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NHS needs a funding boost, gene therapy successful in cystic fibrosis, and stressed traders could boost stock volatility

The NHS needs a funding boost this year to prevent patient care deteriorating, as research from the King’s Fund think-tank found that nine out of ten hospitals are now predicting a year end deficit.

The Independent reports that NHS providers could go £2bn into the red, a significant blow to the Government ahead of next week’s Budget, and their pre-election pledges to increase funding to £8bn and deliver seven-day services.

Responding to the King’s Fund report, a Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘Hospitals must now put in place the sort of cost-control measures that the Government has highlighted over the last few weeks, like clamping down on rip-off staffing agencies and expensive management consultants.’

A potential breakthrough for cystic fibrosis sufferers as a year-long trial published in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine Journal shows that gene therapy can help some sufferers effective in treating the faulty CFTR gene that causes the condition.

The Guardian reports that although beneficial the results from the original trial were ‘small and variable’ researchers from Oxford university and Imperial College London have demonstrated that gene therapy can be successful and hope to refine the technique, with treatments potentially available by 2020.

A trial of 136 patients, aged 12 and over, showed better lung function in most of those given gene therapy. ‘It is the world’s first demonstration that repeated gene therapy can improve lung function,’ said Professor Eric Alton of Imperial.

And finally, the BBC reports that stressful working environments for stock traders and a subsequent increase in hormones like cortisol or testosterone could be linked to risky decision making and market instability.

It said 74 male volunteers played a simulated stock market game, after receiving either cortisol or testosterone, or a placebo, those in the cortisol group made riskier investments, and testosterone was linked to an increased feeling of success.

Prof Ashley Grossman, professor of endocrinology at the University of Oxford, said: ‘With massive market volatility forecast over Greece and its debt repayments, or their lack, it’s important to know just how much impact hormones have on traders’ decisions.’