Daily digest September 3 2015

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

Diabetes drug may help treat leukaemia

A drug used to treat diabetes could help in the fight against blood cancer, early research suggests.

An international team of scientists gave a combination of the drug pioglitazone and standard treatment to patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia.

Those who received the combination therapy were more likely to be free of the disease for longer, the journal Nature reports.

Read more on the BBC website

People living longer, but with ill health

New figures have revealed that life expectancy at birth increases by nearly three years every decade.

For men, life expectancy at birth has increased from 51 years in 1910-1912 to 79 years today, while for women it has risen from 55 in 1910 to 83 today, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

However, researchers writing in the online medical journal The Lancet said: ‘People around the world are living longer, even in some of the poorest countries, but a complex mix of fatal and non-fatal ailments causes a tremendous amount of health loss.’

Read more on The Telegraph website

Ex-prisoners with mental health problems ‘more likely to reoffend’

Ex-prisoners with common mental health problems, such as bipolar disorder, and who misuse drugs and alcohol, are more likely than other former prisoners to commit violent offences, according to research.

The study from Oxford University has raised concerns among some experts that it may lead to assumptions that mentally ill people are more prone to violence than others.

But the authors challenge this interpretation, and have called for better diagnosis and treatment of mental illness for offenders in prison and after release, with the aim of bringing down the reoffending rate.

Read more on The Guardian website

Europe records first polio cases in five years

Two children have become the first people in Europe to be diagnosed with polio since 2010.

The four year old and ten month old in Ukraine have both been paralysed by the virus, the Independent reports.

The World Health Organization is considering a vaccination programme, but its polio eradication spokesperson Oliver Rosenbauer said that others in the Ukraine will already have the virus, which is transmitted in insanitary environments such as sewage systems. It can cause paralysis within hours.

He added: ‘This is an epidemic-prone disease. It is a virus that is very good at finding susceptible children.’

Read more on The Independent website

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