Rise in parents paying for umbilical cord blood banking

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Normally, following the birth of a baby, the placenta and cord blood are discarded in hospitals as waste materials The number of people paying thousands of pounds to freeze parts of their baby’s umbilical cord in case they get ill has risen sharply, figures show. Cord blood and tissue […]

Prescribing deer dung and pigeon slippers

Image copyright Wellcome Collection Image caption Simon Forman courted public attention with his mix of medicine, magic and astrology What would you do if you thought your children had turned into “rats and mice”? Or if you had the “French disease”? Or had trouble with witches? In 16th Century England, you might have visited two […]

Severe pregnancy sickness: ‘I thought I was dying’

Media captionEssex mum ‘bedbound for six months of pregnancy’ For Hannah Dalton, pregnancy meant not being able to drink fluids for eight months without throwing up, going into hospital 27 times for intravenous drips and living off ice lollies and anti-sickness medication. Hannah, 30, from Thundersley, Essex, had hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), the severe pregnancy sickness […]

Frail elderly ‘failed by care deserts’

Image copyright Getty Images The system for looking after frail older people in England is falling apart, with what are being dubbed “care deserts” emerging, a charity says. An analysis carried out for Age UK indicates about 30% of areas now have no residential care beds. The situation is even worse for nursing homes – […]

Glucosamine supplements ‘may cut heart risk’

Image copyright Getty Images Glucosamine supplements, better known as a remedy for joint pain, may lower a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), research suggests. The findings in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) come from nearly half a million people in the UK. Almost one in five of the 466,039 participants said they took glucosamine. […]

Thyroid disease ‘being over-treated’

Image copyright Getty Images Hundreds of thousands of people in the UK are being prescribed thyroid drugs unnecessarily, according to international researchers. They advise against lifelong hormone treatment for mild underactive thyroid problems (hypothyroidism), saying there is not enough proof it helps. The daily tablets do not appear to ease symptoms such as tiredness, low […]

Diet pills sold to teenager by UK stores, BBC report finds

Boots, Superdrug and Holland & Barrett have broken their own policies by selling diet pills to a 17-year-old without checking for ID, the BBC has found. The teenage actress, sent by BBC Watchdog, was able to buy diet pills in 17 out of 18 stores visited. A single branch of Boots was the only store […]

Spinal muscular atrophy: Spinraza approval delights family

Image copyright Katie Prescott Image caption Heidi Prescott-Booth was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy when she was three The mother of a girl with a muscle-wasting disease is delighted a drug that may slow her daughter’s condition has been approved for use on the NHS. NHS England said it has agreed the use of Spinraza […]

Mental health spending varies widely across England

Image copyright Getty Images There is nearly a two-fold difference in mental health spending across England, an analysis suggests. Mental health charity Mind looked at investment across 42 NHS regions. It found that Surrey Heartlands spent the least – £124 per person last year – compared with South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, which spent more than […]

NHS fines for 1.7 million people overturned, watchdog finds

Image caption Rachel was eligible for free treatment – but her family faced a fine of £160 after she went for a check-up at the dentist. “I was panicking, I didn’t know what to do,” said Trisha Costello, who faced a £160 fine after her daughter had gone for a check-up at the dentist. This […]