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Promising treatment for ovarian cancer, the post-IVF abortions, and paying patients Pounds for Pounds

By Steve Nowottny

Our roundup of health news headlines on Monday 7 June.

The Times (now locked behind an apparently occasional paywall, so you may or may not be able to actually read it unless you pay for it), is one of several papers to report ‘the first promising treatment for ovarian cancer for almost 20 years'. According to results released at the American Soceity for Clinical Oncology annual conference in Chicago, taking bevacizumab (Avastin) in combination with standard chemotherapy can offer patients an extra four to six months of life.

The Daily Telegraph reports figures revealed under the Freedom of Information Act which show that on average 80 abortions a year are carried out in England and Wales on women who have undergone IVF treatment.

According to the paper, ‘around half of the abortions are carried out for women aged between 18 and 34, who are less likely to suffer complications in their pregnancies or conceive babies with abnormalities, raising the question that they may have had abortions for 'social reasons'.'

The Daily Mail covers research confirming what parents have always known – ‘How a strict (and early) bedtime makes a brighter child'.

An analysis of 8,000 youngsters by SRI International, an independent research institute in California, found that those had regular bedtimes were better at languages, reading and maths than those who did not.

Also in the Mail, we're told a cure for rheumatoid arthritis is a ‘step nearer' after researchers in Portugal identified an antibody which treats the cause of the pain rather than just the symptoms.

And finally, what's the best way to get patient to lose weight? Simple – pay ‘em.

That's according to Winton Rossiter, the founder of the controversial Pounds for Pounds scheme, who's quoted in the Telegraph as saying that dieters who were paid to lose weight in a scheme sponsored by NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent lost twice as much weight as those who were not being paid.

The PCT itself has a more cautious reaction to the results among the 402 patients it paid for, warning ‘there were high dropout rates and so it is very difficult to interpret the results to show how successful this would be across our population.'

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

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