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Wellcome science book prize goes to story of a heart transplant

May 2nd, 2017 by

Maylis de Kerangal’s Mend the Living, which tracks the journey of a heart from donor to recipient, is only the second novel to take the £30,000 award

A novel that “illustrates what it is to be human” has become the first translated book to win the Wellcome prize for science writing.

Maylis de Kerangal’s Mend the Living, which tracks the journey of a heart from donor to recipient over 24 hours, is only the second novel ever to scoop the £30,000 prize, which is awarded to a work of fiction or nonfiction that engages with health and medicine.

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Prince William: suicide callout shed light on men’s mental health

May 2nd, 2017 by

Duke of Cambridge says dealing with male suicides in his work as an air ambulance pilot helped him understand scale of issue

The Duke of Cambridge has spoken of his shock at being called out to his first suicide as an air ambulance pilot in a joint interview with his brother, Prince Harry, on tackling masculinity and mental health issues.

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Problem gambling ‘takes a £30bn toll on nation’s happiness’, says study

May 2nd, 2017 by

Survey identifies lower levels of wellbeing experienced by problem gamblers in the UK, who number as many as a third of a million people

Can you put a price on misery? When it comes to problem gambling the answer, apparently, is yes.

A team of economists has calculated that if the UK’s hundreds of thousands of problem gamblers were to be cured of their addictions, the boost to the nation’s collective happiness would be equivalent to a £30bn windfall.

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Michigan doctor charged with carrying out female genital mutilation

May 2nd, 2017 by

Jumana Nagarwala is accused of performing FGM on girls aged between six and eight for the past 12 years from a medical office in the Detroit suburb of Livonia

A doctor in Michigan has been charged with carrying out female genital mutilation on young girls, in what is thought to be the first prosecution of its kind in the US.

Jumana Nagarwala, an emergency room physician in Detroit, is accused of performing the procedure on girls aged between six and eight and then lying to investigators when confronted.

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Jeremy Hunt orders investigation into baby deaths at NHS trust

May 2nd, 2017 by

Health secretary asks NHS England to look into cluster of deaths at Shrewsbury and Telford trust that were deemed avoidable

The health secretary has ordered an investigation into the deaths of a number of babies at an NHS trust in the Midlands, after seven of them were judged to have been avoidable.

Jeremy Hunt made the move after bereaved families and the local coroner criticised the quality and safety of maternity care at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS trust. He has asked NHS England and NHS Improvement to look into an undisclosed number of deaths at the trust in recent years, amid concern that some were not properly investigated at the time.

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Is running the best exercise?

May 2nd, 2017 by

Running is cheap, easy and reduces the risk of heart disease and early deaths. But do the health benefits outweigh those from other activities, such as walking, cycling or swimming?

According to a review of evidence in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Disease, runners live three years longer than non-runners. You don’t even have to run fast, or for long, to see a benefit. You can drink, smoke, be overweight and still reduce your risk of dying early by running – by between 25% and 40%. The authors of the review say that no other exercise has such an impact – an hour of running will, statistically speaking, increase your life expectancy by seven hours. While running regularly can’t make you immortal, the review says it is more effective at prolonging life than walking, cycling or swimming. Two of the authors of the review were also involved in a study published in 2014 that found a mere five to 10 minutes a day of running, at less than six miles an hour, reduced the risk of heart disease and early deaths from all causes. This is considerably less effort than government recommendations of 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week – which most people ignore.

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Is yo-yo dieting bad for you?

May 2nd, 2017 by

It’s estimated that a quarter of us are always trying to lose weight, and it’s commonly thought that stopping and starting diets causes problems. But what is the truth?

Trying to lose weight is like giving up smoking: you try, you fail, you try again. But yo-yo dieting has been thought to cause problems. Weight cycling – defined as losing and regaining at least 5lb-10lb per cycle – has been linked to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and even cancer. Some research suggests that it can actually increase the proportion of fat, especially around the waist. It has also been accused of slowing the metabolism, making it harder to lose weight in the future. Surveys estimate that 25% of men and 27% of women are always trying to lose weight.

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Should I ask for a second opinion?

May 2nd, 2017 by

New research has shown that more than a fifth of patients who do ask for one discover that their first diagnosis was incorrect

How do you know your doctor has made the right diagnosis? According to new research, more than 20% of patients sent for a second opinion will indeed have had an incorrect first diagnosis. And if this study, in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, sounds scary, then it only echoes a report in 2015 from the National Academy of Medicine in the US saying that most people will have at least one incorrect or late diagnosis.

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How long should you stay on antidepressants?

May 2nd, 2017 by

As many as 5.4 million people in the UK may be taking pills to help with anxiety and depression, but does that mean they are hooked?

According to reports last week, hundreds of thousands of people are hooked on prescription drugs for not only depression but also pain and anxiety. The Daily Mail quoted a recent report from the all party parliamentary group for prescribed drug dependence, saying that in 2013 about 11% of women and 6% of men were on antidepressants – 5.4 million people nationally.

But are they really hooked? The Royal College of Psychiatry says that antidepressants are not addictive, on the grounds that you do not have to increase your dose to get the same effect or get cravings when you stop the drug. But the college’s own survey of 817 people found that 63% had withdrawal symptoms after stopping antidepressants – mostly they were on SSRIs (the most commonly prescribed antidepressants).

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Young people and mental health: ‘Since diagnosis, I have taken massive strides’

Apr 2nd, 2017 by

As part of the MQ Speak your Mind series, younger readers who have experienced mental health problems share their stories in the hope they will raise awareness and change attitudes

Holly, 22, Sydney, Australia
I have suffered from depression and suicidal ideation since I was about 12. If my parents did not have private healthcare, I would probably be dead.

Vulnerable young people shouldn’t have to wait for months to see a psychiatrist, or to compensate for the lack of communication between specialists. Help-seeking behaviour should be supported and encouraged.

Related: Experiences of eating disorders: ‘I’ve been to many dark places’

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