New generation cancer drug 'holds hope for HIV cure,' research has shown

Doctors made the discovery while using the immunotherapy drug nivolumab to treat a lung cancer patient with the Aids virus. 

They observed a "drastic and persistent" decrease in the number of infected white blood cells shielding the virus from attack by anti-retroviral therapy. 

Under normal circumstances, the virus lies hidden and dormant in the cells - ready to re-emerge and carry on spreading if treatment is stopped at any time. 

Professor Jean-Philippe Spano, who led the medical team at the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital AP-HP in Paris, France, said: "Increasingly, researchers have been looking into the use of certain drugs that appear to re-activate the latent HIV-infected cells. 

"This could have the effect of making them visible to the immune system, which could then attack them." 

After the patient was given nivolumab, doctors saw a dramatic reduction in reservoirs of HIV-infected cells and increased activity from CD8 "killer" T-cells, a key immune system attack weapon. 

Prof Spano said: "This is the first demonstration of this mechanism working in humans. It could have implications for HIV patients, both with and without cancer, as it can work on HIV reservoirs and tumour cells independently. 

"The absence of side effects in this patient is also good news, and suggests this could be an optimum treatment for HIV-infected patients with cancer." 

The results are published in the journal Annals of Oncology, whose editor-in-chief Professor Fabrice Andre - from the Institut Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France, said: "Although this is a single case study, it is an exciting result. 

"Anti-HIV drugs usually stop virus replication but don't cure the patients who still have reservoirs of the virus. This study generates the hypothesis that drugs that make the virus disappear could, perhaps, cure patients." 


A piece of cheese a day keeps the doctor away: Eating cheese FIGHTS heart disease

How many hours should you sleep a night? THIS number of Brits not getting right amount

Obesity WARNING: Being overweight is MORE dangerous than previously thought - this is why

As Britain battles an obesity epidemic, scientists have found that the effects of being overweight have so far been underestimated.

According to the new study, which analysed body mass index (BMI), health and mortality data in around 60,000 parents and their children, being obese radically increases the risks of early death.

A team from the University of Bristol investigated the causal link between BMI and risk of death. 

Using existing data they found that being overweight was even more harmful than previously thought.

The current advice from doctors to maintain a BMI of between 18.5 and 25 was supported by the new study.

Dr David Carslake, the study’s lead author and Senior Research Associate from the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU) at the University of Bristol, said: “An alarming increase in obesity levels across the world which have risen from 105 million in 1975 to 641 million in 2014, according to a recent Lancet study, create concern about the implications for public health. 

“We found that previous studies have underestimated the impact of being overweight on mortality and our findings support current advice to maintain a BMI of between 18.5 and 25.” 

Britain’s obesity ‘timebomb’ has been blamed for sharp rises in Type 2 diabetes and other serious health conditions.

Latest UK figures show that some 67 per cent of men and 57 per cent of women are now either overweight or obese.

But the problem is also becoming acute in children.

In the UK, some 19.1 per cent of children aged 10-11 are now obese and a further 14.2 per cent are overweight.

Of children aged four-to-five, 9.1 per cent are obese and 12.8 per cent are overweight. 

A third of 10-to-11-year-olds and over a fifth of children aged four-to-five-are too heavy.

The new study is published in the International Journal of Epidemiology today.


Stomach cancer symptoms: Frequent heartburn is sign of deadly condition

Stomach cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, because symptoms rarely show at the start, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Frequent heartburn may be a sign of the cancer, which is also known as gastric cancer.

Other symptoms to watch out for include a painful tummy or sternum, feeling full after eating small amounts of food, and a burning sensation when swallowing.

Finding blood in your stool, persistent indigestion and feeling constantly out of breath are also signs of the condition.

Stomach cancer is most common in people over 75.

Men, smokers, and people of Asian, South Africa or Belarusian descent are more likely to develop the condition.

Eating a lot of salty and meat foods also increases the risk, as well as alcohol abuse and not exercising.

Patients diagnosed with stomach polyps, bacterial infections, lymphoma, and other tumours in the digestive system were more likely to develop stomach cancer.

Cancer can begin in any part of the stomach, but treatment can change dependent on where the tumour is, and how big it is.

The main treatments include chemotherapy, chemoradiotherapy, biotherapy, and surgery.

Smaller tumours may only be treated with surgery while larger ones may combine a number of treatments.

About 15 per cent of stomach cancer patients survive 10 years or more after diagnosis, according to Cancer Research UK.

There were 6,700 new cases of stomach cancer in the UK, in 2014 - the equivalent of 18 new cases a day.

It’s the 16th most common cancer in the UK, and accounts for two per cent of all cancers in the country.

The number of cases is expected to fall 17 per cent between 2014 and 2035.


Type 2 diabetes: Having THIS with your morning breakfast could increase risk of condition

Drinking fruit juice increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to US scientists.

Fruit juice’s lack of fibre and high sugar content may be increasing the risk, they claimed.

Diabetes patients shouldn’t replace high-sugar beverages with fruit juice, in an attempt to cater toward their condition, the researchers said.

Caution should be applied when counting 100 per cent fruit juice as one of our five a day, they added.

“Intake of fruit juices was positively associated with incidence of type 2 diabetes,” said the scientists, from Harvard and Tulane universities.

“The rapid delivery of a large sugar load, without many other components that are a part of whole fruits, may be an important mechanism by which fruit juices could contribute to the development of diabetes.”

But eating whole fruit and leafy green vegetables reduced the risk of developing the condition, they found.

That’s because they have a low energy density, and are rich in fibre and micronutrients.

Diabetes UK said it was a good idea to drink only one small glass of fruit juice a day.

Fruit juice has most of its fibre removed when being manufactured, which makes it easy to drink large quantities in one sitting, the charity added.

“We know that too much of our sugar intake is coming from juices and smoothies, so it makes sense to cut down,” said Diabetes UK.

“The good news is that we are not eating enough fruit, so this is something you can eat more of.”

Type 2 diabetes is caused by the pancreas not producing enough insulin, or by the body’s cells not responding to insulin.

Symptoms of the condition include having an unquenchable thirst, feeling very tired, unexplained weight loss, and blurred vision.

It may be possible to control the condition by making lifestyle changes. That includes losing weight, exercising more often, and eating a healthy, balanced diet.

Diabetes patients are up to five times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, according to the NHS.


Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms: Do YOU have this unlikely sign of the condition?

Dry and red eyes could be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis.

Up to a quarter of rheumatoid arthritis patients report getting dry eyes, according to optometrist, Dr Ernie Bowling.

It’s caused by abnormalities in the tear glands, resulting from rheumatoid arthritis inflammation.

This reduces the amount of fluid secreted to the rest of the eye.

Dry eye symptoms are more common at the end of the day, when the tear glands dry up, and tears evaporate, according to medical website Healthline.

Red eyes could either be a result of dryness, or inflammation in the white part of the eye.

Scleritis - the medical name for rheumatoid arthritis-linked red eyes - could also cause reduced vision, light sensitivity, and painful eyes.

If you develop dry or red eyes, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have rheumatoid arthritis.

But, if you also suffer from joint pain, unintended weight loss or fatigue, you’re more likely to suffer from the autoimmune condition.

If you have arthritis and develop dry or red eyes, you should seek medical help immediately.

The symptoms can cause the cornea to become scratched or scarred, potentially leading to blindness.

Early diagnosis is key for treatments. Eye drops could help to reduce dryness, redness and itchiness.

Corticosteroid injections could be prescribed by a doctor if symptoms aren’t relieved by eye drops.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 400,000 people in the UK, according to the NHS.

It’s caused by the body’s immune system attacking the cells that line joints by accident.

Symptoms include joint pain, inflammation, hot and tender joints, weight loss and a fever.

There’s currently no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but treatment can help to relieve symptoms.


Kellogg’s Ricicles SCRAPPED over sugar levels - and there's SHOCK news about Coco Pops

Kellogg's is set to scrap popular breakfast cereal Ricicles. For those not in the know, the cereal is sugar frosted toasted rice.

The £2.70 breakfast will see its last days on the shelf in 2018, ahead of government targets to slash sugar by 20% by 2020.

Per 100g, the FSA traffic light labelling system gave the Kellogg’s product a red light for its sugar content - signalling it is high in the substance.

