Daily digest July 30 2015

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

Male menopause is real, claims controversial new study

The male menopause is real and sufferers should be given testosterone as part of the treatment, according to a controversial new study.

In a paper in the Journal of Ageing, researchers at the Centre for Men’s Health in London estimated that about 20 per cent of men over 50 had a testosterone deficiency.

Those affected suffered hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat among other symptoms.

Read more on the Independent website

Experts issue end-of-life warning as shortage of unpaid carers expected

Unpaid carers to people with terminal cancer are providing health and social care worth £219 million each year - but health experts have warned that the government is going to need to stump up more resources.

They said the UK's increasingly ageing population will mean there will be fewer unpaid carers able to meet the demand in future.

A study published in the journal Palliative Medicine calculated that unpaid carers account for the equivalent of a third of the cost of end-of-life care for people with breast cancer. 

Read more on Mail Online

Number of kids with asthma down from 2004 peak as diet and air quality improves

The number of children suffering from asthma has dropped by a third, new figures show.

Childhood asthma rates in the UK have gone down by a third over the past decade because of changes to diet and air quality, as well as the condition being diagnosed more selectively nowadays.

But experts were surprised to find hay fever and eczema rates remained consistent during the same period.

Asthma is typically thought of as being an allergic condition, and allergy also causes hay fever and eczema.

They said that if asthma rates are dropping and hay fever and eczema are not, it suggests that allergy may not be that important to asthma after all.

The Aberdeen School Asthma Study is the UK’s oldest asthma survey and was first conducted 51 years ago when the rate was just 4.1 per cent.

Read more on the Mirror website

Tax on sugar could help us all shed half a stone, experts claim

Such a move would 'substantially reduce demand for sugar and sweets,' and lower the incidence of Type 2 diabetes by 13 per cent, it is claimed.

A debate by health experts in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) said the prevalence of coronary heart disease would also decrease, and that the poorest would see the greatest health benefits.

Sirpa Sarlio-Lahteenkorva, adjunct professor and ministerial adviser at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in Finland, quoted a 2011 study that concluded that a tax on sugar would generally be more effective than targeting specific food categories such as sugary drinks, which the British Medical Association has advocated.

The food industry may find this more acceptable because it would treat all sugar sources equally, and it could also raise demand for new products with less sugar which would be liable for less tax.

Ms Sarlio-Lahteenkorva said: 'We need fiscal policies that take health seriously.  Sugary foods and sugar sweetened beverages are associated with weight gain.  Governments must tackle the related adverse health effects, such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, and hypertension.

'A tax on sugar, preferably with measures that also target saturated fat and salt, and incentives for healthy eating would help.'

Read more on the Express website



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