Our round up of health news headlines on Thursday 7 July.
Get ready for a ‘complete revolution‘ in the way you provide information about your performance, and be sure to thank Prime Minister David Cameron for this most welcome gift.
For he’s the one, the Daily Telegraph reports, who is the mastermind behind new plans to publish staggering reams of information about public services – GPs, the NHS, schools, criminal courts, the lot – online as part of the Big Society Information Revolution Madcap We’re All In This Together And Have To Know Everything About Everyone All The Time Plan. ‘Now, you’ll be able to compare the health outcomes of individual GP practices’, the PM cooed.
Plans for an ‘IVF lottery’ offering couples a grand prize of £25,000 worth of IVF treatment have really not gone down well with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and the British Fertility Society, who both tell The Independent the plan, by charity The Hatch – a dubious name for pro-fertility charity, bringing to mind images of battery-farmed women dispensing babies to order – as ‘entirely wrong and inappropriate‘. To me it seems like the slightly illogical extension of the market forces certain politicians seem so keen to bring into the NHS.
The day after the papers said light drinking in pregnancy doesn’t harm babies, new research says binge drinking definitely does. The Independent says research in mice shows heavy drinking in pregnancy can damage the DNA of unborn foetuses ‘beyond repair’.
Keeping on the rodent theme, naked mole rats – look them up – may hold the secrets to curing cancer and ‘other disease of old age’, The Independent says, with its record-breaking third health story of the day.
UK researchers have designed a test for Alzheimer’s disease that could be in use by 2013 in GP surgeries for anyone over 65, the Mail says.
The Mail has an unusual health warning: reading romance novels is bad for relationships. Experts writing in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care say the classic, sweaty, heaving, lustful Mills & Boon novels create unrealistic expectations of relationships, ‘with heroines always achieving a life of multiple orgasms and trouble free pregnancies.’
And it also has the promise of blessed relief for anyone who has known the pain of sunburn – scientists have pinpointed the chemical that makes previously luscious skin red, smart and itchy when sunburnt. The discovery of the chemical, called CXCL5, could lead to a new medication, but until then I’d suggest asking for an aloe vera massage from a willing volunteer.
And lastly The Guardian says waiting times for x-rays and other diagnostic tests have gone up, with an almost ten-fold increase in the number of patients waiting more than three months – from 217 to 1,800 – in a year.