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NHS IT ‘putting patients at risk’, risk of cancer mortality 70% higher in men – and why flies won’t settle on a Happy Meal

By Nigel Praities

Our roundup of the news headlines on Friday 19 March.

A leaked report shows the NHS IT programme is ‘unreliable and could put patients at risk', says a report in The Times.

The newspaper reports that researchers for the Department of Health have shown that electronic patient records are ‘riddled with errors' and fails to include vital information, such as allergies or adverse reactions to drugs.

The Independent has a front page story once again questioning the financial links between scientists and the pharmaceutical industry.

The report comes after an article in the British Medical Journal showed 28% of scientists who opposed the use of ‘danger drug' rosaglitazone received funding from GSK, compared with 94% of those who supported it.

The Daily Mail claims that unhealthy lifestyles and a ‘stiff upper lip' mean that the risk of death from cancer is 70% higher in men. Research published in the journal European Urology found men's reluctance to visit a GP was a major reason for the higher risk after an analysis of cancer records.

A link between loneliness and high blood pressure is revealed today. In the first study of its kind, US researchers have demonstrated lonely people had blood pressures 14.4 mmHg higher than their ‘most socially contented counterparts' over the four-year study period.

The Daily Mail has a frightening demonstration of the ‘power of preservatives'. An American nutritionist, Joann Bruso, photographed a McDonald's happy meal and left it for 12 months. She found the meal looked almost identical after a year – follow the link for the disturbing pictures.

Ms Bruso said: 'I had the windows open many times, but flies and other insects just ignored the Happy Meal. What does that tell you?' Perhaps that she should have gone for for the Fillet-o-Fish?

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

Daily Digest - 19 March 2010