There was a great variety of health news stories in 2017. Here are are just some of the stories that hit the headlines last year.
In January, there was good news from the World Health Organisation (WHO), as they reported that rates of global deaths from breast cancer were falling. 39 out of 47 countries surveyed, reported a drop in rates. Within that, the data was not available for some Latin American, Asian and African populations. The survey also found that more young women were surviving for longer. WHO found it difficult to attribute the fall to any one reason, because of the difficulty in comparing different health systems. WHO encourage countries to implement early detection and screening systems to help keep the mortality rate from breast cancer down.
In February, studies suggested that eating disorders could appear in middle-age as well as in teenagers. The study pinpointed that women were particularly at risk. A US study also highlighted the benefits of music and meditation for Alzheimer’s patients. The study found that participants experienced improved memory and cognitive performance. Benefits for sleep patterns, stress levels, positive mood and quality of life were also experienced. Finally, horses were shown to be able to ask their human carers with help for problem-solving.
In March, scientists found that encouraging young people to eat more fruit could have a positive effect on their mental health. Scientists also found that children’s development could be improved by owning a pet.
In April, we looked at the impact of exercise on joints and the heart while scientists reported on the effects of air pollution on babies and young children on the walk to school. They suggested that buggy and pram covers may be needed to protect the children.
In May, a population survey suggested that a quarter of young women were experiencing mental health problems. The Office for National Statistics, which takes the survey in the UK every 7 years, suggested that although employment for young people was at a high, modern life can still cause stress for young women in particular.
In June, US scientists were looking at developing a saliva test for dementia. They found that it may be possible to differentiate between people who were experiencing mild cognitive symptoms, those who had no symptoms and those who had developed Alzheimer’s disease. More study would be needed to prove the results of the study. We also examined the impact of exercise on the lungs.
July brought a report by a London hospital that had managed to reduce its incidence of Group B Strep for newborn babies by introducing a pilot screening programme. The study was observational, and more research would be needed for a national screening programme, but the doctors noted that introducing screening in areas where rates were high, might be of benefit.
In August, the results of an international study were brought to an international Alzheimer’s conference which suggested 9 lifestyle changes which would help reduce the risk of the disease. Another study asked the important question of whether patients should always finish their course of antibiotics? The impact of exercise on the back was examined.
In September, a WHO report suggested that the availability of cheap roll-your-own tobacco was a factor that did not help smokers to quit. It also set tough targets of reducing the amount of smokers globally by one third. The impact of exercise on mental health was also examined.
In October, a study examined people from prehistoric times and proved that incidences of knee osteoarthritis were getting more common. A heart health test from Public Health England showed that 10% of men had heart that was ten years older than their actual age. A study also offered the good news that type 2 diabetes could be reversed with lifestyle changes.
In November, a study suggested that the alcohol industry had misled the public and could be likened to the tobacco industry because of the misleading information that was published on the risk of cancer for drinkers. We examined the effect of exercise on ageing and announced that we were now a supplier for the 3D printed anatomy series from Monash University and Erler Zimmer.
In December, Scotland won a bid in the EU supreme court to introduce a minimum price for alcohol per unit. The move is expected to bring an end to cheap drink deals in supermarkets, but not affect the price of a pub pint.
These were just some of the stories in 2017, now we look forward to see what 2018 will bring.