Daily digest July 13 2015

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

Hospital waiting lists at seven-year high as 3.4 million need treatment

Almost 3.4 million patients are languishing on NHS waiting lists – the highest number in seven years, the Daily Mail has reported.

They include more than 6,100 forced to wait at least a year for operations or treatment, and in the worst examples, the delay has been nearly three years.

The numbers are the highest since January 2008 and show the extent to which hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of the growing, ageing population.

Read more on the Mail Online website

Doctors call for 20p tax on sugary drinks to fund low-price fruit and vegetables

Unhealthy soft drinks should be hit with a 20p sugar tax as a ‘useful first step’ towards the long-term goal of taxing a wide range of products that fuel obesity, doctors’ leaders are urging.

As reported in The Independent, the British Medical Association said imposing the tax could reduce the prevalence of obesity in the UK by around 180,000 people.

The money raised from the tax could be used to subsidise cheaper fruit and vegetables for poor families, the organisation suggests.

Read more on The Independent website

Half of older women unclear on breast cancer symptoms

Half of women aged 70 and over cannot name a breast cancer symptom other than a lump, despite one in three who are diagnosed with the disease being from that age group, a Public Health England survey has found.

About three in 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer report a symptom other than a lump, illustrating the importance of women being aware of alternative manifestations of the potentially fatal disease, The Guardian has reported.

Chief medical officer for England Dame Sally Davies said: ‘You are never too old to get breast cancer. It is not always a lump and women should look out for any changes in the shape of the breast, a change to a nipple or to the skin.’

Read more on The Guardian website

15-year-old schoolboy develops test for Alzheimer's disease

A 15-year-old British boy has developed a potential test for Alzheimer’s disease which could allow the condition to be diagnosed 10 years before the first symptoms appear, the Daily Telegraph has reported.

Currently Alzheimer’s can only be detected through a series of cognitive tests or by looking at the brain after death.

But Krtin Nithiyanandam of Epsom, Surrey, has developed a ‘trojan horse’ antibody which can penetrate the brain and attach to neurotoxic proteins that are present in the very first stages of the disease.

Read more on The Telegraph website

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