This site is intended for health professionals only

Friday the 13th brings bad news for the young

By Edward Davie

Our round-up of the health headlines on Friday 13 May.

Today’s newspapers take us from before cradle to near grave in their coverage of health issues.

The Independent reports that birth rates for IVF twins and triplets have begun to fall in line with Government targets aimed at reducing health risks caused by multiple pregnancies. The drop reflects guidelines brought in by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority that urged UK fertility clinics to limit multiple births to no more than 24% in 2009/10.

As those children (multiple or otherwise) grow up the Telegraph (not on website) warns that laziness in those as young as nine could be putting them at risk of heart disease. Swedish researchers, who looked at 223 children with an average age of just under 10, probably surprised nobody by finding that those who exercised least had more body fat and a higher resting pulse rate than those that exercised the most.

And the same paper has more bad news with a Childline survey that finds one in six school pupils is drinking alcohol to cope with the stress of exams.

But there is some positive health news with The Guardian reporting that scientists have made a breakthrough which could slow the Aids epidemic after finding that giving antiretroviral drugs to people with HIV prevents them infecting their partners.

If anyone survives to old age a Government study has hinted that the responsibility for care homes might be removed from local councils and could be merged with the NHS to make efficiency savings. Andrew Dilnot, the chair of the Commission on Funding of Care and Support, told the Independent that he had also concluded that in future the taxpayer must take on more of the burden of the cost of caring for the elderly but combined with individual contributions.

And The Telegraph says that hundred of thousands of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers could benefit from a new treatment after NICE gave the go-ahead for it to be prescribed on the NHS. Those with moderate to sever form of the condition will be able to get Simponi, the brand name of the drug golimunab, where similar treatments have failed.

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

Daily Digest