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Ibuprofen ‘miracle cure’ for Parkinson’s, NHS ageism and the life-shortening threat of diabetes

By Alisdair Stirling

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Thursday 3 March.

The Guardian is among the papers reporting that common, garden-variety ibuprofen could stave off Parkinson´s disease.

People who took the painkiller and anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen at least twice a week had a 38% lower risk of developing the condition than those who used other painkillers, such as aspirin, scientists said.

The findings, based on a review of 136,000 patient records, and published in Neurology was carried out by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health. An accompanying editorial said the study did not mean people should start taking ibuprofen to protect against Parkinson's, highlighting the long-term health risks from taking the drug, including a higher risk of intestinal bleeding.

Hospital specialists are failing to see elderly patients as individuals and are too ready to make 'scandalous' snap judgments on the basis of age, according to Paul Burstow, the care services minister.

He tells the Daily Telegraph in an interview that health and social care systems will be forced to comply with new rules outlawing age discrimination, which are expected to come into force next year. Mr Burstow stresses that the Department of Health would not be seeking any exceptions from the new equality laws.

However, the age of patients could be 'legitimate criteria for treatment', such as with vaccinations and potentially cancer screening, he says.

The Daily Mail reports that type 2 diabetes in middle age can reduce you life by six years.

For the first time, a study has calculated the reduction in life expectancy from having type 2 diabetes, which the paper links with being overweight in middle age.

Scientists from the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration – coordinated by the University of Cambridge – analysed data on 820,900 people, each of whom was monitored for about a decade.

Even after accounting for other risk factors such as age, sex, obesity and smoking, the researchers found people with diabetes were at increased risk of death from several common cancers, infections, mental disorders, and liver, digestive, kidney and lung diseases.

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

Daily digest

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