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Minimum alcohol pricing, osteoporosis drug ‘cancer risk’ and Legionella longbeachae

By Laura Passi

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Friday 3 September.

According to the Metro this morning, ‘Binge-happy Britons start to sober up'. It is reported that whilte hospitals are treating more cases of liver disease and alcohol-related injuries, last year saw the biggest fall in drinking since 1948.

This is just as well really, especially if you live in Scotland, because formal plans were unveiled yesterday to fix the minimum price for all alcoholic drinks at 45p per unit. The Guardian reports that this will not be extended across the UK any time soon because the Department of Health does not think national minimum pricing is the best way to tackle the problem - the BMA, however, does not agree.

'Osteoporosis drug may double cancer risk for thousands ', warns the Daily Mail today. The results of the research published in the BMJ is also reported in The Telegraph and the Guardian, whose line is vaguely more reassuring:‘Typically, oesophageal cancer develops in one per 1,000 people aged 60 to 79 over five years. Use of oral bisphosphonates over five years would push this up to two cases per 1,000 people.'

Researchers from Newcastle University may have found the reason why women become less fertile and why birth defects rise with age. The Independent reports their findings today - they conclude it could be down to a decrease in the amount of proteins called cohesians which act like glue to hold chromosomes together.

Finally, if you were thinking about enjoying this weekend by doing a spot of gardening, then think again... The Times reports a warning from the Royal Horticultural Society about the risk of contracting legionnaires' disease from handling compost. It comes after a gardener was ‘struck down' by the disease caused by the rarer of the Legionella bacterium, Legionella longbeachae (first discovered in Long Beach, California, couldn't you tell by the name?) which lives in soil.

The man in question was fine, however - and to put a bit of perspective on the warning, it's worth noting he was only the ninth person to be infected by L. londbeachae in the UK since 1984!

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

Daily digest