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The future of medicine; papaya power and how foetuses catch the latest flick

By Lilian Anekwe

Our roundup of the news headlines on Thursday 11 March.

The Daily Digest. Bringing you the future of medicine, today! The Independent is far too high brow to use such a corny intro, but here at DD, we've don't have any such highfaluting journalistic standards. To infinity, and beyond!

But The Independent's story does claim that ‘The future of medicine has arrived', in the shape of the first complete sequencing of a patient's genome.

In true pioneering spirit, a Texan doctor sequenced his own genome to find the cause of his rare inherited condition: please dig out your medical school lecture notes and look up Charcot-Marie-tooth syndrome, and send in your answers on a postcard please.

I was thrilled to learn from the Daily Telegraph that papaya, which ranks in my top five favourite fruits ever, is a bad-ass super fruit that can kick cancer's butt.

But I was dismayed to learn that if I went to church to pray that my other favourite fruits will be found to have magical medical properties, I may be being poisoned by incense containing ‘high levels of potentially cancer-causing chemicals'. Lord help me.

The Daily Mail is terribly excited about a new cholesterol-busting drug that could save hundreds of thousands of lives every year, but in the column right next to it warns that hundreds of thousands of people taking bisphosphonates for osteoporosis could actually be making their bones weaker. So net effect: more people able to run around with healthy hearts, but equally likely to fall over and break bones.

We've been warning you for, I don't know, several years, but today's the day the nationals woke up to the fact there is a scary huge mega database of patient records out there that could be hacked into and used to give you viruses and control your thoughts via your iPod and turn your fridge into a Transformer. Or something.

At any rate, patient records are being put on the controversial NHS online database without their consent, the Daily Mail says. And the Daily Telegraph, whispering conspiratorially, say the Government was warned two years ago that patients didn't know how to opt out.

In case you didn't get the memo, The Times politely reminds you that you're not getting a pay rise this year and have to save 1% on your expenses.

Lastly a story for my kindred female movie buffs to take note of. Scientists have discovered that unborn babies respond to their mother's mood while she is watching movies and become excited during happy scenes and quiet and still during when she gets the weepies.

Japanese researchers asked 24 pregnant women to watch a clip of The Sound of Music and the 1979 Franco Zeffirelli film The Champ. The foetuses apparently threw their arms around when their mother watched Julie Andrews singing in the field but became subdued during a clip of a boy crying at the death of his father.

Daily Digest