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Health News from Around the World

HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)

HRT has recently been in a study which has revealed new findings to counteract all the years of controversy surrounding it. It is now been hailed as having long-term health benefit to include protecting against heart disease without increasing the risk of cancer. Women who start HRT when it begins and continue taking it for ten years can hope to reduce the risk of heart failure, heart attacks and premature death. Stroke and heart disease risk can be halved. The biggest change in thinking is that there are no extra risks of cancer, strokes or blood clots even 16 years of beginning treatment. The Danish study is the only one of its kind to be carried out and is causing British doctors to call for a re-writing of the prescribing rules for HRT.

Weight loss study

Psychologists have found that dieting with the support of a weight loss group can help dieters to lose three times as much weight. Their study also found that those attending a slimming club, such as Weight Watchers, lose double the weight than those who diet alone. Finding inspiration from people with the same goal is often more successful and enjoyable than following a strict routine set out by a medical professional. The study took place in New York and is the first to look at professionally delivered group weight loss treatment.

Echinacea clinical study

A clinical study into the possible benefits of Echinacea has found it can prevent colds and provides an increased benefit to those who are prone to them. If taken three times daily for four months the herbal remedy reduced the number of colds. It also decreased the length of time the patients suffered the cold for by 26 per cent. The study carried out by experts in Cardiff University Common Cold Centre found that whilst it reduced the risk of cold it reduced the amount of paracetamol a patient needed whilst ill too. Echinacea is a commonly used herbal remedy which is extracted from the Eastern Purple Coneflower, found in North America. British drugs regulator, MHRA, has warned that although the remedy is useful for adults, it should not be given to children under 12 due to the risk of severe allergic reactions.

Flu vaccine shortage

An unexpected test result of the flu vaccine by Crucell, a pharmaceutical company based in the Netherlands, has seen all its supplies suspended. The company provides ten percent of the UK’s flu vaccines but made the decision to protect patient safety. Annually between 2000 and 4000 people die from flu associated illnesses, although mostly elderly, it can be a particular problem for those in other high-risk groups such as pregnant women, children and those with respiratory conditions. Ministers have recently been recommended by an independent expert committee to vaccinate all children between the ages of two and 17 annually by nasal spray although this might not happen until 2014.

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