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The leukemia drug that combats MS, Government U-turn on abortion, and why lack of sleep could make you fat



University of Cambridge researchers have discovered that a new leukaemia drug is the most effective treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.

The study, published in the Lancet, found that that alemtuzumab, which wipes out and resets the immune system, had better results in treating MS than first-choice drug, interferon beta-1a, the BBC reports.

In leukaemia patients, the drug controls the excess production of white blood cells, whereas in MS patients, it eliminates the immune cells entirely, forcing a new immune system to be built.

Dr Alasdair Coles, from the University of Cambridge, said: “Although other MS drugs have emerged over the last year, which is certainly good news for patients, none has shown superior effects on disability when compared to interferon except alemtuzumab.

“No other treatment has led to improvements in disability.”

Elsewhere, in the Telegraph, a study has claimed that a lack of sleep can contribute to obesity.

The research, conducted on 27 volunteers and published in the journal Sleep, found that a lack of sleep increases men’s appetite and prevented women from feeling full after a meal.

The researchers measured hormone levels in the blood taken from the volunteers after sleeping for four hours and for nine hours. It showed that short sleep increased total ghrelin levels in men but not women and reduced GLP-1 levels in women but not in men, a sex difference that has not been reported before.

Finally, the Government has said it no longer plans to undertake its own consultation on abortion counselling, the BBC reports.

Health minister Anna Soubry told MPs the government “did not intend to change either the law or the guidelines”.

Anti-abortion campaigners want counselling to be provided by someone, such as a GP, who is separate from the abortion clinic, which is where counselling is currently undertaken.