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Lansley ‘expected to bow to MP concerns’; warfarin replacement expected and why becoming a Mormon will improve your health

By Christian Duffin

Our round-up of the health headlines on Tuesday 5 April.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley hogs the headlines today as newspapers claim that his plans for GP commissioning in the Health and Social Care Bill may be subject to fundamental change. Several papers report that Mr Lansley is likely to agree to the House of Commons Health Committee demands that nurses, hospital doctors and local councils should have commissioning powers as well as GPs.

The Guardian quotes a Whitehall source as saying: ‘Some of the ideas suggested by the committee are in sync with the Government's thinking on how, for example, others might be involved in the GP consortiums.'

The Times reports that Mr Lansley will ‘pause, listen and engage' with opponents, although ‘no substantial changes in direction are expected' the bill will be back in the commons for consideration ‘by the middle of June.' (paywall)

A blood-thinning pill capable of cutting the risk of stroke by a third for people with atrial fibrillation will become available later this year, says the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.

The newspaper describes research by Missouri University in the United States, where the effectiveness of the drug, Pradaxa, was compared to that of warfarin. Professor Martin Cowie, a consultant cardiologist at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London said that the drug was likely to be approved for patients with atrial fibrillation by the European Medicines Agency ‘within the next couple of months'. Daily Mail said the new drug would help 1.2 million Britons, because some foods such as broccoli and spinach stop warfarin working, while others such as cranberries, make it more potent.

Becoming a Mormon may help you cut your chances of getting heart disease and diabetes, reports the Daily Mail. More specifically, it is the Mormon practice of fasting for at least one day a month that does the trick.

The newspaper tells of researchers studying 200 residents in Utah, where it emerged that clogged arteries affected 63% of those who said they regularly skipped meals. The figure for those who didn't fast was 75%. Nutritionist Dr Emma Williams told the newspaper: ‘I wouldn't be in a hurry to commence fasting, as the precise nature by which the body reacts to it remains relatively unknown.'

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

Daily Digest