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Weekly News Summary – 21st August 2017

Welcome back to this week’s new edition of the news summary blog. This blog keeps you up to date with all the latest medical news. This edition will cover the key health stories from 14th to 19th of August. This week a study has indicated that junk food could increase cancer risk in women of a healthy weight, a drug resistant fungus outbreak has occurred in several hospitals in the UK and a peanut allergy treatment that lasts up to four years has been developed.  

A study published by the College of Public Health, the University of Arizona has found that junk food such as burgers or pizza could increase the risk of developing cancer, independent of links to obesity. The data looked at postmenopausal women in the 1990s and then tracked them for 15 years to determine the presence of cancer. They defined “junk food” as food that is rich in calories but low in nutrients. The study attempted to account for differences in diet and lifestyle. However, the results are not conclusive and further studies will need to be conducted to finalise the link between cancer and junk food.

Drug-resistant fungus outbreak has broken out in 200 UK hospital patients.  Candia auris infections that target the immune system have been diagnosed across twenty different NHS trusts and independent hospitals. Three of the hospitals are tackling the outbreaks. The fungus can live on the skin as well as inside the body causing serious health implications in those with weakened immune systems. The outbreaks have been resolved in all but one hospital. Experts are concerned as the strain of fungus is resistant to commonly prescribed anti-fungal drugs.

An oral treatment for peanut allergy has been developed that lasts up to four years. The children in the study were given a probiotic with a peanut protein each day for 18 months. When the children were tested a month after taking the probiotics 80% could tolerate peanuts without any allergic symptoms. After four years 70% of the children could eat peanuts without suffering any side effects. With food allergies on the increase the probiotic offers a promising prevention to allergies. The probiotic used was Lactobacillus rhamnosus which has previously been linked to preventing certain allergic symptoms.    

Words: Joelle Booth

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