It was, however, low in fat and saturated fat, and came in medium for salt. 

Per 100g, the cereal had a whopping 34.0g of sugar, which meant approximately 10g per bowl.

That’s over two and a half teaspoons of sugar per bowl and 8.5 teaspoons per 100g. If you are looking to cut down on your sugar levels, here are the alternative snacks for a healthier lifestyle. 

The news hasn’t gone down well on Twitter. Gretel Armstrong on Twitter said: “For one horrible moment I thought it said that @KelloggsUK were getting rid of @ricekrispies not Ricicles.”

AJ added: “You f***ing what, @KelloggsUK? Ricicles are my favourite cereal!”

Another fan, Tim, said: “Ummm... sorry, but you can't stop making Ricicles, 

“I mean seriously you CANNOT AXE RICICLES!!! Think about how bad an idea that is. No really, stop and think about it.”

Children should eat no more than 24g of sugar - six sugar cubes - per day, government rules recommend. 

Coco Pops, Rice Krispies, and Rice Krispies Multi-Grain Shapes are having sugar levels slashed to conform with the new rules.

Kellogg UK's managing director Oli Morton told Radio 5 Live's Wake Up To Money podcast: “Consumers are asking for a healthier way to start the day.”

Mr Morton said the company recognised "people are eating too much sugar at breakfast and throughout the day". 

The levels of sugar in Rice Krispies will be slashed by 20% and Rice Krispies Multi-Grain Shapes by 30%. 

The whole recipe for Coco Pops will be changed by July 2018; the sugar content will not exceed one sugar cube per serving. 

Dr Anna Robins, a senior lecturer in exercise, nutrition and health at the University of Salford, told the BBC's Wake up to Money programme: "Any move to be helping the general public to make healthier choices is a good one.

"[But] I don't think they're going far enough to be making these cereals a healthy option in the morning."


Ear infection symptoms: Earwax build-up could be causing pain and itchiness

Ear infection symptoms include a severe pain inside the ear, a fever, and an itchiness inside and around the ear.

It could also cause a sensation of pressure inside the ear, difficulty hearing, and scaly skin around the ear.

Discharge could run from the affected ear. It may be thin and watery, or thick and pus-like.

Symptoms can last for for several months untreated, but usually only last a few days with treatment, according to the NHS.

“In some cases, the symptoms of [outer ear infection] can persist for several months, or sometimes years,” said the NHS. “This is known as chronic otitis externa.”

The long-term condition can lead to a build-up of thick, dry skin in the ear canal. This can narrow the canal, and eventually lead to hearing loss.

Ear infections could be caused by earwax being pushed down the ear canal.

NHS Choices said: “Don't try to remove a build-up of earwax yourself with a cotton bud. This can damage your ear and push the wax further down.”

Using eardrops, bought from a pharmacy, could soften the wax so it falls out naturally.

The condition could also be caused by an allergic reaction, or irritation to something that’s come into contact with the ear. That could include earphones, shampoo, or even sweat.

Fungal and bacterial infections may be causing the ear infections.

The same fungus that causes thrush could be to blame, while common bacterias Staphylococcus aureus or Pseudomonas aeruginosa are usually the causes of bacterial infections.

Avoid ear infections by wearing ear plugs or a swimming hat over ears while swimming, or avoiding shampoo getting into ears while showering, the NHS advised.

Ear infections can usually be treated with ear drops, prescribed by a GP.

Symptoms could be eased by taking painkillers, and by gently swabbing the outer ear to remove any discharge.

If the infection is caused by a boil in the ear, placing a warm cloth over the ear could help it to heal faster.

If symptoms don’t improve, the doctor may send the patient to a specialist. Irrigation or syringing ears could treat the condition - where water is injected into the ear canal to dislodge any earwax.


How to live longer: THIS much exercise could boost life expectancy by YEARS

Exercising for 150 minutes a week - the current Government recommendations - could extend your life by more than three years, according to health and life insurer Vitality.

Ninety minutes of activity weekly increased life span by 2.7 years, on average, while an hour of exercise a week could extend lives by about 2.4 years, it added.

Time constraints and expense were the most common reasons people neglected exercise, a Vitality survey found.

The NHS said exercising could reduce the risk of early death by up to 30 per cent.

“Our analysis of more than 6,600 Vitality members over the course of 12 months reveals the direct positive impact that small changes to behaviour combined with rewards can make to long term health,” said Vitality CEO Neville Koopowitz.

“It is extremely encouraging to see how people can increase their life expectancy through moderate increases in activity levels.”

London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill said small lifestyle changes could help people lead healthier lives.

Everyone could take the measures to lead a happier, healthier life, she said.

Ennis-Hill said: “Being an ‘Everyday Athlete’ doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon or climb a mountain.

“It just means changing everyday behaviours such as walking up the stairs rather than taking the lift, or getting off a bus stop or two early to walk the rest of the way to where you want to go.

“This campaign shows how easy it is for people to make small changes that can really benefit their short and long-term health.”

The biggest reason that some people don’t exercise is time constraints, Vitality said. Expense and people not enjoying it made up the top three.

It was revealed this month that walking briskly everyday lowered the risk of death by between 60 and 70 per cent.

Elsewhere, other researchers claimed walking for just 30 minutes a day would lower the risk of an early end by up to 12 per cent.

Being physically active reduces the risk of heart disease and strokes by up to 35 per cent, according to the NHS.

It could also lower the risk of dementia by 30 per cent, and osteoarthritis by 83 per cent.


Why it’s time to try a new super facial

Going bald or grey from young age 'could RAISE your risk of heart disease'

Losing your hair or going grey were both stronger risk factors for heart disease than obesity, according to the study.

Researchers found male-pattern baldness and premature greying are associated with a more than five-fold risk of heart disease before turning 40.

Obesity was associated with a four-fold risk of early heart disease, according to the findings.

Study author Dr Sachin Patil, of the UN Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre in Ahmedabad, India, said: “The incidence of coronary artery disease in young men is increasing but cannot be explained by traditional risk factors.

“Premature greying and androgenic alopecia - or male-pattern baldness - correlate well with vascular age irrespective of chronological age and are plausible risk factors for coronary artery disease.“

This study investigated the association of premature hair greying and alopecia patterns in young Indian men with coronary artery disease. 

The study included 790 men aged under 40 with coronary artery disease and 1 270 age-matched healthy men who acted as a control group.

All the participants had a clinical history taken, and underwent electrocardiogram (ECG), echocardiography, blood tests, and coronary angiogram. 

Researchers analysed the link between premature grey hair and alopecia with the complexity and severity of angiographic lesions - an indicator of coronary artery disease - and compared the results between the two groups.

They found that young men with coronary artery disease were more commonly going grey prematurely and were more likely to have male-pattern baldness. 

After adjusting for age and other cardiovascular risk factors, male-pattern baldness was associated with a 5.6 times greater risk of coronary artery disease and premature greying was associated with a 5.3 times greater risk.

Male-pattern baldness and premature greying were the strongest predictors of coronary artery disease in young Indian men followed by obesity, which was associated with a 4.1 times greater risk. 

Diabetes, high blood pressure, a family history of premature coronary artery disease, central obesity, higher body mass index, dyslipidaemia and smoking were predictors of coronary artery disease but to a lesser extent than male-pattern baldness, premature greying, and obesity.

Principal investigator Dr Kamal Sharma, said: “Baldness and premature greying should be considered risk factors for coronary artery disease. 

“These factors may indicate biological, rather than chronological, age which may be important in determining total cardiovascular risk. Currently physicians use common sense to estimate biological age, but a validated scale is needed.“

Lead author Dr Dhammdeep Humane, also of the UN Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre, added: “Men with premature greying and androgenic alopecia should receive extra monitoring for coronary artery disease and advice on lifestyle changes such as healthy diet, exercise, and stress management. 

“Our study found associations but a causal relationship needs to be established before statins can be recommended for men with baldness or premature greying.”

The findings are due to be presented at the Annual Conference of the Cardiological Society of India in Calcutta.

Professor Marco Roffi, head of the Interventional Cardiology Unit at Geneva University Hospital in Switzerland, added: “Assessment of risk factors is critical in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease. 

“Classical risk factors such as diabetes, family history of coronary disease, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure are responsible for the vast majority of cardiovascular disease. 

