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GPs in England ‘unconfident’ discussing physical activity with patients – report

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

Less than two-thirds of doctors feel confident discussing activity levels and almost a third have never heard of national guidelines

The majority of doctors in England are unfamiliar with recommended levels of physical activity, with fewer than two-thirds confident about discussing the topic with their patients, researchers have revealed.

Set out in July 2011 by the Chief Medical Office, national guidelines recommend that adults aged between 19 and 64 undertake 75 minutes of intense activity or 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week.

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Midwives to end campaign to promote ‘normal births’

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

Official body calls for shift in language and approach in attempt to stop making mothers feel like failures

Midwives are to end their campaign for “normal births” and change the way they talk about childbirth in a move intended to avoid making mothers who opt for medical interventions feel like failures.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has run an initiative since 2005 encouraging expectant mothers to give birth without medical interventions including epidurals, inductions and caesareans.

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Viagra prescriptions on NHS triple in 10 years as stigma fades

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

Doctors warn of dangers of buying erectile dysfunction drugs online after £17m of unlicensed and counterfeit Viagra seized in year

The number of prescriptions for Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs has nearly tripled in the last decade as they become cheaper and carry less stigma.

Figures from NHS Digital show there were 2,958,199 prescriptions for sildenafil in 2016, compared with 1,042,431 in 2006. Prescription numbers rose by 43% between 2014 and 2015, and by 16% between 2015 and 2016.

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A danger to public health? Uproar as scientist urges us to eat more salt

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

Exclusive: In his new book, James DiNicolantonio claims salt could make us healthier. But experts have condemned the advice as potentially dangerous

Public health experts in the UK have spoken out against a new book that claims many of us should be eating more salt, not less – claiming the advice could endanger people’s health.

New York scientist James DiNicolantonio says in his book The Salt Fix that the World Health Organisation and the US and UK advisory bodies on diet have got it wrong with their advice to cut down on salt.

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NHS maternity wards in England forced to close 382 times last year

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

Figures obtained by Labour reveal ‘appalling’ treatment of women, largely due to staff shortages and lack of beds and cots

Maternity wards in England were forced to close their doors 382 times in 2016, according to new figures that have triggered claims of women being “pushed from pillar to post in the throes of labour”.

Campaigners warned that expectant mothers could be left in fear of giving birth at the roadside after a wide-reaching freedom of information request found a 70% increase in the number of maternity ward closures over two years.

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V&A chief apologises to breastfeeding woman asked to cover up

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

Tristram Hunt’s apology comes after mother tweets about incident at museum

The director of the V&A has apologised after a woman complained she was asked to cover up while breastfeeding at the museum in London.

The woman took to social media to point out the irony of the encounter at a museum filled with naked depictions of women.

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UK attitudes to breastfeeding must change, say experts

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

Experts call for ‘multiple barriers’ to be overturned in Britain – which has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the world

Social attitudes that deter women from breastfeeding for more than a few weeks in the UK need to change in the interests of babies’ health, experts say.

Related: Breastfeeding Q&A: is breast really best for mother and baby?

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Does exercise make you eat more?

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

New research has looked into how different exercises affect appetite – but it’s a tricky area to study

After an hour in the gym you’re feeling pretty good about yourself. Less so two hours later, when you’ve demolished half the fridge. But the relationship between exercise and weight loss is complicated: not all exercise stimulates appetite to the same extent. And individuals vary in how much weight they lose from exercise.

The solution

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Can money buy you happiness?

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

Research shows that splashing the cash can boost feelings of pleasure – but it depends who you spend it on

According to a growing body of evidence, it seems that it can. But what makes us really happy is not buying ourselves the latest iPhone, but splashing our cash on other people. In a study published last week looking at the link between generosity and happiness, researchers from Zurich University divided 50 participants into two groups and asked them to publicly pledge how they would spend a monthly endowment. One group was asked to spend 25 Swiss francs a week on gifts or outings for other people, and the second group was asked to spend it on themselves. Levels of happiness were measured on a subjective scale before and after the pledges. Those in the first group who pledged generously boosted their happiness more than the group who planned to buy themselves treats.

Participants then underwent an MRI scan to see which bits of the brain were most active during generous acts. During the scan, participants were asked to work out how they would like to spend money on a person of their choice. Some of the choices involved participants having to pay extra out of their own pocket to give a gift. For example, they were told they would have to pay 20 francs in order for the recipient of their generosity to get 15 francs. There is a part of the brain – the temporo-parietal junction – that neuroscientists say is associated with generosity, as well as one linked with happiness – the ventral striatum. When people made generous decisions in this study, both areas of the brain showed increased activity. The researchers conclude that their findings have important implications for us all.

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Does being on your period make you less on top of your game?

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

‘Period brain’ may be one of the mainstays of internet banter – but a new study doesn’t find any scientific evidence for it

Is there such a thing as period brain? There are teams of researchers asking exactly what having a period does to your memory, ability to pay attention and your judgment. So far, the weight of studies has been firmly tilted towards fluctuating levels of hormones during the menstrual cycle having both physical and mental impacts. The authors of a review in the Archives of Gynaecology and Obstetrics state: “The effects of the menstrual cycle on emotional state and cognitive function have been long recognised,” and cite internet humour as confirmatory.

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