Daily digest April 17 2015

Missed the news? Read our summary of the latest health stories here

Labour declines to match £8bn NHS pledge

Labour will reject pressure to match Tory and Liberal Democrat pledges to inject an extra £8bn into the health budget, despite a warning from a former NHS chief that it faces a severe cash crisis, the Independent has reported.

Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, believe that such a promise would undermine Labour’s attempt to win the voters’ trust on the economy by making the deficit its top priority in its election manifesto, though some Labour candidates want the leadership to pledge an extra £8bn before next month’s election.

Sir David Nicholson, who retired last year as chief executive of NHS England, said it would be ‘helpful’ for Labour to pledge the £8bn a year suggested by his successor Simon Stevens but he told BBC Radio 4  that the money was needed in the current and next financial year, not by 2020 as the Tories and Lib Dems have promised.

Read more on the Independent website: click here

Study finds link between osteoporosis and sudden deafness

Women who suffer osteoporosis face almost double the risk of developing sudden deafness compared with those who do not have the bone disease, say researchers.

They believe the underlying processes that lead to rapidly thinning bones are also affecting other systems in the body, the Daily Mail has reported.

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), also called sudden deafness, is an unexplained, rapid loss of hearing that typically happens in one ear.

Study author Kal-Jen Tien, of the Chi Mei Medical Centre in Taiwan, said: ‘Our findings suggest SSHL can be another broader health problem connected to osteoporosis.’

Read more on the Daily Mail website: click here

‘Game-changer’ protein could help kill off cancer

A protein which ‘turbo-charges’ the immune system so that it can fight off any cancer or virus has been discovered by scientists, the Daily Telegraph has reported.

In a breakthrough described as a ‘game-changer’ for cancer treatment, researchers found a previously unknown molecule which boosts the body’s ability to fight off chronic illnesses.

Scientists at Imperial College London, who led the study, are now developing a gene therapy based on the protein and hope to begin human trials in three years.

Read more on the Daily Telegraph website: click here

Staring into your dog’s eyes is good for both of you

A rush of hormone that helps people bond could explain why humans and dogs have been best friends for thousands of years, say researchers in Japan.

The scientists found that dog owners experienced a surge of oxytocin when their pets gazed into their eyes, a dramatic effect that was mirrored in the animals themselves.

The same hormone has been shown to spike in mothers’ brains when they look into their children’s eyes and the physiological response drives maternal caring and strengthens the bond between mothers and their babies, the Guardian has reported.

Read more on the Guardian website: click here

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