Daily digest April 30 2015

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

An extra four years’ life as health keeps improving

Britons will live up to four years longer than official estimates suggest, a major study has found.

Traditional forecasts have underestimated advances in medicine and nutrition which have dramatically improved life spans, according to researchers at Imperial College London who predict that life expectancy nationally will increase for men from 79.5 years for those born today to 85.7 for those born in 2030, and for women from 83.3 to 87.6. 

As reported in the Daily Telegraph, the figures are in contrast to those released by the Office for National Statistics which suggest longevity will improve by just 2.4 years for men in that period and by one year for women.

Read more on the Telegraph website

24-hour drinking law was a mistake, admits Burnham

Bringing in round-the-clock drinking was a mistake, one of Labour’s most senior figures conceded yesterday. 

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham was challenged about Tony Blair’s 2005 law during a debate on the BBC’s Daily Politics programme. When health spokesmen from five parties were asked if 24-hour drinking was a mistake, they all replied ‘yes’, including Mr Burnham. 

The Daily Mail has reported that experts believe the policy is still having harmful effects today, with parts of Britain ‘awash’ with cheap alcohol and plagued by late-night violence. 

Read more on the Mail Online website

New Down’s test is boost for NHS

A new urine test for Down’s syndrome could save the NHS millions, the Sun has reported. 

The test checks for proteins, gives a result in around a minute, has a 90% detection rate and can be used from eight weeks into pregnancy as opposed to current tests, which can only be used from 11 weeks onwards. 

Ray Iles, chief operating officer of MAP Diagnostics which has developed the test, said it was ‘the result of a lifetime’s work’ and ‘we expect the NHS will jump at the chance to improve accuracy, timing and cost’. 

(£) Read more on the Sun website

3D printers used to make lifesaving windpipe implants for babies

A three-year-old boy has become the first patient in the world to be cured of a potentially fatal illness with a biodegradable implant made to the patient’s exact specifications by 3D printing technology, doctors have said.

The boy from the United States underwent pioneering emergency surgery involving the insertion of 3D printed splints into his throat which were designed to keep his windpipes open while allowing him to grow normally.

As reported in the Independent, Kaiba Gionfriddo from Ohio underwent the operation in 2012 when he was just three months old and suffering from a disease which causes the windpipe to collapse periodically, preventing normal breathing, and scientists have announced that he is now deemed to be effectively cured. 

Read more on the Independent website

This is a free article for registered users

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this? You can register for free access.