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Fried fish, raw oysters and the NHS pensions strike

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Wednesday 30 November.

Eating fish may help stave off Alzheimer’s disease, according to reports in the press today, but just make sure you don’t fry it….oh, and best to avoid oysters.

A US study found that older people who eat grilled or baked fish at least once a week are three to five times less likely to suffer shrinkage in brain areas linked to working memory, says the Daily Telegraph. But frying destroys Omega-3 fatty acids which produce the protective effect.

And raw oysters are off the menu for elderly or vulnerable people in Britain, following warnings from the Food Standards Agency that 76% of British oysters are infected with norovirus.

Meanwhile, NHS chiefs were predicting that today’s strike over pensions could cause delays in emergency services spilling over into Thursday.

The Daily Mail reports that 60,000 non-urgent operations, outpatient appointments and tests have been postponed in England, with at least 3,000 suffering in Scotland. The Government estimates that around 400,000 nurses, paramedics, therapists and support staff have joined the action.

Dean Royles, director of NHS Employers, told The Guardian that patients may still experience significant delays in emergency services until tomorrow, despite a pledge by the unions to protect them.

Neither the strike nor the Chancellor’s gloomy statement could dissuade some tabloid newspapers from leading with the news that Michael Jackson’s doctor Conrad Murray has been jailed for a maximum of four years for involuntary manslaughter.

However, The Times offered a new angle, quoting the judge’s remark that Murray was planning to blackmail the star.

Luckily, medical malpractice is becoming less likely in the UK, thanks to the rise of women in the profession, accoring to The Independent.

Quoting an article from the student edition of the BMJ, the paper says women are set to outnumber men in medicine by 2017, and they are less likely to be disciplined by the GMC or investigated for failures in performance.

Over eight years 490 male doctors were banned from seeing patients following performance reviews by the National Clinical Assessment Service, compared with 79 women.

Men who wish to quit medicine for IT should beware, however. Research quoted by the Daily Telegraph warns that placing a PC with a wi-fi connection near the male genitals reduces sperm quality and the chances of fatherhood.

Female patients, however, may wish to get their laptops ready: An article in The Independent revealed that all patients in England are to be given online access to their personal GP records by 2015. Details, including security measures, are to feature in the Government’s forthcoming information strategy.