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Simpler drug labels, home-grown brain cells and Facebook diagnosis

By Alisdair Stirling

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Friday 4 March.

Warning labels on medicines should be simplified because words such as 'drowsiness' and 'avoid' are too confusing for modern patients, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Research carried out at the University of Leeds on behalf of the British National Formulary team tested a selection of instructions on almost 200 people aged 20 to 80. The researchers reworded phrases that people found confusing, and then retested them in several sittings, including one-to-one interviews.

They concluded that an instruction such such as 'do not stop taking this medicine except on your doctor's advice', should be changed to 'warning: Do not stop taking this medicine unless your doctor tells you to stop.'

The Guardian hails the prospect of limitless supplies of the brain cell linked to memory loss in Alzheimers disease.

Researchers in the US made batches of brain neurons by adding chemical growth factors to human embryonic stem cells. The technique allows scientists to grow an almost limitless supply of the brain cells, the paper says.

The technique, unveiled in the journal Stem Cells, could speed up the search for drugs and lead to new treatments for the disease, the Guardian says.

The Daily Mail tells the story of a four-year boy diagnosed with leukaemia after his father posted his picture on the social networking website Facebook.

Ted Rice, an anaesthetic assistant noticed a rash on his son's face, took a picture of it with his mobile phone and sent it via Facebook to Dr Sara Barton, a colleague at Salford Royal Hospital, according to the paper.

After asking a few questions, Dr Barton diagnosed the rash as a symptom of acute lymphotic leukaemia. The diagnosis was confirmed hours later at the hospital, the Mail says.

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

Daily digest