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Medical News, August 15, 2015

Welcome back to this week’s edition of the medical news summary. This edition will be covering the latest in medical and health research news that occurred between the 8th to the 15th of August.

This week there have been several health studies published looking at the effects of fat on our health and weight. The first study has suggested that saturated fats such as those found in meat and dairy are not as bad for our health as previously thought. The study found that there was no link between food containing saturated fats, for example cream, and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases or type-2 diabetes. However, the study did indicate that industrially produced trans-fats which are made from hydrogenated oils are linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Trans-fats are often found in pre-packaged goods such cakes and crisps. The study published in the British Medical Journal has highlighted how previous attitudes towards foods high in saturated fats may have been misguided.

The other study published this week in relation to the impact of fat on our diet has suggested that cutting fat from your diet results in more fat loss than reducing carbohydrate intake. The study completed in the United States by the National Institute of Health placed two groups of participants on highly controlled diets. 19 obese people were included in the study and were initially placed on a diet of 2,700 calories per day. Following this, both groups reduced their calorie intake by a third, one group achieved this by reducing fat whilst the other reduced carbohydrates in their diet. The results which were published in the journal Cell Metabolism showed that after six days on the diets those reducing their fat intake lost an average of 463g of body weight whereas those who reduced carbohydrates only lost 245g of body fat.

Figures released this week have shown that the number of prescriptions for Ritalin and other ADHD medications have doubled in a decade. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder known as ADHD affects young children. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has stressed that Ritalin should only be prescribed as a last resort. Experts have put this increase in prescribing down to clinicians being too ready to prescribe psychostimulants to children and the fact that NHS spending on children’s mental health services has fallen more than 6% since 2010. Ritalin has been shown to be potentially harmful causing a child’s growth to be reduced by three quarters of an inch over a year long period. In addition to this, there is some evidence to suggest that Ritalin can precipitate self-harming conditions.

Research has suggest that patients who have received an organ via transplantation are at a far greater risk of developing skin cancer. Research has indicated that this might be due to the necessary drugs that transplant receivers need to take to suppress the immune system. The study shows that those who have received a transplant are at an increased risk of both being diagnosed with invasive melanoma and also dying from the condition. This is due to the fact that melanoma is more aggressive in patients with transplant-related immunosuppression.

New research has indicated that providing pregnant women with iodine supplements could boost children’s IQ and save thousands in future health care costs. Iodine is found naturally in food such as cow’s milk, cereals, grains and oily fish. Iodine plays an important role in a baby’s development especially in the development of a healthy nervous system and brain. Severe iodine deficiency in pregnancy is currently one of the leading causes of brain damage in developing countries. Currently, no national guidance has been published regarding iodine supplementation through pregnancy.

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