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Vive la stroke prevention revolution and why calorie counters should head to Wetherspoons

A round-up of the health news in the papers on Thursday 15 March

After yesterday's glut of health news, pickings are slim today as the papers focus on David Cameron's American jaunt, Syria and Camilla Parker-Bowles' gripping day at the races.

The only real health news comes from the Daily Mail which reports that stroke prevention is set to be revolutionised. NICE has given the go-ahead to a blood-thinning drug which is the first anti-clotting agent to be developed in nearly 60 years and could replace Warfarin as the most commonly used therapy for strokes.

The paper reports that Pradaxa could become available to almost a million patients with irregular heartbeats and could prevent 5,000 strokes a year. It says Warfarin is 'a high-maintenance drug which requires the patients to have regular blood tests and limits their diet,' while Pradaxa users, however, ‘can eat what they like' and a higher daily dose of 300mg is almost a third more effective at reducing the risk of stroke. The drug costs £2.50 a day as opposed to warfarin's £1 but NICE, ignoring NHS managers' warnings that it could ‘bust their budgets', has deemed Pradaxa cost-effective.

The Independent offers us another health-related morsel, reporting that the Government's attempts to tackle the obesity crisis are ‘doomed'. This is according to the consumer watchdog Which? who has warned that the tactic of asking food companies to commit to health eating pledges is ‘inadequate' and lacks ‘real leadership'.

Which? found that only two of the nation's top 10 restaurants and pub groups (Harvester and Wetherspoons) have agreed to provide calorie information for their meals. Executive director of Which? Richard Lloyd thinks that this isn't good enough, he said: ‘If food companies don't agree to help people eat more healthily, then we must see legislation to force them to do so.'

The alternative, which perhaps he hasn't considered, is that perhaps every calorie-conscious food connoisseur should frequent only Harvesters and Wetherspoons...?