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Teenagers cut down on the Buckfast, and other health news

Our round-up of the health headlines on Friday 29 July.

Patients are waiting for up to four months for surgery as NHS managers extend waiting lists to save money, It was claimed yesterday. The report by the Co-Operation and Competition Panel claims the practice is ‘endemic’ in some parts of England.   

Flu could soon be a thing of the past according to the Mail, as scientists have discovered a ‘super-antibody’ that protects against all strains of the virus. The antibody could be used to protect pregnant women and the elderly from becoming seriously ill by the virus. It could also be given to people in intensive care to speed up their recovery.

Those halcyon early days of swigging Buckfast on a street corner to could be over as a report says more teens are cutting down drinking, smoking and drug taking. The report by the NHS Information Centre shows a downward trend which shows a continued decrease since 2003. The news will be good news for NHS managers battling to save money because underage drinking costs the NHS millions a year to treat.

A ridiculous story in the Independent today says readers of the British Medical Journal think making cycling helmets compulsory to wear on the road does more bad than good. The journals readers say making people wear helmets will put them off cycling which carries better health rewards than not cycling at all. 68% of the 1,427 polled said there should be no law to wear them.

The Independent also reports today breast cancer screening has had limited success in lowering the death rate. The British Medical Journal compared three pairs of countries who introduced screening between 10 and 15 years apart. The study revealed the countries had similar death rates even though even though there was a gap in the time each county started screening.      

Scary times to be a scientists as researchers looking for news ways to treat ME have told how they receive death threats from sufferers. They say they are receiving the threats after claiming ME could have a mental explanation. The Telegraph reports the sufferers fear this is an attempt to downplay the seriousness of the syndrome, which leaves many sufferers spending most of the day in bed with extreme tiredness.     

NHS spending on anti-obesity drugs has rocketed in the past decade according to the NHS Information Centre. In 2009, £6.6 million was spent on drugs to tackle obesity has risen to £46.8 million by 2009. The Telegraph reports 1.45 million prescriptions were written for the drugs in 2009 compared with only 157,000 in 2000.