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Bacteria does a ‘Ronan Keating’; Asda sells cancer drugs at cost price and why that gut means you have a smaller brain



Our roundup of health news headlines on Friday 21 May.

While the news of Ronan Keating’s split has ‘shocked every woman in Britain’ (according to the front page of the Mirror this morning), Daily Digest is more interested in the scientist on page four who says he has created artificial life.

US scientist Dr Craig Venter says he created artificial DNA and then inserted it into a bacterial cell and then (slightly weirdly) watched the ‘simple life form’ reproduce itself. Mark my words; it is only a matter of time before it ‘does-a-Keating’ and shacks up with another hot bacillus while it is on tour with the band BacZone.

Having a ‘pot belly’ in middle age raises the risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in later life, warn researchers.

A new study shows people with large guts in their 50s are significantly more likely to have smaller brains, and according to the Daily Mail this makes people with a beer gut more likely to go on and develop dementia.

‘Our data suggests a stronger connection between central obesity … and risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,’ said Sudha Seshadri, from Boston University School of Medicine.

In a move that noone could possibly dismiss as a cynical marketing ploy, Asda has said it will be selling cancer drugs not approved for use on the NHS at cost price.

The supermarket said it had checked the price of seven of the most commonly privately prescribed cancer drugs in British pharmacies and had found mark-ups of up to 76%.

But with the lung cancer drug Iressa coming in at £2,167.71 for a pack of 30 – only slightly cheaper than the £2,601.25 charged at Lloyds Pharmacy – I doubt there will be a rush at the Asda pharmacy counter.

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

Daily Digest – 21 May2010