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Lansley snubs nurses; rise in antidepressants and coming off the Crackberry

By Ellie Broughton

Our round-up of the health headlines on Friday 8 April.

It's been a shoddy start for Andrew Lansley's new ‘listening exercise', the Times (paywall) and the Independent revealed, after discovering that the health minister turned down an invitation to the annual Royal College of Nursing conference.

The largest gathering of nurses this year was instead attended by the coalition's most junior health minister. Bernell Busse, director of the RCN London, said that members could ‘draw their own conclusion from his decision not to attend'. The Department of Health told the Times that Lansley was too busy with the listening exercise to, er, listen to nurses.

Alcohol causes one in ten cancers in men according to a new study, The Today programme and the Guardian both reported. The huge pan-European study that surveyed 364,000 people to find links between nutrition and cancer, recommended that a woman should stick to a one drink maximum to avoid the disease.

The Daily Mail picked up on the boom in prescriptions for antidepressants. They also reported the rise in referrals for talking therapies, but highlighted the fact GPs were reluctant to send patients away empty-handed. Brownie point to Emer O'Neill, chief executive of Depression Alliance UK, who said GPs were ‘better at diagnosing it than before, and there is now a better access to treatment than ever', despite the increase in those coming forward for treatment.

On page three, however, the paper focuses on a much more serious mental health issue – 'addiction to gadgets'. A University of Maryland study reported that young people forced to abandon phones, TV and the net for a day reported ‘cold turkey'-type symptoms. GPs are encouraged to remind young people that neither Apples nor Blackberries constitute one of their five-a-Day.

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