This site is intended for health professionals only

Once a lifetime flu jab; Blood test to predict heart failure and why larger people are better at sniffing out food

By Ian Quinn

Our roundup of health news headlines on Tuesday 16 November.

The search for the holy grail features in the headlines from today’s papers and it’s not Indiana, but researchers from Maryland, who appear to be closing in on the prize.

The discovery in question is a flu jab that could be given once a lifetime, which researchers claim could be available within five years.

Unlike the current vaccine, says the Daily Mail, it would fight off all strains of the winter flu that leaves millions feeling miserable, and deadly pandemic viruses such as, eh, not swine flu but others that might come one day.

Those clever cookies from Maryland are also behind a blood test that can predict heart failure up to 15 years in advance, which makes the front page of the Telegraph.

Until now no blood test has been able to give an indication of a person’s risk of heart failure but the paper says researchers have identified an easily-measurable protein in the blood that appears to be a key long-term predictor of heart failure risk.

On the subject of heart attacks-and cookies-the Mail also reports that fat people have a better sense of smell than others – but only when it comes to sniffing out food.

A study looking at weight gain and sense of smell found that when it comes to everyday scents, those who are overweight have less sensitive noses than their leaner friends.

But when it comes to food odours they have an extra-keen sense of smell, which makes it harder for them to say ‘No’.

The Mail also wins Pulse staff a private bet by reporting prominently on claims by scientists that women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have children who become career criminals, which makes the discovery of the holy grail and the rise of the miracle blood test seem like dead certs in comparison.

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

Daily Digest – 16 Nov 2010