This site is intended for health professionals only

Heart-shrinking drugs, iodine deficiencies and Lansley’s warning on NHS reforms

Our round-up of the health news headlines on Tuesday 2 June.

Most of us will face a broken heart at least once in our lives, but for those who literally suffer from this condition there's good news today, courtesy of The Daily Mail.

Experiments by the University of Texas's Southwestern heart centre have discover that a medicine used in cancer treatment shrinks enlarged and diseased hearts back to near normal size, allowing them to function properly again. The medicine, which belongs to a family of drugs called histone deacetylases, will soon be given to heart patients for the first time. According to Professor Peter Weissberg from the British Heart Foundation, getting over a heart attack could be made 'as simple as getting over a broken leg'.

The Independent reports that women are putting their unborn children at risk by growing up iodine deficient. Seven out of 10 teenage girls were lacking the mineral, essential for the neurological development of the foetus, according to a Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust study.

American endocrinology expert Elizabeth Pearce said it was 'unconscionable' that Britain should be iodine deficient in this day and age. She called for all salt sold here to be iodised in line with other countries, according to comments in The Lancet reported by the paper.

And surprise, surprise - Andrew Lansley is front-page again. According to Today's Daily Telegraph splash, he warns that the NHS is facing a £20 billion-a-year funding black hole which only the coalition Government's reforms can fix. 'I will not leave the NHS to neglect,' the health secretary writes in the paper.

Lansley says if the pressures facing the NHS are ignored, a 'comprehensive health service, available to all, free at the point of use and based on the need and not the ability to pay' will be threatened.

The care home saga involving Southern Cross Healthcare also takes up pages of news coverage today, with all the nationals reporting on it, and the revelations of abuse of patients with learning disabilities at a residential hospital.

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

Daily Digest