“It remains to be determined whether potential new risk factors, like the ones described, may improve cardiovascular risk assessment.”


Back pain agony cure: One-off 10minute treatment helps cure lower back pain

Scientists have devised a one-off procedure which they claim provides long-term relief long-term relief for sufferers. 

The procedure can take as little as 10 minutes and is painless. 

Last night the team behind the study said they were extremely excited by the results. 

In tests the majority of patients were pain-free after receiving the “image-guided pulsed radio frequency treatment” for their lower back pain and sciatica. 

Study lead investigator Dr Alessandro Napoli, a radiologist at Sapienza University in Italy, said: “The nerve root is a sensitive structure that when pinched becomes inflamed and causes pain. The body reacts with muscle constriction, which decreases the distance between vertebrae and a vicious cycle is created.” 

Tests of the treatment were carried out on 80 patients experiencing at least three months of lower back pain due to a herniated disk that had not responded to treatments including exercise and medication. 

The volunteers underwent the minimally invasive procedure in which, with the help of CT imaging, a needle was guided to the location of a bulging disc and nerve root. 

A probe was then inserted through the needle tip delivering pulsed radio frequency energy to the area over a 10 minute period. 

Dr Napoli said: “The results have been extraordinary. Patients have been relieved of pain and resumed their normal activities within a day.” 

Of the 80 patients treated, 81 per cent were pain-free one year after a single 10-minute treatment session. 

Six patients required a second pulsed radio frequency session. 

Ninety per cent of the patients were able to avoid surgical treatment. 

Dr Napoli added: “Following this treatment, inflammation and pain go away.” 

Lower back pain is an extremely common problem that affects at least four out of five people at some point in their lifetime. 

In the UK some two and half million people suffer agonising pain every single day. 

It is the most common cause of job-related disability and affects men and women equally. 

Most back pain is short-term but about one in five people affected by acute low back pain go on to develop chronic low back pain lasting a year or more. 

A compressed and herniated disk, in which the rubbery cushion between vertebrae impinges on and irritates nearby nerves, is a major cause of low back pain that can radiate to the legs. 

And experts say the condition has become an epidemic in the UK with back, neck and muscle problems causing millions of days of work to be lost each year, according to the Office for National Statistics. 

The findings from the study are due to be presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago, in the US, this week.


Migraine misery OVER? Simple jab could HALF number of debilitating attacks

Bupa launch exclusive service for people who think they have cancer to bypass their GP

Alzheimer's BREAKTHROUGH: Wonder drug moves step closer after undergoing human trials

Researchers have found the drug, which destroys the tau proteins that kill neurons in the brain, can dramatically slow mental decline in just nine months. 

And in some patients the rate of decline returned to that seen in elderly people with healthy brains, said scientists. 

The international study of 800 participants found a 4mg pill, taken twice daily, achieved this result. 

But in a bizarre twist the potentially revolutionary medication does not work when taken in combination with current dementia drugs that can only target symptoms - not the cause.

The drug LMTX was invented by Professor Claude Wischik from the University of Aberdeen and has been developed by TauRx Pharmaceuticals - the spin-off company he co-founded in 2002. 

The drug had been hailed as a major breakthrough in the battle against dementia after early testing showed it could slow the onset of the disease by up to two years. 

It destroys a protein called tau which - in Alzheimer's patients - breaks away from brain cells and becomes toxic, killing neurons. 

LMTX is the first drug to be developed that blocks it - offering hope to more than 520,000 people with Alzheimer's, the main form of dementia, in the UK alone. 

The latest study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease follows a similar trial earlier this year that suggested LMTX could be effective - even at such a low dose. 

It investigated its efficacy and safety in participants with mild Alzheimer's recruited across 12 countries who were given either 100 or 4 mg - intended as the control dose - twice daily over an 18-month period. 

Prof Wischik said in both those taking only LMTX or other dementia drugs as well their loss of brain cells - measured by MRI scans - initially progressed as expected for mild Alzheimer's. 

But after nine months of treatment the yearly rate of neuron loss in the former group reduced significantly. 

In fact it became typical of that reported in normal elderly controls without Alzheimer's. 

But the comparable rate seen in those also using other therapies - known as the 'add-on group' - progressed as usual for mild Alzheimer's. 

TauRx now aims to develop LMTX as a single treatment - or 'monotherapy' - of mild to moderate Alzheimer's. 

There is currently no other drug available or in prospect for the treatment of Alzheimer's capable of reversing it. 

Further randomised controlled studies of LMTX are set to commence shortly in which the 4 mg twice daily dose will be compared with placebo in patients with Alzheimer's who are not receiving other approved treatments - cholinesterase inhibitors or memantine. 

Lead author Prof Gordon Wilcock, of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at Oxford University, said: "These data indicate the need for a further randomised controlled trial to evaluate efficacy of low dose LMTX in patients not taking current treatments." 

But other experts said the study numbers were to small to prove the drug - known as LMTX - is an effective treatment.

Dr James Pickett, head of research at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We have been waiting more than 15 years for a new drug for dementia. 

"Most of the drugs tested so far have targeted the Alzheimer’s hallmark amyloid protein.

“This was the first large-scale trial to target another potential culprit, the tau protein. From the results that we have seen, we cannot say that LMTX is an effective drug for Alzheimer’s.

“However we look forward to seeing other innovative approaches to drug development in dementia - including targeting treatments at more than just the amyloid protein.”


Malaria WARNING issued by World Health Organization: Where are YOU at risk?

Malaria is found in more than 100 countries, mainly in tropical regions of the world.

It’s found in large areas of Africa, Asia, and South America. Central America, Haiti and the Dominican Republic have also reported cases of the disease.

About 1,600 Brits returned to the UK after travelling, and were subsequently diagnosed with malaria in 2014. Three of them died.

Malaria can be fatal, and is transmitted by mosquito bites.

Symptoms of the condition include a fever, headaches, vomiting, diarrhoea and muscle pains, the NHS said.

Progress in the fight against malaria has stalled, WHO warned, after the number of reported cases rose five million in 2016.

While the number of deaths remained largely similar, at 445,000, the WHO said said antimalarial efforts risked going backwards with the current, insufficient level of funding.

Annual malaria cases and deaths had to fall by at least 40 per cent by the year 2020, for global targets to be met, it said.

Ninety per cent of malaria cases and deaths occur in Africa, said the WHO. All but one country in sub-Saharan Africa carried 80 per cent of the global malaria burden.

“In recent years, we have made major gains in the fight against malaria,” said WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“We are now at a turning point. Without urgent action, we risk going backwards, and missing the global malaria targets for 2020 and beyond.

Director of the Global Malaria Programme, Dr Pedro Alonso, added: “We are at a crossroads in the response to malaria.

“Meeting the global malaria targets will only be possible through greater investment and expanded coverage of core tools that prevent, diagnose and treat malaria.

“Robust financing for the research and development of new tools is equally critical.”

The WHO’s World Malaria Report 2017, released on November 29, would hopefully serve as a wake-up call to the global health community, Alonso said.

Just over £2 billion ($2.07 billion) was invested in malaria control and elimination efforts globally last year, it said.

An estimated £4.85 billion ($6.5 billion) was needed annually by 2020 to meet targets of the WHO global malaria strategy.

The US was the largest international funder of malaria control programmes in 2016, contributing 38 per cent of total global investments.

The UK, France, Germany and Japan were also major donors, the WHO added. 


Best supplements: Beat winter colds and flu by taking THESE vitamins daily

Vitamins A, B12, C, D, zinc, selenium could all help to prevent colds and flu this winter, according to a dietitian.

Taking daily supplements will help to “plug dietary gaps”, caused by the shorter and colder days, they said.

Public Health England advised everybody to take daily vitamin D supplements during autumn and winter, as sunlight hours - the biggest natural source of the vitamin - was reduced during the seasons.

Its warning came as the NHS revealed it was more “scared” than ever before about the winter battle with flu.

“Winter brings particular challenges including more colds and flu, low mood and dry skin,” said dietitian Dr Carrie Ruxton, from the Health and Food Supplements Information Service.

“As days get shorter and the weather gets colder, it is also all too easy to reach for comfort foods.

“Dietary supplements therefore provide a useful top up when you’re struggling to get the necessary variety in your diet.

