Our roundup of the health news headlines on Thursday 8 December.
First, the news that Britain’s first clinic to treat stalkers and persistent sex pests has opened at St Ann’s Hospital in Haringey. Forensic psychiatrist Frank Farnham told The Independent that stalkers come in four categories: the infatuated, the rejected, the incompetent and the predatory.
Fulfilling the last of these two descriptions is the IT contractor hired for the NHS’s national patient database project. An exclusive in The Times [premium content] reveals that the Computer Sciences Corporation expects to be paid a further £2 billion, even though the UK Government has already announced that it will pull the plug on the failed project.
Never mind, doctors can always be relied on to foot the bill. The Times also reports that NHS staff earning under £26,500 will be spared any increase in pension contributions next year. Doctors’ 8.5% contributions are already due to rise to 14.5% by 2014, but may increase more to pay for concessions for the low paid.
Politicians have not eroded their own pensions yet, and may be reassured to learn that they are likely to live to enjoy them. Becoming elected President of the United States can actually prolong your life, despite the pressures of the job, according to an American study quoted in The Independent.
The Catholic Church won’t like this, but nuns should be given the option of taking the contraceptive pill because childlessness puts them at a higher risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer, says The Guardian, quoting a report in The Lancet. The pill gives women some protection against cancers, but the church has an issue with them being protected against pregnancy and STDs.
We all know that yawning is contagious, but its more likely to be mirrored by members of your own family, according to a new study from the journal PLoS ONE, quoted in the Daily Telegraph. Researchers found that half of the yawns by a relative are contagious, compared with a quarter of those between friends and less than a tenth between strangers.
Finally, a cautionary tale from Birstall, Leicestershire, where grandmother Barbara Reynolds died after taking a bath while wearing an analgesic patch. The heat triggered an overdose of Fentanyl, causing cardiac arrest, says a report of the inquest in the Daily Mail.