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Common drugs can increase risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s

Common drugs for problems such as hay fever and insomnia—including over-the-counter preparations that don’t require a prescription—can increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, a new study has found. more »

Triple the number of children now has celiac disease

The number of children diagnosed with celiac disease—where there is a serious auto-immune reaction to dietary gluten from wheat, barley and rye—has trebled in the UK over the past 20 years. more »

Healthier diet six times more effective than statins

Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs save around 750 lives a year in the UK, a new study suggests—but exercising and eating a healthy diet could save around six times that number, and prevent 4,600 deaths from heart disease. more »

Fatty acids in fish counteract the mercury, say researchers

Good news this week for everyone caught in the ‘fish dilemma’: scientists have discovered that the fatty acids in fish protect the brain from the toxic effects of the mercury, which is also found in many types of fish. more »

Wonder how long you’ll live? Just ask your friends

You don’t need a doctor or an array of medical tests to know how long you’ll live—your friends can tell you. Even when you’re in your 20s, your friends can predict whether you’ll make it to 75, and they are uncannily accurate. more »

Painkillers during pregnancy increase risk of serious birth defects

Around a third of pregnant women take a prescription painkiller, such as codeine, oxycodone or morphine, but few realise the drugs increase the risk for serious birth defects in the baby’s brain, spine and heart. more »

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The Medical Detective - Dr Gaier's casebook The whole tooth Q: I have six children (mostly teenagers) and a husband. We seem to have endless problems with our teeth and gums—gumboils, caries, toothache, wisdom teeth—and now even TMJ symptoms have appeared. And all of these are associated with pain that is often very severe. Can you suggest anything, please? N.B. via email