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Arthritis, hacking and acid

A round-up of the health news in the papers on Friday 9 March

Arthritis sufferers are far more likely to develop fatal heart problems and strokes, according to the Daily Mail.

Scientists from Copenhagen University studied more than four million people of whom 18,250 had rheumatoid arthritis over a period of five years. Those with rheumatoid arthritis were 40% at higher risk of atrial fibrillation and 30% higher risk of strokes than the general public, the paper said.

The Daily Telegraph says a man suspected of hacking into the website of one of the country's biggest abortion providers is being questioned by police today.

The 27-year-old was arrested during the early hours of this morning on suspicion of offences under the Computer Misuse Act, according to the paper.

The Telegraph says the arrest came after the website of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service was hacked into and defaced yesterday.

The Telegraph also reports that helping more people to die at home rather than in hospital could save the NHS millions of pounds. Specialist palliative care in hospital costs £425 per day, according to Marie Curie Cancer Care.

And even the modest step of reducing the hospital stay of 30,000 patients in the last stages of life by just four days could save the NHS £34 million, the charity calculated.

Finally, the psychedelic drug LSD could be used as an effective method to treat alcoholism, according to the Independent. Scientists who examined studies from the 1960s and 70s found evidence for a clear and consistent beneficial effect of a low dose of lysergic acid diethylamide for treating alcohol dependency, the paper says.

They examined 536 participants, across six medical trials, and found that 59% of LSD patients had improved compared to 38% of control patients.

Writing in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the team from Harvard Medical School in the US said: ‘It was rather common for patients to claim significant insights into their problems, to feel that they had been given a new lease on life, and to make a strong resolution to discontinue their drinking.'