“As a range of nutrients support immunity including vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc, topping up your diet with a daily multivitamin and multi-mineral provides an easy and effective way to plug dietary gaps and support health in the colder months.”

Vitamin A helped to strengthen cells on the outer layer of skin - the body’s first defence against harmful bacteria and viruses. It also helps cells in the linings of the body’s hollow structures, including the nose, throat, stomach and gut.

The antioxidant, Vitamin C, helped to make immune system cells, Ruxton said, along with vitamin B12.

A vitamin D deficiency, meanwhile, increased the risk of auto-immune diseases.

The vitamin relieved low moods, linked to a lack of natural sunlight.

Zinc and selenium helped the body fight infection, and maintained the body’s defence system, she added.

About 34 million working days were lost in 2016, owing to coughs and colds.

Sickness absences cost the UK’s economy the equivalent of about £15 billion.

Fly symptoms include a fever, chesty cough, headaches, fatigue, and general aches and pains, according to the NHS.

The flu jab is available for free on the NHS for anyone over the age of 65, pregnant women, people with underlying health conditions, or anyone with weakened immune systems.


MAPPED: How does UK’s high blood pressure rate compare with Europe?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, affected about 15 per cent of people in the UK, aged 18 or over, in 2014, a report has revealed.

That’s the lowest rate of high blood pressure in all 47 studied member countries of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), an organisation run by cardiovascular healthcare professionals.

The average rate of hypertension was 24.2 per cent across all of the countries, with Estonia having the highest prevalence of high blood pressure, at 31.7 per cent.

But, despite the low rates of hypertension in the UK, it has the highest prevalence of adult obesity in men (26.9 per cent of people), and the second highest in women (29.2 per cent of people).

“Heart disease still remains the leading cause of death for middle income countries,” said lead author of the report, Dr Adam Timmis, from Barts Health Centre, Queen Mary University London.

“Declines in high-income countries mean that cancer deaths have now become more common there.

“But, this downward trend for high-income countries is being threatened by the emerging obesity epidemic that is seeing rates of diabetes increase almost everywhere.”

The UK, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, and Israel made up the top five countries with the lowest rates of high blood pressure, according to data from the World Health Organisation.

Those with the highest prevalence of hypertension were Ukraine, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Moldova, and Estonia.

Overall, the condition was more prevalent in “middle income countries”, said the researchers from the ESC.

That also stretched to heart disease deaths, where 50 per cent of all deaths were caused by heart disease in many middle income countries, compared to less than 30 per cent in higher income countries.

“Interestingly, the figures show that heart disease is as much of a problem for women as for men, as we see that more are dying than before,” added Timmis.

“This is especially the case for younger women, and these deaths are largely preventable through lifestyle changes.”

Having high blood pressure increases the risk of developing heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and vascular dementia, according to the NHS.

The condition could be caused by smoking, sleep deprivation, obesity, drinking large amounts of alcohol, and having a family history of hypertension.

Lower blood pressure by exercising regularly, cutting back on the amount of salt in the diet, and by trying to get at least six hours of sleep a night.


High blood pressure accounts for 12 per cent of visits to GPs in England.


Pneumonia symptoms could fought off by eating GARLIC, scientists reveal

Garlic could be used to treat patients suffering from chronic infections, which are caused by robust bacteria, according to researchers from the University of Copenhagen.

It contains the important sulphurous compound ‘ajoene’, which stopped the Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria from working, they said.

The bacteria are known to cause lung condition cystic fibrosis, as well as pneumonia, bone infections, and sepsis.

One of the bacteria can also cause endocarditis - a heart valve infection - which leads to heart failure and strokes.

“The two types of bacteria we have studied are very important,” said researcher Tim Jakobsen.

“They actually belong to two very different bacteria families and are normally fought using different methods.

“But, the garlic compound is able to fight both at once and therefore may prove an effective drug when used together with antibiotics.”

The scientists used garlic extracts to fight off the bacteria, as part of the study.

The garlic compound stopped molecules inside the bacteria from working, the researchers found.

They also found it can break down the bacteria’s ‘biofilm’ - a shield that protects them from antibiotics and the body’s immune system.

But, it was unclear how much garlic would be needed to fight off the bacteria in humans.

Now, they will test how the extracts help to reduce bacterial infection symptoms in humans, and how much of it will be needed.

“We really believe this method can lead to treatment of patients, who otherwise have poor prospects,” added Jakobsen.

“Chronic infections like cystic fibrosis can be very robust.

“But now we, together with a private company, have enough knowledge to further develop the garlic drug and test it on patients.”

Previous studies claimed garlic offered the most powerful, naturally-occurring resistance to bacteria, the scientists said.

The bacteria can cause serious and fatal infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Those most at risk of infection include those suffering from diabetes, cancer, vascular disease, eczema and lung disease.


Is dementia linked to organ failure? Alzheimer’s Research UK reveals REAL 'risk factor'

David Cassidy, who suffered from dementia, died of liver failure in Florida last week. Since then thousands of fans have taken to the web questioning whether there is a link between dementia and organ failure. 

Dementia can lead to organ failure, but more research is needed to confirm any link, according to Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Both dementia - a neurodegenerative condition - and organ failure risk is increased as people get older, but only a few scientific studies have explored links between the conditions, the charity said.

Regular exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle was the best way to reduce the risk of both dementia and organ failure, it added.

Dementia affects about 850,000 people in the UK. More than 6,000 people a year are waiting for organ donations and transplants.

Dr Rosa Sancho, Alzheimer’s Research UK Head of Research, said: “Dementia is not an inevitable part of growing older, but age is the largest risk factor for developing the condition and it is also a risk factor for organ failure.

“Only a handful of studies have explored if there is a link between organ failure and the risk of developing dementia and much more research is needed in order to establish the nature of any relationship between the two factors.

“Our organs, including the brain, rely heavily on a good blood supply. We know that many things people can do to promote physical health can also have a positive impact on the brain.

“The best advice for reducing your risk of dementia is to lead a healthy lifestyle including regular exercise, both of which help to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and are likely to lower the risk of dementia, too.”

A 2012 study claimed dementia patients have an increased the risk of acute organ dysfunction, as well as severe sepsis and death.

Researchers annulled almost 42,000 people that were hospitalised between 2005 and 2007.

Dementia increased the risk of organ disease - where they stop working properly - by 32 per cent, according to Taiwanese researchers.

On rare occasions, organ malfunction can lead to organ failure.

Dementia symptoms begin with memory loss, asking the same questions repeatedly, and difficulty finding the right words.

As the conditions develop, it can lead to difficulty communicating, incontinence, weight loss and mobility problems.

Organ failure is caused by the organs not functioning properly.

Too much pressure on them may lead to malfunction, and on rare occasions, can stop working altogether.


Parkinson's disease: Symptoms to watch out for of devastating neurodegenerative disorder

CRITICAL child's hearing test could be developed within five years

As many as seven per cent of children suffer Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), a condition where the brain fails to process sounds properly.

Experts hope the new diagnostic method will give clinicians the information they need to help parents and teachers to provide support so victims are not left behind at school or socially.

Sufferers of APD, which can affect people of all ages, appear to have normal hearing when assessed using a standard test.

But they have difficulties making sense of sounds, including speech.

The condition can present lifelong difficulties if undiagnosed, affecting communication, learning and social skills because sufferers do not understand speech clearly.

Now after a study funded by the charity Action on Hearing Loss, researchers at University College London hope to develop alternative tests to diagnose APD.

Dr Ralph Holme, director of research at the charity, said: “Diagnosing APD is difficult as there is no gold standard test or set of criteria that can be definitively used at the moment, which means many children are not identified and they often struggle at school.

“We hope to develop tests able to diagnose children with APD, which will help parents, teachers and clinicians to support them by providing learning support so that they can thrive in school and everyday life.”

He added: “Often children who haven’t been diagnosed with APD are labelled as having behavioural issues but with early diagnosis they can be given the tools needed to flourish and reduce the frustration that they experience, while giving relief to their parents.”

If someone is listening to a person talk close to a source of background noise, it makes it harder to understand what he or she is saying.

When the person talking and the source of background noise are further apart, the brain more easily recognises and separates them out.

The brain can then focus on one while ignoring the other, meaning it is much easier to understand what the person is saying.

