By Lilian Anekwe
Our roundup of health news headlines on Thursday 23 December.
Yes, today's round-up is tinged with sadness, and should be read to a melancholy soundtrack, but it will be back next year – though if you ask me, Daily Digest 2011 just doesn't have the same ring to it.
I'll leave you with the best offerings from today's national health stories. All of them, perhaps mindful of the significance of the day, filled with high drama.
Thousands of people left blind or with impaired vision could have their sight ‘dramatically' restored, The Times says. I'm not sure there is any other way of restoring sight other than dramatically – but for all our sakes, I hope the day comes when making the blind see becomes so unremarkable it doesn't even warrant a mention in the Daily Digest
Front page headlines in huge bold typeface are inherently dramatic, so today's Daily Mail splash – that NHS Direct is at breaking point – should cause us all to gasp and throw our hands up in horror.
Not least Daily Mail readers, who are told that GPs (boo!) that have been parachuted in to the ‘worst affected areas' – really only Leicester – are raking in up to £188 an hour to help! Hiss!
Staying on the theme of pantomime villains, cuddly care minister Paul Burstow has stuck the knife into David Cameron, secretly recorded by The Daily Telegraph saying: ‘I don't want you to trust David Cameron… in the sense that you believe he's suddenly become a cuddly Liberal. He hasn't.'
The Daily Telegraph also says placebo pills work even when patients know they are just dummy pills - suggesting ‘the mind has its own healing powers.'
Finnish people have never been known for high drama – not like your Spanish, say – but apparently beware: they have violent genes, The Times says. Nothing racist, is based on science and stuff.
The Daily Mail reports gleefully that NICE has been stripped of its role as the ‘nation's lifestyle nanny' and told to ‘dramatically' scale back its work on public health guidance – including injury prevention and policies for smoke-free cars and homes.
Eco-bulbs are a health hazard for babies and pregnant women, according to new nannying advice from the Daily Mail. They can leak mercury if you drop them, give you a nasty gash if you cut yourself on a broken shard, and give you sunspots if you look out them for too long. I mean really, Daily Mail, this is just getting silly.
Other dramatic threats to life and limb in today's Daily Mail: nagging partners could raise your risk of angina and complementary medicines could kill children.
I'm relieved to have gotten through that without learning chocolate oranges will kill me, as I have one on my desk I shall eat in honour of the season. Merry Christmas!
Spotted a story we've missed? Let us know, and we'll update the digest throughout the day...Daily Digest