwhile the Times leader has thrown everyone off their traditional Conservative scent, by cautiously criticising the reforms: ‘There seems to be little need to spend £3 billion on another reorganisation of the NHS for, at best, uncertain benefit’, it says.

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

Daily Digest