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Daily digest July 16 2015

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

Health secretary challenges top doctors to 'get real' and start working weekends

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt will today put himself on collision course with top doctors by vowing to make them work weekends if their union refuses to negotiate changes intended to save lives.

He is threatening to impose new terms to stop hospital consultants opting out of evening and weekend work unless the ‘out of touch’ British Medical Association agrees a seven-day deal.

Mr Hunt also wants to end ‘extortionate’ overtime payments to consultants called in after office hours.

The measures aim to help create a proper seven-day-a-week health service by 2020, saving thousands of lives a year now believed lost because of inadequate weekend hospital staffing.

Read more on the Express website

First signs of heart disease apparent in children as young as five

The first signs of heart disease and problems with circulation can be detected in children as young as five, new research suggests.

This is essentially because they are not getting enough vitamin D, which is produced by the body when it is exposed to sunlight, scientists say.

Heart disease is normally seen in adults and is caused by lifestyle factors such as smoking, unhealthy diet, high blood pressure, being overweight or obese, failing to exercise and diabetes.

Now Canadian researchers say they have found a statistically significant association between low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which clogs arteries, and levels of vitamin D in children aged one to five, the Mail Online reports.

Previous research has linked low vitamin D levels in adults to cardiovascular disease, as well as other health issues such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

The results found a 'statistically significant association' between higher vitamin D levels and lower total cholesterol.

Read more on the Mail Online

Over-65s most at risk of developing epilepsy

One in four newly diagnosed people with epilepsy are aged over 60, but pre-existing illnesses and living alone can prevent an accurate diagnosis, according to Epilepsy Action.

The organisation, which offers support and campaigns for improvements in services and policy, is calling for better care and access to treatment for older people with epilepsy.

It says a person is diagnosed with epilepsy every four minutes in the UK, and the over-65s are now the largest group in which a first seizure is reported.

The condition is becoming increasingly difficult for doctors to diagnose, particularly in individuals with existing medical conditions. However, the onset of the condition in later life may be an early indicator of cerebrovascular disease, which can cause stroke and brain haemorrhage.

Yet with few geriatricians specialising in epilepsy, the need for improvements in the treatment of late-onset epilepsy has never been greater, the organisation says.

Read more on the Telegraph website

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