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GPs ‘hold the key’, goodbye to wood-burning stoves and why poverty ‘wakes up’ your child’s immune system

By Laura Passi

Our roundup of health news headlines on Monday 7 February.

The Independent admits that ‘GPs hold the key‘ in the face of NHS reforms, in a full article pondering the ins and outs of the Health Bill. As the newspaper points out, ‘seven months on we still don’t know whether the key players in the reforms – the GPs – will rise to the challenge.’

The Guardian covers the governmental sacking of David Richards, an independent national health adviser, after he questioned ‘whether the money for its mental health strategy was new or came from the existing NHS budget.’ In a letter to the Guardian, prior to his departure, he said ‘I personally feel very aggrieved that mental health is being used by this Government to shore up its very poor opinion poll ratings and I don’t want to be part of it.’

Middle-class children ‘face twice the risk of nut allergy’ than those from poor families‘ says the Daily Mail. Scottish and Dutch researchers found that ‘poorer children may be protected in some way from developing’ nut allergies. The newspaper analyses these results; ‘some experts also think that an excessively clean lifestyle linked to rising levels of affluence is driving the rise in allergies and asthma because it fails to wake up the immune system.’

The Guardian has the glorious news that scientists at Oxford University have ‘successfully tested a universal flu vaccine that could work against all known strains of the illness.’ The ‘revolutionary treatment’ targets a potein common in all flu strains.

How many of you dear Daily digest readers have wood burning stoves?

Research from Swedish scientists, reported in the Daily Telegraph, has found that ‘the particles that come from wood smoke can certainly cause fatal heart or lung disease.’ Airborne specks in the smoke, called ‘particulate matter’, are a silent killer because the specks are ‘small enough to be inhaled into the deepest parts of the lungs.’ They claim breathing in this smoke is akin to ‘inhaling emissions from car exhausts and power plants.’

Before you are engulfed in a cloud of smoke over this news, The Metro informs us that ‘chocolate is ‘as good for you as fruit’. Research (for a ‘leading sweet manufacturer’) has found ‘dark chocolate and cocoa had more cancer-busting antioxidant activity and more flavanols than fruit.’

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

Daily Digest – 07 Feb 2011