Primary Care Services

Genetic tests: Experts urge caution over home testing

Genetic tests: Experts urge caution over home testing. GETTY IMAGES People should not make health decisions based on genetic tests they do at home, experts have warned. The University of Southampton team, writing in the British Medical Journal, warn results can be unreliable. The geneticists said the tests could be wrongly reassuring - or lead to unnecessary worry. 23andMe, one of the companies offering tests, said there were "many cases" where results had prompted further checks and preventative treatment. The research does not cover genetic screening [...]

EpiPen shortage ‘worrying’ for people with allergies

EpiPen shortage 'worrying' for people with allergies. SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY A shortage of EpiPens is causing worry for people with allergies in the UK. The makers of the adrenaline injection pen, which is used to treat severe and life threatening allergic reactions, say the supply problems are due to manufacturing issues. The Department of Health said they were working with the manufacturers to "resolve the supply situation as quickly as possible". They said limited supplies were being closely managed. "Any patient who is unable to [...]

Bedside light tool could detect baby brain injury earlier

Bedside light tool could detect baby brain injury earlier. UCL Sick babies admitted to a neonatal unit after a difficult birth could benefit from a new bedside tool to detect brain damage, researchers believe. The team at University College London has developed a device which shines light into the brain to monitor oxygen and energy levels. Broadband near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) could help doctors assess brain damage earlier and tailor treatment. A clinical trial of the technology is now planned. According to the National Neonatal Database, [...]

Mediterranean diet ‘may help prevent depression’

Mediterranean diet 'may help prevent depression'. GETTY IMAGES Eating a Mediterranean diet may help prevent depression, research suggests. But an expert in metabolic medicine says more rigorous, targeted trials are needed to confirm evidence of the potential link. The findings, in Molecular Psychiatry, come from a review of 41 studies published within the last eight years. A plant-based diet of fruit, veg, grains, fish, nuts and olive oil - but not too much meat or dairy - appeared to have benefits in terms of mood. Experts [...]

Cannabis ‘more harmful than alcohol’ for teen brains

Cannabis 'more harmful than alcohol' for teen brains. GETTY IMAGES Teenagers using cannabis are causing long-lasting damage to their developing brains, a Canadian study suggests. It found the impact on thinking skills, memory and behaviour was worse than that of teenage drinking. The researchers, from the University of Montreal, urged teenagers to delay their use of cannabis for as long as they felt able. The study tracked and tested 3,800 adolescents over four years, starting from around the age of 13. Drinking alcohol and taking [...]