By Laura Passi
Our roundup of health news headlines on Friday 29 October.
Good news for men today as they gain an extra three years to their lifespan. The Daily Telegraph reports that ‘life expectancy for men increased by almost three years in the last decade to close the gender gap with women, Government figures show.’ Men born between 2007 and 2009 can expect to live to 78, while women born in the same period are likely to live to 82.
Sorry, did I say good news? Not so fast.
Before you celebrate your extended lives; think of the consequences, highlighted by the Times today in a story headlined ‘NHS under pressure as the number of elderly patients rises’. According to annual figures from the NHS Information Centre ‘the over-75s accounted for almost four million hospital stays last year – two-thirds more than a decade ago.’
But it’s not just old people applying the pressure – ‘the nation’s battles with obesity and alcohol are also reflected’, we’re told. Or, as the Daily Mail delicately puts it, ‘Booze puts one Briton in hospital every seven minutes‘
Talk about kill-joys.
We come now to our favourite annual debate, British Summer Time vs The Other Time. It’s covered by most newspapers today, but the Independent presents a tempting argument with: ‘More daylight would make UK healthier‘
The paper reports: ‘Dr Mayer Hillman, of the Policy Studies Institute, said many chronic illnesses were caused by a lack of physical exertion. An extra hour of daylight would benefit children and the elderly by giving them more leisure time.’
And finally, the Guardian claims that liberal-minded actions could be influenced by a gene. As they put it: ‘Ever wondered why you have a hankering to drive a Prius and drink lattes? Or why you read the Guardian and scrupulously put it in the recycling? There might be a gene for that – with a little help from your friends.’
Researchers at the University of California and Harvard University have identified a gene, ‘a variant of a dopamine receptor known as DRD4, linked to novelty-seeking’ which when combined with a wide circle of friends during your upbringing could apparently make you more open-minded and with liberal political persuasions.
Spotted a story we’ve missed? Let us know, and we’ll update the digest throughout the day…