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#GPnews: University launches £10m research study into cannabis-based medicines

14:45 Eating cheese every day doesn’t seem to lead to higher cholesterol levels, according to new research.

In a study looking at the effects of dairy intake, including 1,500 participants, researchers from University College Dublin found evidence suggesting that high cheese consumption was neither linked to increased body fat nor high amounts of LDL cholesterol.

In fact, the researchers found that high dairy consumption in general was linked with lower body mass index (BMI) among participants, reports the Daily Mail.

Study author Dr Emma Feeney said: ‘What we saw was that in the high consumers they had a significantly higher intake of saturated fat than the non-consumers and the low consumers and yet there was no difference in their LDL cholesterol levels.

The study authors suggested the finding meant that despite high levels of saturated fat, the negative health impacts of dairy products such as cheese were offset by having a high nutritional value.

Dr Feeney also added: ‘We have to consider not just the nutrients themselves but also the matrix in which we are eating them in and what the overall dietary pattern is.

‘So not just about the food then, but the pattern of other foods we eat with them as well.’

11:00 The University of Oxford has launched a £10m research study into the medical benefits of cannabis, reports the Independent.

The study will explore whether new treatments for pain, cancer and inflammatory diseases can be derived from the plant, focusing on the area of the brain known as the endocannabinoid system – affecting mood, memory and pain sensation.

The university’s associate professor in clinical neurosciences Zameel Cader told the paper that the medical use of marijuana was ‘an area of huge untapped potential’.

Currently there is just one cannabis-based medicine that is licensed in the UK, used for reducing muscle spasms in people with MS.

Professor Cader said: ‘We’ve been using various cannabinoids, both synthetic and those that have been extracted from the plant. There are at least 50, maybe 80 different cannabinoids, most of which we don’t know what their actions are.

‘By applying these cannabinoids to our model [brain cell] system, we can establish what their “fingerprint” is and then say, “ah, that looks like a fingerprint that might be useful in Alzheimer’s, or in pain”.’

09:45 A survey of more than 2,000 nurses, GPs and hospital doctors across the UK has shown that staff blame constant NHS restructuring for workforce problems, reports the Guardian.

The survey, carried out by Wilmington Healthcare, found that there was a widespread opinion that the creation and subsequent abolishing of PCTs, strategic health authorites and workforce development confederations had impacted staff retention because it disrupted workforce planning.

Wilmington Healthcare’s managing director, Gareth Thomas, said: ‘Our survey shows that continued changes in workforce planning since 2000 have been a major factor in NHS staff retention problems.

‘This is of particular concern as the planned introduction of STPs in April 2017 is set to bring the biggest shake-up to NHS services since the publication of the Five Year Forward View.

‘As the NHS moves towards a truly devolved health and social care system, it is clear that urgent action must be taken to support staff and help them manage the huge changes that are envisaged.’