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Daily digest May 14 2015

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

Blair delayed alternative medicines change after prince’s letter

Tony Blair agreed to postpone implementation of new EU rules restricting the sale of herbal medicines after lobbying by the Prince of Wales in February 2005, letters published yesterday reveal.

The then prime minister told the prince, who had given him ‘sensible and constructive’ contacts in the herbal medicines world, that he would be ‘consulting with your colleagues and others’ on the best way to bring about changes to the planned implementation of the EU directive on herbal medicines, the Guardian has reported.

‘We simply cannot have burdensome regulation here,’ Blair said in a letter to the prince on 30 March 2005.

Read more on the Guardian website

Superbugs battle could cost taxpayers billions

Drug companies should be given billions by government to develop new antibiotics, according to the man heading the official taskforce charged with fighting the rise of superbugs.

The ‘global taxpayer’ should stump up about £2 billion for each new drug, because this is ‘peanuts’ compared with the devastating threat to modern medicine if antibiotics stop working, said Jim O’Neill.

Mr O’Neill, a former chief economist at investment banking firm Goldman Sachs, was appointed by prime minister David Cameron last year to find ways to combat treatment-resistant infections. He warned that the pharmaceutical industry would become as reviled as the banks if it ignored the long-term threat for the sake of short-term profit, the Times reports.

(£) Read more on the Times website

One in five who think weight is normal are too heavy

Millions who do not think they are overweight are telling themselves a big lie, the Daily Mirror has reported. 

One in five adults in Britain who believe they weigh the right amount are officially overweight, a study by market researchers Opinium and the European Association for the Study of Obesity has shown. 

One in three who class themselves as overweight are in fact obese, and experts warn that people who are in denial about being overweight face a greater danger of major health problems. 

Read more on the Mirror website

Blood test could spot sepsis early

Scientists have cracked the secrets of one of Britain’s biggest killers – paving the way for a life-saving blood test, the Daily Mail has reported. 

The breakthrough by scientists at Stanford University in California has shown that sepsis, a potentially fatal type of blood poisoning, leaves 11 tell-tale signs in the blood. The discovery raises the hope of a simple blood test to rapidly detect the illness, which could give results in under an hour. 

The researchers have identified 11 genes out of the 24,000 in the body that create a distinct pattern when someone has sepsis. Crucially, the pattern is not present in patients who have another illness that is often mistaken for sepsis. 

Read more on the Mail Online website

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