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Today’s top health stories 17 April

April 17, 2015

New protein could help fight off cancer

Image source: Daily Telegraph – Wellcome Collection
Image source: Daily Telegraph – Wellcome Collection

An unknown protein which is believed to boost the body’s immune system to fight off viruses and cancer has been discovered by scientists at Imperial College London. With this “game-changing” discovery researchers hope to begin trialling new genetic therapy on humans in three years. The protein, lymphocyte expansion molecule (LEM), will allow a larger number of T cells to be produced, which will enable it to fight off all kinds of diseases.

Source: The Independent, Daily Telegraph

Simple blood test can detect cancer

Image source: Daily Telegraph

A major study has found that a blood test can predict breast cancer five years before it develops. Scientist said that this technique has an 80 percent accuracy level. The traditional method of using mammograms has a 75 percent accuracy level and only detects the cancer once it’s present. The new technique comes with some concerns that women might be undergoing needless treatments due to the number of “false positives” picked up by the scans. However the technique involves building a “metabolic profile” and measuring all the compounds in the blood to detect changes in the way chemicals are processed during the pre-cancerous stage.

Source: Daily Telegraph

Mental health experts call against austerity

Image source: The Guardian -- Alamy
Image source: The Guardian — Alamy

Psychotherapists and mental health experts said in a letter to the Guardian that austerity cuts are having a “profoundly disturbing” impact on people’s mental health. The letter stated that the main cause of distress is poverty and increasing inequality. “The profoundly disturbing psychological and quality-of-life implications of the Coalition Government’s cuts and policies have yet to be mentioned in the election campaign”, the letter said. According to more than 400 signatures, the consequences of “the emotional toxicity of neoliberal thinking” are evident in therapist’s consulting room.

Source: The Guardian, The Independent