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Blood test to detect Alzheimer’s, blame stress on the parents and NHS stand ups – you’re ‘aving a laugh

By Ian Quinn

Our round-up of the news headlines on Tuesday 6 July.

A simple blood test able to predict Alzheimer's up to a decade before symptoms appear could be developed by the NHS after researchers found high levels of a protein can be an early warning sign, report today's newspapers.

The study, conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, also found that unusually high levels of the protein may be linked with more rapid and severe memory loss.

Patient groups described the prospect of a blood test as the 'holy grail' for researchers.

Today's Daily Mail is less bowled over by a scheme from PCT managers to help women with mental health problems.

Not known for its sympathetic line towards jobless council tenants, the paper is irate that Heart of Birmingham Teaching Primary Care Trust has been spending thousands paying women from the poorest parts of the city to become stand-up comedians on the NHS.

‘The course is supposed to be for women who are at risk of developing mental health problems,' says the Mail, adding that participants had not had to provide any proof.

The project pays for the women to devise comedy routines based on their own experiences, to boost their confidence and tackle their problems, but the Mail froths at the mouth after discovering it has ‘sparked routines based on drug-taking and shoplifting.'

'Laughing together helps people realise that they are not alone in feeling the way they do, creating empathy and understanding amongst people, helping individuals feel less isolated and uniting communities,' a spokesman for the trust is quoted as saying.

For those in the know, this is actually one of the more sensible schemes Heart of Birmingham has come up with of late, and to be fair NHS managers need something to laugh at these days.

More cheer comes in the form of news that going out in the midday sun is not just for Daily Mail readers and Englishmen.

A small dose will boost vitamin D levels, which Cancer Research says have been depleted in the population because of people overreacting to sun scaremongers.

And finally, the papers have a discovery for every GP's favourite subject, stress - which apparently is all down to the genes.

Scientists have identified a gene that affects our ability to cope when the going gets tough, meaning that while it's the stressed parent you may be seeing today, in a few years time jnr will be on the way. Happy days.

Spotted something we've missed? Let us know and we'll update the digest throughout the day.

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