Despite the Conservative Party having promised to increase NHS spending by £8 billion a year during this parliament – the minimum demanded by its managers – we learn of a crisis within the institution that promises a financial shortfall of £20 billion by 2020-21. Without (so far) any consultation, the NHS proposes a massive reorganisation that could include hospital closures and cuts, and these could start within months, just as the NHS suffers its winter overload.
Why have things come to this? According to Government figures, the £437 million spent in the first year of the NHS’s existence in 1948-49 is equivalent to £15 billion today.
Millions of people over the age of 50 risk harming their health if they follow new NHS guidance telling them to take statins, leading doctors have warned the Health Secretary.
Proposals to advise 12 million people to take the drugs could have “worrying” consequences because the plans were borne out of an “overdependence” on studies funded by the pharmaceutical industry, they say.
The group cites research, independent of the drug industry, showing that statins have been associated with a 48 per cent increase in the risk of diabetes in middle-aged women. Other potential side effects could include depression, fatigue and erectile dysfunction, they warn.
A person’s entire immune system can be rejuvenated by fasting for as little as three days as it triggers the body to start producing new white blood cells, a study suggests.
Fasting for as little as three days can regenerate the entire immune system, even in the elderly, scientists have found in a breakthrough described as “remarkable”.
Although fasting diets have been criticised by nutritionists for being unhealthy, new research suggests starving the body kick-starts stem cells into producing new white blood cells, which fight off infection.
Scientists at the University of Southern California say the discovery could be particularly beneficial for people suffering from damaged immune systems, such as cancer patients on chemotherapy.
A leading scientist, who has been fighting breast cancer since 1987, says the disease is overwhelmingly linked to animal products.
In 1993, the breast cancer that had plagued Jane Plant since 1987 returned for the fifth time. It came in the shape of a secondary tumour – a lump in her neck the size of half a boiled egg. Doctors told her that she had only months to live.
Then a mother of two young children, Prof Plant recalls the shocked discussion she had with her husband, Peter. As scientists – she is a geochemist, he a geologist – they had both worked in China on environmental issues, and knew that Chinese women had historically very low rates of breast cancer: one epidemiological study from the Seventies showed the disease affected one in 100,000 Chinese women, compared with one in 12 in the West.
After looking more closely at the research, I’d concluded that statins were not going to save me from a heart attack and that my cholesterol levels were all but irrelevant.
Dr Haroun Gajraj
When I had a routine health check-up eight years ago, my cholesterol was so high that the laboratory thought there had been a mistake. I had 9.3 millimoles of cholesterol in every litre of blood — almost twice the recommended maximum.
It was quite a shock. The GP instantly prescribed statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs that are supposed to prevent heart disease and strokes. For eight years, I faithfully popped my 20mg atorvastatin pills, without side effects.