The phenomenon is known as “spatial release from masking” and is related to the brain’s ability to hear sounds in three dimensions.

APD sufferers struggle with this kind of listening, so accurately measuring a child’s ability to do so could be a way to diagnose the condition.

Auditory processing difficulties can also affect older people who have no detectable hearing loss because as the brain ages its ability to process sound deteriorates.

To help fund cures for hearing loss call Action on Hearing Loss on 0333 320 1733 or visit

To donate £5 by mobile phone text Hear12 £5 to 70070.


Diabetes is key factor in WORLDWIDE cancer surge

Eating healthily and exercising are vital to avoiding the potentially fatal consequences.

The stark warning comes from a team of British scientists who found people with a high body mass index (BMI) who also had diabetes were behind 5.6 per cent of new cancer cases globally, affecting 792,600 people in 2012.

Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, lead author of the study at Imperial College London, said: “As the prevalence of these cancer risk factors increases, clinical and public health efforts should focus on identifying preventive and screening measures for populations and for individual patients.

“It is important that effective food policies are implemented to tackle the rising prevalence of diabetes, high BMI and the diseases related to these risk factors.”

About four million people in the UK have diabetes, with 90 per cent suffering from Type 2.

An estimated 549,000 people may have Type 2 diabetes without it being diagnosed. And many more millions are at risk of developing the condition.

Yet Type 2, linked to high BMI, can be avoided by making lifestyle changes such as taking more exercise and eating a healthy diet.

Health and obesity experts last night said it was now clear that exercising and eating well held the key to combating all three conditions.

Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said: “You might dismiss the 5.6 per cent BMI and diabetic-generated cause of new cancers as insignificant – but you do so at your peril.

“Eat healthily, exercise daily to stay in shape and make sure that one of the millions affected is not you .”

Dr Emily Burns, Acting Head of Research Communications at Diabetes UK, said: “With almost 12 million people in the UK at risk of Type 2 diabetes, it’s vital that people are supported to reduce their risk. You can lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes and cancer by maintaining a healthy weight, eating well, keeping active, not smoking, and sticking to the recommended alcohol consumption guidelines.”

The study, published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal, assessed the increase in new cases of 18 cancers based on the prevalence of diabetes and high BMI in 175 countries.

They found most of the cancer attributable to diabetes and high BMI occurred in high-income western countries, accounting for 38.2 per cent of cases in 2012, affecting 303,000 people.

The second largest proportion was in east and southeast Asian countries at 24.1 per cent, adding another 190,900 to the 792,600 global total.

The proportion of cancers related to diabetes and high BMI is expected to increase even further globally as the prevalence of the two risk factors increases.

Using projections for 2025, the researchers estimate that the proportion of related cancers will rise by more than 30 per cent in women and 20 per cent in men on average.

Dr Pearson-Stuttard said: “These projections are particularly alarming when considering the high and increasing cost of cancer and metabolic diseases, and highlight the need to increase awareness of the link between cancer, diabetes, and high BMI.”

Expert Dr Graham Colditz, of Washington University School of Medicine, said: “Both obesity and diabetes are preventable causes of cancer.”


Dementia symptoms: MARRIAGE could reduce the risk of condition

Married people were 24 per cent less likely to develop dementia than those who live their entire life single, according to researchers from University College London.

Widows and widowers were 20 per cent more likely to develop the condition, they claimed.

Dementia risk may be reduced in married people as they lead healthier lifestyles, including getting more exercise, having a healthier diet, and smoking less, the scientists said.

Married couples may be more social than single people, which has been linked to better health and lower dementia risk, they added.

The researchers compared 15 previous studies as part of their research, comprising more than 800,000 patients.

The large dataset meant the Alzheimer’s Society was “more confident” that married people had a lower risk of developing dementia, it said.

The charity’s Head of Research, Dr James Pickett, said: “Recently, a number of studies exploring the link between marital status and dementia risk have hit the headlines.

“As this research combines evidence from 15 different studies, we can be more confident in the conclusion that married people, on average, have a reduced risk of dementia compared to those who are single.

“The daily social contact that inevitably comes with marriage may also play a role, but more research is needed to confirm this is the case.”

Alzheimer’s Research UK added that couples may encourage healthy habits in their partners. They could also be financially better off; both of which have a beneficial health effect.

The researchers wanted martial status to be added to the list of risk factors for dementia, following their study.

There were other lifestyle habits that could impact dementia risk, Alzheimer’s Research UK added.

Dr Laura Phipps of Alzheimer’s Research UK said: “Staying physically, mentally, and socially active are all important aspects of a healthy lifestyle and these are things everyone, regardless of their marital status, can work towards.”

Marriage wasn’t a “magic remedy” for dementia, Pickett added. 

Maintaining food physical health by eating a balanced diet, doing regular exercise and properly managing diabetes was also important to reduce the risk of dementia, he added.

About 850,000 people in the UK suffer from dementia.

One in 14 people over 65 will develop the condition, which causes memory loss, difficulty concentrating and confusion.


Dementia cure? MARRIAGE could lower the risk of signs and symptoms developing

The study published today in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry suggests tying the knot can lower the risk of developing dementia. 

Combining the results of 15 studies, including data on more than 800,000 participants, the new analysis finds that people who remain single are at a 42 per cent greater risk of developing dementia than people who are married. 

Widowers were found to be 20 per cent more likely to develop the condition. 

There was no difference in the risk of dementia between those who were married and divorced.

The researchers suggest that part of this risk may be explained by poorer physical health among lifelong single people. 

Bereavement is likely to boost stress levels, which have been associated with impaired nerve signalling and cognitive abilities.

As these findings are based on observational studies, no firm conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn. 

But the researchers suggest that marriage may help both partners to have healthier lifestyles, including exercising more, eating a healthy diet, and smoking and drinking less, all of which have been associated with lower risk of dementia.

Dr James Pickett, head of research at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Recently, a number of studies exploring the link between marital status and dementia risk have hit the headlines. As this research combines evidence from 15 different studies, we can be more confident in the conclusion that married people, on average, have a reduced risk of dementia compared to those who are single.

“These studies can’t tell us what it is about married life that is important for brain health, but the analysis hints that poorer physical health among those who remain single is partly responsible. 

“The daily social contact that inevitably comes with marriage may also play a role, but more research is needed to confirm this is the case.

“Unfortunately for Harry and Meghan, I highly doubt marriage itself is a magic remedy for dementia – the positive benefits it may bring to combat loneliness and improve physical health can be achieved in other ways. 

“The best advice for people who are worried about dementia is to maintain good physical health by eating a balanced diet, taking regular exercise and properly managing diabetes and high blood pressure, alongside regular social and mental stimulation.”

Vitamin D has been claimed to reduce the risk of heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and even rheumatoid arthritis.

But, some scientists have also found that a vitamin D deficiency could increase the risk of developing dementia.


Viagra will be available to buy over the counter in the UK with NO prescription necessary

Men over the age of 18 will now be able to get their hands on the impotence drug over the counter. 

All that is required to obtain Viagra Connect, which contains 50g of sildenafil, is an assessment by a pharmacist.  

A prescription will no longer be required. 

The decision was made today by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) after a public consultation, with the idea in mind it will make the drug more available to men who may not have previously sought help. 

The change will mean Britain will become the first country in the world to offer Viagra over the counter. 

American drugmaker Pfizer has revealed it is working on launching the non-prescription version of the medicine in the UK in the spring of 2018. 

Pharmacists will be able to determine if the blue pill is appropriate for the patient, as well as offer advice on erectile dysfunction and possible side effects. 

But men with severe heart problems, those at risk of heart conditions, those with liver failure or those taking “interacting medicines” will still need a prescription. 

Mick Foy, MHRA’s group manager in vigilance and risk management of medicines, told the BBC: “This decision is good news for men’s health. 

“Erectile dysfunction can be a debilitating condition, so it’s important men feel they have fast access to quality and legitimate care, and do not feel they need to turn to counterfeit online supplies which could have potentially serous side-effects.” 

Talks of Viagra being available over the counter without prescription first emerged in March this year. 

Erectile dysfunction - also known as impotence - is the inability to get and maintain and erection. 

It can be caused by a range of conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Viagra works by relaxing blood vessels and boosting blood to flow to the penis.

