Daily digest August 25 2015

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

Pregnant women's diet linked to baby heart risk

Women who eat healthily before and during pregnancy may cut the risk of their baby developing a heart problem, say researchers.

The link is suggested by a study of 19,000 women in the United States who were asked about their diet in the year leading up to pregnancy, the BBC reports.

A healthy diet was considered one with plenty of fresh fish, nuts and vegetables. Experts recommend folic acid to reduce the risk of other birth defects such as spina bifida, and vitamin D for healthy bones and teeth.

Read more on the BBC website

Cancer cells programmed back to normal by US scientists

Aggressive breast, lung and bladder cancer cells have for the first time been turned back into harmless benign cells by restoring the function that prevents them from multiplying excessively and forming dangerous growths, The Telegraph reports.

Scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Florida, US, said it was like applying the brakes to a speeding car.

So far it has only been tested on human cells in the laboratory, but the researchers are hopeful that the technique could one day be used to target tumours so that cancer could be ‘switched off’ without the need for harsh chemotherapy or surgery.

Read more on The Telegraph website 

Universal flu vaccine a step closer as scientists create experimental jabs

A universal flu vaccine that protects against multiple strains of the virus has come a step closer after scientists created experimental jabs that work in animals.

The vaccines prevented deaths or reduced symptoms in mice, ferrets and monkeys infected with different types of flu, raising hopes for a reliable alternative to the seasonal vaccine, The Guardian reports.

Doctors hope that a universal flu vaccine would do away with the need for people at risk to have flu jabs every year, and even protect the public from dangerous, potentially pandemic, strains that jump from birds or pigs to humans.

Read more on The Guardian website 

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