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Historic day for healthcare reform, the weight-loss benefits of seaweed and how Clemmie and Tarquin spread swine flu



By Steve Nowottny

Our roundup of news headlines on Monday 22 March.

A crucial vote on the future of healthcare as we know it dominates the headlines across Fleet Street today – but it’s the future of healthcare in America, not the UK.

The Times and Independent both lead on page three with the crucial vote in Congress on Barack Obama’s sweeping healthcare reforms – and while print deadlines mean the newspapers are already sadly out-of-date, the results are now in.

The $940 billion healthcare bill – which will extend healthcare coverage to 32 million people who now lack it – passed by the narrowest of margins, 219 votes to 212. It is, the Times predicts, ‘a vote likely to transform the Obama presidency’.

The Times also reports, along with The Telegraph, new research published today in The Lancet Oncology which concludes that people who contract lung cancer and who have never smoked appear to share a genetic variation that predisposes them to the disease.

The Daily Mail begins the week with every overweight person’s dream headline – ‘Cakes and biscuits could make you LOSE weight… thanks to seaweed’.

The paper reports that ‘Newcastle University experts have discovered that a fibre found in seaweed is more effective than most weight loss supplements in stopping the body from absorbing fat from food – and even enhances flavour’.

And from that, it’s one small step to: ‘Although the research is in the early stages, it raises the tantalising prospect of extra-tasty sweets, pies and buns that actually melt away the pounds.’

Meanwhile over the weekend, a report on the BMA annual conference of public health medicine identifies a novel new risk factor for the spread of pandemic flu – rich public school children.

According to the Telegraph, Professor Lindsay Davies, national director of pandemic influenza preparedness, blamed the rapid spread in the UK at least partially on Clemmie and Tarquin’s simply spiffing hols.

‘Many of the people bringing it back were well off people who had been to fancy places on holiday,’ she said. ‘Many hot spots included public schools.’

And also over the weekend, The Sunday Telegraph reported that the Prince of Wales’ Foundation for Integrated Health may face an investigation from the Charity Commission, after a complaint that it could have breached regulations by pursuing a ‘personal vendetta’ against Professor Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University and, of course, a PulseToday blogger.

An article by Dr Michael Dixon, a trustee of the Foundation for Integrated Health, is also cited in the complaint by anti-monarchy campaign group Republic – never let it be said PulseToday hasn’t got both sides of the debate covered.

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

Daily Digest