Erectile dysfunction is very common - particularly among older men - and it is estimated that half of all men between the ages of 40 and 70 will have it to some extent.

It was announced in August this year that viagra and the morning after pill could be delivered by drone following successful UK trials. 


Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms: Reduce joint pain with dark chocolate and kidney beans

Antioxidants could reduce inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis patients, research has claimed.

Adding just 20g extra of antioxidants to diets could reduce the number of swollen and painful joints, a study revealed.

Important dietary antioxidants included vitamins A, C and E, as well as selenium.

Antioxidant-rich foods include dark chocolate, berries, kidney beans and pecans, according to nutritionist, Dr Josh Axe.

Scientists from the Netherlands analysed the effect of antioxidants on eight female rheumatoid arthritis patients.

They took 20g of antioxidants daily for 10 weeks, and their symptoms were recorded. Joint pain and inflammation was also analysed over the following four weeks.

Swelling and pain was “significantly decreased” after the initial 10-week period, the scientists claimed. Their general health significantly increased, too, they added.

Their symptoms subsequently increased over the following four weeks.

The researchers said: “This open pilot study aimed to assess the clinical relevance of an antioxidant intervention as a first step in assessing potential beneficial effects of antioxidants on rheumatoid arthritis.”

Clove, cinnamon and oregano are all antioxidant-rich herbs, said Dr Axe.

Therapeutic grade oils were highest in antioxidants, he added.

“Other antioxidant-rich herbs include garlic, cayenne pepper and green tea,” he said.

“Aim to consume two to three servings of these herbs or herbal teas daily.”

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks the cells lining joints by accident.

Those most at risk of developing the condition include women, smokers, and those with a family history of rheumatoid arthritis.

There’s currently no cure for the condition, but early diagnosis and supportive treatments could help to relieve symptoms.

Some medications can also help to slow down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis.


Prostate cancer symptoms: If you have THIS sign you should see a doctor

Finding blood in your urine could be an early sign of prostate cancer, according to medical website Healthline.

Blood that is clearly visible in the urine is known as gross hematuria, and it can turn it pink, red or cola-coloured.

The bleeding is caused by red blood cells, and isn’t always painful.

You should see your doctor anytime you notice blood in urine, and it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be diagnosed with prostate cancer, urged MayoClinic.

Other signs of prostate cancer include taking a long time to urinate or having a weak flow.

You could also feel the urge to urinate more often, or feeling like the bladder isn’t fully empty when you finish urinating.

Difficulty getting, or maintaining, an erection could also be a sign of prostate cancer, of which 40,000 new cases are diagnosed in the UK every year.

Seeing as the prostate plays a pivotal role in the male reproduction system, it could also cause a painful ejaculation.

The prostate is a satsuma-sized gland that helps to produce semen in men.

It produces the thick white fluid that’s combined with sperm to make semen.

The cause of prostate cancer is largely unknown, the NHS said. But, the risk of developing the disease increases as humans get older.

It’s also more common in men of African-Caribbean or African descent, it added.

Prostate cancer develops very slowly, and people can live without symptoms or treatment for decades.

If it’s been identified early on, doctors may recommend waiting to start treatment, and just carefully monitoring how it progresses.

The cancer could be removed through surgery, and it could be treated by radiotherapy, or hormone therapy.

In 2014, more than 11,000 people died from prostate cancer in the UK, and 84 per cent of people survived for 10 more years after their diagnosis.


Scarlet fever: Signs every parent MUST know about as disease hits 50-year high in England

The number of scarlet fever cases has reached a 50-year high in England, a report has revealed.

A total of 620 outbreaks were reported last year alone - the equivalent of seven times the number of cases within five years.

Scientists aren’t sure what has caused the rise in the number of cases, but they haven’t discounted a link to the rise in scarlet fever numbers in East Asia.

Public Health England urged parents to take their children to a GP if they begin to show signs of the infectious disease, which can cause a pink-red rash and a fever.

“Whilst current rates are nowhere near those seen in the early 1900s, the magnitude of the recent upsurge is greater than any documented in the last century,” said PHE’s Head of Streptococcal Surveillance, Dr Theresa Lamangi.

“Whilst notifications so far for 2017 suggest a slight decrease in numbers, we continue to monitor the situation carefully.

“Guidance on management of outbreaks in schools and nurseries has just been updated and research continues to further investigate the rise.

“We encourage parents to be aware of the symptoms of scarlet fever and to contact their GP if they think their child might have it.”

All areas of England reported a marked rise in scarlet fever cases, with children under 10 years old representing 87 per cent of total cases.

In 2013 - before the rise in cases - scarlet fever was reported in about 8.2 people per 100,000, on average, the report said. But, by the following year, the number of cases had risen to 27.2 people per 100,000.

The number of people hospitalised from the condition almost doubled between 2013 and 2016 - up to 1,300.

Several countries in East Asia also reported a rise in scarlet fever, including Vietnam, China, South Korea, and Hong Kong.

Some of the strains of bacteria found in the UK were also found in Hong Kong, the researchers said.

Dr Lamagni said: “Whilst there is no clear connection between the situation in the UK and East Asia, a link cannot be excluded without better understanding of the drivers behind these changes. The hunt for further explanations for the rise in scarlet fever goes on.”

Scarlet fever is an infection, caused by the Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria, and is most common in young children.

Symptoms of the condition include a sore throat, headache, fever, and swollen glands in the neck.

It also causes a rash, characterised by pink-red blotches that feels like sandpaper. It usually starts on the chest or stomach, before spreading to other areas, the NHS said.

The cheeks can turn very red, appearing like a sunburn, while a white coating may form on the tongue. The condition, known as strawberry tongue, usually lasts a couple of days, before the white peels away, leaving it red and swollen.

Scarlet fever is usually treated with antibiotics. Taking painkillers and drinking plenty of fluids could also help to relieve symptoms, the NHS said.

Contact your GP or NHS 111 if you’re concerned your child may have scarlet fever, or if you show signs of the infection.


Headache WARNING: Adding extra SALT to your meals could lead to painful migraines

Migraine patients have more sodium in their cerebrospinal fluid - which surrounds the brain and spinal cord.

Sodium is one of the key components of table salt.

Previous studies have confirmed that adding extra sodium to diets can raise the amount of the chemical in cerebrospinal fluid.

The findings could make treating migraines much easier, as until now, doctors have based diagnosing and treating severe headaches on the patients’ description of symptoms, which can be quite subjective.

“These findings might facilitate the challenging diagnosis of a migraine,” said author of the study, Dr Melissa Meyer.

“It would be helpful to have a diagnostic tool supporting or even diagnosing migraine and differentiating migraine from all other types of headaches.”

The findings came after a Japanese study revealed blood pressure and sodium levels in cerebrospinal fluid were higher after having a high-salt diet.

Having between 16 and 18g of salt a day increased the amount of salt in the fluid.

“A reduced sodium intake was associated with a significantly lower risk of headache, while dietary patterns had no effect on the risk of headaches in adults,” said author of the 2014 study, Lawrence Appel.

“Reduced dietary sodium intake offers a novel approach to prevent headaches.”

The average salt intake for UK adults was about 8g a day. Reducing the average daily amount by 2g could reduce the number of premature deaths by over 8,000, Public Health England said.

More than 10 million people in the UK get headaches regularly, according the NHS.

The exact cause of migraines is unknown, but it could be caused by chemical changes in blood vessels and nerves around the brain.

It could also be caused by stress, tiredness, certain foods or drinks, or starting a period, the NHS said.

While there isn’t a cure for migraines, symptoms could be reduced by taking painkillers, or medication called triptans.

The condition tends to get better over time, although some people find migraines get worse as they get older.


Heart attack risk: Having FAT in this part of the body could increase chances of strokes

The risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes was greater in people with fat deposits in the belly, muscles and liver, according to scientists at Harvard Medical School.

Having higher muscle and lean mass could act as a shield against cardiometabolic risk - the chances of developing diabetes, heart disease or stroke, they claimed.

A greater relative total body fat and thigh fat could also protect against the deadly conditions, they added.

Based on body shapes, men were more at risk of the conditions than women, it was revealed.

“Obese men have relatively higher visceral fat - fat within muscle cells and liver fat - which are all risk factors for cardiometabolic disease, compared to women with the same BMI [Body Mass Index],” said lead author of the research and radiologist, Dr Miriam Bredella.

