Weekly health roundup June 19

International health news

Top experts warn that air pollution could be more harmful to children in cars than outside. Exposure to toxic fumes is higher inside vehicles, especially for children sitting in the back seats. Air pollution could damage children’s developing lungs and could also affect their ability to learn at school.

Researchers at John Hopkins University have discovered a clue to stopping cancer metastasis, which is responsible for 90% of cancer deaths. The team has found that the spread of cancer does not depend on the primary tumor size, but on how closely the cancer cells are bundled. As current cancer treatment focus on reducing the tumor size, they have identified a new drug that could also interrupt the cancer cells development.

Scientists have developed a blood test that could help detect the best treatment for patients with prostate cancer. This could help doctors identify not only which specific treatment would be right for each patient, but also see if the drugs are working. Cancer Research UK have announced that the test could ‘greatly improve survival’.

Country updates

Since the Brexit vote in June 2016, the number of EU nurses registered to work in the UK has dropped by 96%. According to Nursing and Midwifery Council statistics, only 43 EU nurses came to work in the UK in April 2017, compared to 1,304 in July 2016. This decrease is making staff shortages worse in UK hospitals.

A report published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease states that the number of patients diagnosed with dementia and living alone in Sweden has increased to 46%. These patients do not get the same anti-dementia treatments and are more frequently prescribed antidepressants, antipsychotics and sedative drugs than patients in homes.

Health advice

The American Heart Association warns that coconut oil might be as unhealthy as beef fat and butter. Since it is full of saturated fat, eating too much of it could increase our levels of LDL cholesterol, known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol that can clog our arteries. People should try to limit any saturated fat intake, replacing them with unsaturated vegetable oils.

A new study published in the Frontiers in Immunology journal has reported that meditation and yoga could change how stress affects our DNA. Engaging in these activities could in fact help reverse molecular reactions to stress in our genes, which can lead to depression and health problems.