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Yorkshire Dales’ Craven district is happiest in UK, ONS survey finds

Oct 2nd, 2017 by

Annual study of the nation’s wellbeing also finds residents of Hertsmere in Hertfordshire are Britain’s unhappiest

The inhabitants of Craven, a district in the southern Yorkshire Dales, are the happiest in the country, according to official statistics.

At the other end of the scale, the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) annual study of the nation’s happiness and wellbeing found that residents of Hertsmere borough council, on the northern edge of London’s suburban sprawl, were the unhappiest in Britain in the 12 months to the end of March.

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Get up, stand up: including exercise in everyday life healthier than gym, says study

Oct 2nd, 2017 by

Taking the stairs and getting off the bus a stop early are more likely to protect against heart disease and early death than working out, research shows

Incorporating physical activity into our everyday lives, from taking the stairs to holding “walkaround” meetings in the office, is more likely to protect us from heart disease and an early death than buying a gym membership, according to the author of a major new global study.

The study, published in the Lancet medical journal, found that one in 20 cases of heart disease and one in 12 premature deaths around the globe could be prevented if people were more physically active. It compared 130,000 people in 17 countries, from affluent countries like Canada and Sweden to some of the least affluent, including Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

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Racism label should not deter British police from FGM fight, says officer

Oct 2nd, 2017 by

Safeguarding girls from genital mutilation and avoiding complacency must remain priority, says Operation Limelight leader

Claims of racism over female genital mutilation (FGM) investigations should not be allowed to disrupt a police initiative targeting families coming into the UK from countries where the practice is prevalent, one of the officers leading the project has said.

Insp Allen Davis of the Metropolitan police’s child abuse and sexual offences command is part of Operation Limelight, a team of about 30 police officers, Border Force officials and social workers who meet flights coming in from countries where children might have been taken for FGM over the summer holidays. Among others they focus on flights coming into the UK from Egypt, Nigeria and other African countries including Ethiopia.

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HRT won’t kill you – but menopausal women still face a difficult decision

Oct 2nd, 2017 by

A study this week concluded HRT does not shorten lives – but it still increases the risk of cancer, leaving those suffering symptoms with a tough choice to make

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), possibly the most controversial medicine ever invented, will not kill you. That was the conclusion this week of a big, respectable study in the United States that was one of the first to flag up the risk of breast cancer. Women who took the tablets to alleviate the hot flushes and night sweats that assail them, prevent them sleeping and can make life intolerable were no more likely to be dead 18 years later than women who did not.

That’s good news and it was loudly celebrated. Gynaecologists who have been frustrated and dismayed by the bad press HRT has had, leaving them groping in the dark for something else to give the distressed woman in the consulting room who doesn’t want hormones, said this is proof of its safety. The risks are low. Women must be told about them, but they should not be deterred by any thought that HRT could shorten their life.

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Poor diet is a factor in one in five deaths, global disease study reveals

Oct 2nd, 2017 by

Study compiling data from every country finds people are living longer but millions are eating wrong foods for their health

Poor diet is a factor in one in five deaths around the world, according to the most comprehensive study ever carried out on the subject.

Millions of people are eating the wrong sorts of food for good health. Eating a diet that is low in whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds and fish oils and high in salt raises the risk of an early death, according to the huge and ongoing study Global Burden of Disease.

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HRT will not shorten lives, women told after new research published

Oct 2nd, 2017 by

Follow-up to alarming reports issued at turn of century says women on therapy do not die sooner than those on placebos

Women will be able to take hormone replacement pills without worrying that the therapy will shorten their lifespans, according to the longest follow-up yet of research that raised fears about the risks of a once-popular treatment.

That earlier research was stopped early when unexpected harm was found to be caused by the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – oestrogen alone or in combination with progestin, a synthetic hormone.

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Resolve health initiative aims to save 100m lives worldwide

Oct 2nd, 2017 by

Led by Dr Tom Frieden, the Resolve initiative hopes to save millions with interventions such as epidemic preparedness, salt reduction and a trans fats ban

A new initiative to save 100 million lives globally through simple interventions such as cutting down on salt and banning trans fats, as well as getting countries prepared for epidemics like Ebola, is being launched with $225m of philanthropic funding.

At the helm is Dr Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States and in charge of health in New York City before that. Frieden, with then-mayor Mike Bloomberg, pushed through a public smoking ban and other tobacco control measures which slashed smoking rates in the city and increased life spans. At CDC, he tackled tuberculosis, swine flu and Ebola.

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Gwyneth Paltrow thinks you should try colonic irrigation. Is she right?

Oct 2nd, 2017 by

Paltrow makes great claims for it on her site Goop and others agree. But the medical evidence shows it does more harm than good

Do you believe that washing out your colon gives you energy and may improve headaches, allergies and acne? Colonic therapy is encouraged by celebrity endorsements and their websites. Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop claims “For the uninitiated, a colonic is essentially a way to hydrate and irrigate your colon – a section of your intestines that’s approximately five feet long – by filling it with warm water and then flushing it out repeatedly.” Goop acknowledges the efficacy of colonics is “often debated”, but offers Dr Alejandro Junger to guide us. The clue in the direction he is leaning is the 20 “Dr Junger’s Gut Cleanses” the site is giving away.

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Is there such a thing as sugar addiction?

Oct 2nd, 2017 by

Given the choice, lab rats favour sugar over cocaine. Does that mean we are all hopelessly hooked – and what is eating too much sugar doing to our bodies?

It comes in a white, crystalline form and gives us a pleasurable high – but refined sugar is as habit-forming as cocaine or nicotine, according to a review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Animal studies show that sugar is the drug of choice for lab rats which, when given a choice of levers to pull, will switch from cocaine to sucrose in the twitch of a tail.

In evolutionary terms, we worked for our sugar fix by eating honey and ripe fruit. We then stored any surplus energy as fat for the lean times when bison were scarce. Now that sugar is available as highly concentrated sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup – both stripped of nutritional value (minerals and vitamins are lost in the refining process) – we’re hooked.

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Antidepressants work, so why do we shame people for taking them? | Mark Brown

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

A new mega-analysis has found in favour of SSRIs. Time to give people who take them a break

British society just cannot get comfortable with the reality of medication for depression. Despite widespread use, they still attract disapproval. New research appears to strike a decisive blow against widely publicised claims that antidepressant medications such as Prozac, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) are no better than sugar pills for people with depression.

Elias Eriksson, professor of pharmacology at the University of Gothenburg and one of the authors of the new paper, said: “I think, once and for all, we’ve answered the SSRI question. SSRIs work. They may not work for every patient, but they work for most patients. And it’s a pity if their use is discouraged because of newspaper reports.”

Related: Man down: why do so many suffer depression in silence?

We are invested in the idea of a grand conspiracy … an industry dampening human responses to reality for profit

Related: Survey finds 40% of Australian women diagnosed with depression or anxiety

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