“However, men have higher muscle and lean mass, which are protective for cardiometabolic health.

“Women have a higher relative amount of total body fat and higher superficial thigh fat, which is protective for cardiometabolic health.

“The detrimental fat depots deep in the belly, muscles and liver are more damaging for cardiometabolic health in women compared to men.”

The researchers compared 200 obese individuals’ body as part of the study - whether they had ‘pear-shaped’ or ‘apple-shaped’ body shapes.

In pear-shaped bodies, fat is distributed lower around the hips and thighs. While apple-shaped bodies have fat largely around the midsection.

Their BMI was compared after CT scans to determine body composition.

About one quarter of all UK adults are obese, the NHS said. Generally, a BMI score of between 18.5 and 24.9 means you’re a healthy weight, it added.

Cardiovascular disease causes 26 per cent of all deaths in the UK, according to the British Heart Foundation. 

About 42,000 people under 75 dies from the condition in the UK every year.

Coronary heart disease - which occurs when arteries become narrowed by fatty deposits - is the leading cause of death globally.

There are 2.3 million people living with heart disease in the UK.


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Liver cancer symptoms: These are the eight signs of the DEADLY condition

  • Liver cancer kills over 5,000 a year
  • Weight loss and feeling sick are symptoms of disease
  • Itchy skin and feeling full quickly after eating also linked to condition
  • Liver cancer cases increased 142 per cent since '90s

Liver cancer is a serious form of the disease that kills over 5,000 people a year.

According to Cancer Research UK, rates have risen by 142 per cent since the 1990s.

Primary liver cancer - that begins in the liver - is less common then secondary liver cancer, which begins elsewhere in the body and spreads to the liver.

According to the NHS, the exact cause is unknown, however most cases are linked to damage and scarring of the liver known as cirrhosis.

There are a number of risk factors associated with cirrhosis.

These include drinking excessive amounts of alcohol over a number years and having a long-term hepatitis B or hepatitis C viral infection.

Additionally, haemochromatosis - an inherited disorder in which iron levels in the body slowly build up - and primary bile cirrhosis, a long-term liver disease, could also be triggers.

The NHS recommend reducing your chances of developing the deadly condition by cutting down on alcohol, eating healthily, exercising regularly and reducing risk of hepatitis B and C infections.

But what are the signs?

Symptoms don’t normally appear until the cancer is at an advanced stage, however when they do they can include the following.

- Unintentional weight loss

- Loss of appetite 

- Feeling full after eating, even if the portion was small

- Feeling sick and vomiting

- Pain or swelling in your tummy

- Jaundice, which is the yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes

- Itchy skin

- Feeling very tired and weak

According to the American Cancer Society, other symptoms include fever, enlarged veins on the belly that can be seen through the skin, and abnormal bruising or bleeding.

The NHS advise visiting your GP if you develop any of the above symptoms.

While they’re likely to be another more common condition, it is getting them checked.


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Heart attack deaths to rise as obesity EPIDEMIC takes hold of UK

Falls in cardiovascular deaths over the past 50 years are threatened as dietary “indiscretions” and physical inactivity drive a rising tide of obesity and diabetes.

A new study showed that the UK now has some of the highest levels of obesity in Europe, and this could lead to an increase in deaths from cardiovascular diseases.

The researchers said the UK has the highest prevalence of adult obesity in males, with 26.9 per cent of adult men classed as obese.

This compares with an average of 21.4per cent among the 47 countries studied.

Britain also has the second highest prevalence of obesity in females – 29.2 per cent, compared with an average of 22.9 per cent.

The figures show that the UK has the fourth highest average body mass index for males and the seventh highest for women, along with the joint fifth highest prevalence of raised blood cholesterol.

Across the 47 countries, an average of 16.3 per cent of people had raised cholesterol but in the UK the figure was 21.7 per cent.

Despite the worrying levels of obesity, the authors found that Britain has the lowest prevalence of raised blood pressure and the prevalence of smoking is among the lowest in Europe.

This contributes to the UK’s position in the lower half of the cardiovascular mortality rankings.

The authors warned that “downward mortality trends for cardiovascular disease may be threatened by the emerging obesity epidemic that is seeing rates of diabetes increasing”.

The research team included members from Barts Heart Centre, Queen Mary University of London, Leeds University, Oxford University and the University of East Anglia, as well as academics from abroad.

They wrote: “The emerging obesity epidemic affecting high-income countries, driven by physical inactivity and dietary indiscretion, needs determined action if the steep downward trend in cardiovascular mortality that has occurred in the last 50 years is to be maintained.”

Lead author Dr Adam Timmis, from Queen Mary, said: “Heart disease still remains the leading cause of death for middle-income countries, while declines in high-income countries mean that cancer deaths have now become more common there.”

But this downward trend is under threat.

Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said: “While it is good news that fewer Britons are dying from heart attacks and have lower rates of blood pressure and smoking, the UK will not maintain this improvement without new strategies to tackle the real killer reported in this research.

“To have over five per cent higher obesity levels than any other European country is appalling and the researchers are correct in fearing worse statistics in years to come.”

In the study, published in the European Heart Journal, researchers examined cardiovascular disease across member countries of the European Society of Cardiology and other nations.


High blood pressure symptoms: 49p herb could lower risk of heart attacks

Oregano contains the chemical carvacrol, which can be used to reduce blood pressure, scientists have claimed.

The herb, which can be bought from 49p, doesn’t contain sodium - a high blood pressure risk factor.

Having high blood pressure puts extra stress on blood vessels, as well as vital organs, including the brain, kidneys and eyes.

The condition - also known as hypertension - increases the risk of heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks.

A 2007 study revealed carvacrol could reduce blood pressure in rats.

The chemical decreased their heart rate and the pressure in their arteries. It also helped to lower both their systolic and diastolic blood pressures, the scientists said.

Oregano could be substituted for salt in meals. Cutting back on salt could help to lower blood pressure, the NHS said.

Three-quarters of the salt we eat is already in everyday foods, including bread, breakfast cereals and ready meals, it added.

Following the DASH diet could also help to lower blood pressure, scientists revealed last week.

The diet - Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension - involves eatings lots of fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

Low-fat or fat-free dairy, fish, poultry, beans, seeds and nuts were also recommended.

People with the most serious hypertension would benefit more from a low-sodium diet or the DASH diet, than antihypertensive drugs - commonly used medication to treat high blood pressure.

Those most at risk of developing high blood pressure are smokers, those that are overweight, and people that don’t do enough exercise, the NHS said.

The chances of developing hypertension increases as people get older, and not getting enough sleep could increase risk.

High blood pressure symptoms usually don’t show, so it’s important to check blood pressure regularly, the NHS urged.

Blood pressure tests are available at GP surgeries and some pharmacies. 


Arthritis symptoms: Eating FIVE prunes daily could lower joint pain risk

Prunes could be used as a treatment for osteoarthritis, after a US study claimed they could stopped bone weakness.

Just 50g a day of prunes - about five or six - prevented the loss of bone mass in women that were at risk of developing osteoarthritis.

The researchers said eating 50g of prunes a day was just as beneficial as eating 100g of the fruit daily.

Osteoarthritis is the UK’s most common type of arthritis, and affects about eight million people.

“Over my career, I have tested numerous fruits, including figs, dates, strawberries and raisins, and none of them come anywhere close to having the effect on bone density that dried plums, or prunes, have,” said Bahram Arjmandi, a researcher working on the study by Florida State University.

“All fruits and vegetables have a positive effect on nutrition, but in terms of bone health, this particular food is exceptional.”

Arjmandi’s comments came after the study revealed prunes could slow the breakdown of bone.

The researchers analysed 100 postmenopausal women over a 12 month period. Just over half ate about 10 prunes a day, while the other 45 ate 100g of apples.

Their forearm and spine bone density was measured at the end of the 12 months.

Ajmandi said: “In the first five to seven postmenopausal years, women are at risk of losing bone at a rate of three to five per cent per year.

“However, osteoporosis is not exclusive to women and, indeed, around the age of 65, men start losing bone with the same rapidity as women.

“Don't wait until you get a fracture or you are diagnosed with osteoporosis and have to have prescribed medicine. Do something meaningful and practical beforehand.

