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GPs told to stop ‘chemical cosh’, teens hate greens and scientists fear for ‘Planet of the Apes’ future

Our round-up of the health headlines on Friday 22 July.

GPs have been urged to stop prescribing ‘chemical cosh’ drugs to 180,000 dementia sufferers after fears they are responsible for 1,800 deaths a year. The Mail reports the drugs with dangerous side-effects, could be responsible for unnecessary deaths and GPs should review every patient they prescribe them to.

Shock horror, British teenagers being told they don’t eat enough fruit and veg, thank the Telegraph for that ground-breaking discovery. Only one in 13 girls consume the recommended five-a-day while one in eight boys eat their dose of fruit and veg. Medical experts warn that not eating enough nutritious food in your younger years will lead to poor health later in life.

Parents could soon be able to find out if their new born baby will be a genius or the school dunce. A study of 877,000 Swedish teenagers compared their exam results with their Apgar scores at birth. The Apgar scores rates a new born baby’s health from one to ten and by how much medical attention it needs after birth. The research reveals an Apgar test lower than seven leads to a lower success rate in exam results.

Ever thought a planet of the apes could become a reality? Well you are not crazy, because a group of leading experts have spoken out about the danger of humanising animals. The almost fantasy sounding story in the Telegraph reveals the concern experts have with raising animals with human-like characteristics, such as speech. Research involving great apes and chimps is banned in the UK but goes on in the US. Just watch your back next time you are at the zoo.

A woman has died and 150 are feared to have been infected with Hepatitis B after contaminated surgical equipment was used at a hospital in Swansea. Officials at the hospital have admitted more people could be infected with the disease. The patients thought to have been infected are those who underwent heart surgery over a five-week period in March.

Five people have now died of suspected saline poisoning at a hospital in Stockport. Detectives are continuing to question 27-year-old nurse Rebecca Leighton who was arrested on Wednesday. No charges have been brought against the nurse yet and detectives have been given until Friday to question the suspect.

The Europeans Medical Agency has issued a warning over a vaccine for swine flu and a rare form of narcolepsy. Over six million people have been given the vaccine in the UK so far and ten cases of the illness have been reported to the UK drugs regulator. The vaccine should only be given to people if alternatives are unavailable.

The NHS continues to be attacked today, no surprise from Westminster as MPs accuse it of using a gagging order to stop patients discovering they were operated on by an untrained surgeon. Up to 100 women were operated on by the cancer surgeon at a Swansea hospital. The trust has spent over £300,000 of taxpayer money obtaining an injunction to stop a junior doctor revealing the information to patients. The trust claims it only took the gagging order out to protect patient’s confidentiality.