“People could start eating two to three dried plums per day, and increase gradually to perhaps six to 10 per day. Prunes can be eaten in all forms and can be included in a variety of recipes.”

Arthritis Research UK said the results were interesting, but more studies were needed to confirm the link.

Osteoarthritis symptoms include joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and a grating or crackling sound when moving.

The condition is caused by cartilage breaking down in between joints, which makes moving joints difficult.

Risk of developing osteoarthritis is increased as patients get older, but it could also be caused by obesity, injury and a family history of the condition.

Exercising regularly, losing weight and maintaining good posture could help to reduce the chances of developing osteoarthritis, the NHS said.


Dementia symptoms: Could Vitamin D supplements prevent the condition?

Vitamin D has been claimed to reduce the risk of heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and even rheumatoid arthritis.

But, some scientists have also found that a vitamin D deficiency could increase the risk of developing dementia.

Earlier this year, Austrian researchers claimed people with more exposure to sunlight - a major source of vitamin D - had a lower risk of dementia.

About 850,000 people in the UK have dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.

In 2014, a study claimed patients with a deficiency in vitamin D were “substantially” more at risk of developing the condition.

Adults that were moderately deficient in the vitamin had a 53 per cent high risk of getting dementia.

Those who were severely deficient were 122 per cent more likely to develop the condition, the University of Exeter scientists claimed.

The study analysed more than 1,600 people, who were followed for six years to investigate who developed Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other forms of dementia.

“We expected to find an association between low vitamin D levels and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but the results were surprising,” said Dr David Llewellyn at the time, a researcher working on the study.

“We actually found that the association was twice as strong as we anticipated.

“Clinical trials are now needed to establish whether eating foods such as oily fish or taking vitamin D supplements can delay or even prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.”

More studies were needed to confirm the link between dementia and vitamin D, but the scientists said the findings were very encouraging.

“Even if a small number of people could benefit, this would have enormous public health implications given the devastating and costly nature of dementia,” said Llewellyn.

Another study in 2015, from the US, claimed lower vitamin D levels was linked to a decline in memory and thinking skills.

After the study, Alzheimer’s Research UK said a balanced diet and exercise was key to reducing the risk of dementia.

The charity’s Head of Research, Dr Simon Ridley, said: “Vitamin D plays an important role in keeping our bodies healthy and there are a number of studies that suggest a link between vitamin D deficiency and memory and thinking difficulties.

“While this new research suggests an association between low vitamin D levels and faster rates of memory loss, we don’t yet know whether taking supplements could stave off dementia or slow down decline in those who are already living with the condition.

“We need to see more research into this approach to understand the role vitamin D plays in dementia risk.

“A balanced diet is important for brain health and, alongside physical activity and keeping weight and blood pressure in check, can help reduce dementia risk.”


Diet for weight loss: Adding more of THIS 49p spice to food could PREVENT obesity

Adding more cinnamon to our diet could reduce the risk of obesity, according to scientists at the University of Michigan.

The festive spice contains an essential oil - cinnamaldehyde - which forces fat cells to start burning energy.

Fat usually stores all of its energy, which could lead to weight gain.

But, the researchers said cinnamon could be a solution to the obesity epidemic, by reducing the amount of energy stored in the body.

“Cinnamon has been part of our diets for thousands of years, and people generally enjoy it,” said Jun Wu, researcher working on the study.

“So, if it can help protect against obesity, too, it may offer an approach to metabolic health that is easier for patients to adhere to.”

Previous research had revealed cinnamaldehyde, which gives cinnamon its flavour, protected mice against obesity.

Until now, scientists weren’t sure how the spice managed to prevent weight gain, though.

Human fat cells were treated with cinnamaldehyde to uncover the findings. The cells were donated by a range of ages, ethnicities and body mass indices, the scientists said.

Seeing as cinnamon is already used extensively in the food sector, it may be easier for people to eat more of the spice, than to use medical supplements, said Wu.

“It's only been relatively recently that energy surplus has become a problem,” said Wu.

“Throughout evolution, the opposite - energy deficiency - has been the problem. So, any energy-consuming process usually turns off the moment the body doesn't need it.”

More research was needed to confirm that cinnamon could help to prevent obesity, however.

Meanwhile, whey protein has been found to blast fat while stoping dieters from feeling hungry.

In 2015, 58 per cent of women and 68 per cent of men were either overweight or obese, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Almost three-quarters of adults don’t eat the recommended five fruit or vegetables a day, it also revealed.


Men DO urinate more frequently with age – but THIS quick exercise can support the bladder

The pelvic floor is often linked to pregnant women, but men need to strengthen the muscles too, according to Consultant Urologist, Neil Halder.

Both men and women can benefit from doing simple pelvic floor exercises.

Pelvic floor muscles help to stop incontinence, treat prolapse and can make sex better.

You can feel your pelvic floor if you try to stop the flow of urine when you go to the toilet - although it’s not recommended to do this often, as it can be damaging to your bladder.

“The pelvic floor is often associated with pregnant women and exercises to support post-baby bodies,” said Halder.

“However, it is also important for men to strengthen their pelvic floor to help maintain urinary health, reduce the risk of incontinence, and improve sexual health and core physical strength.

“While many men develop the urge to urinate more frequently as part of the ageing process, little do they know a strong pelvic floor can help support the bladder and bowel; helping with problems with being ‘caught short’.

“There are a variety of reasons why men can develop urinary problems, from undergoing a health treatment or surgery, to being overweight or constipated.”

Daily exercises could help to maintain a strong pelvic floor, Halder added.

To strengthen the muscles, squeeze your pelvic floor 10 to 15 times in a row, while sitting down.

While squeezing, don’t hold your breath or tighten your stomach, the NHS recommended.

After a while, try holding each squeeze for a couple of seconds. You can add more squeezes every week, and should begin to notice the results after a few months.

Having a strong pelvic floor can increase the sensitivity during sex, and can even cause stronger orgasms for women, the NHS added.

Erectile dysfunction symptoms could also be reduced in men after strengthening the muscles.

Meanwhile, discomfort in womens’ pelvic floor could be a sign of ovarian cancer.

Other symptoms include back pain, a change in bowel habits, pain during sex, and unintentional weight loss.


High blood pressure: What is the 'silent killer' condition and how YOU can check it

FLIES could be infecting humans with bacteria that causes deadly CANCER

Flies can spread bacteria between people, US researchers have claimed.

Houseflies and blowflies were found to transmit the bacteria, Helicobacter pylori, as it ‘stuck’ to their legs and wings when flying between their breeding and feeding grounds.

The specific bacteria is relatively common, infecting about 60 per cent of the world’s adult population.

But, studies have claimed Helicobacter pylori increases the risk of stomach cancer.

“It will really make you think twice about eating that potato salad that's been sitting out at your next picnic,” said Donald Bryant, researcher working on the study.

“We believe that this may show a mechanism for pathogen transmission that has been overlooked by public health officials, and flies may contribute to the rapid transmission of pathogens in outbreak situations.”

Scientists hadn’t previously thought flies could transmit the bacteria between people, but the study found their legs and wings carried harmful bacteria between people.

“The legs and wings show the highest microbial diversity in the fly body, suggesting that bacteria use the flies as airborne shuttles,” said Stephen Schuster, another researcher from Penn State University.

“It may be that bacteria survive their journey, growing and spreading on a new surface. In fact, the study shows that each step of hundreds that a fly has taken leaves behind a microbial colony track, if the new surface supports bacterial growth.”

The study analysed 116 houseflies from three separate continents.

Fifteen of these flies were carrying the Helicobacter pylori bacteria in Brazil. In some cases, flies were carrying hundreds of different species of bacteria - many of which were harmful to humans, the scientists said.

Flies analysed from towns and cities carried more bacteria than those collected in stables.

“It might be better to have that picnic in the woods, far away from urban environments, not a central park,” said Bryant.

Most people with Helicobacter pylori infection don’t show any symptoms. But, it can lead to stomach ulcers, fever, heartburn and nausea.

The infection is also a major cause of stomach cancer, according to medical website Healthline. Although, most people infected with the bacteria don’t develop stomach cancer.

Eighty per cent of people over 60 have the infection, with higher rates in developing countries, according to the British Medical Journal.

Treatments to get rid of the bacteria include antibiotics, and surgery to remove stomach ulcers.