From today's UK papers

March 22, 2002

Blood test gives hope of early Alzheimer's diagnosis
A blood test that could detect the risk of Alzheimer's disease up to 20 years before symptoms show is undergoing trials. The breakthrough has been made by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, and the pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly. The test could also help distinguish between those suffering from dementia caused by Alzheimer’s and those suffering from other types of dementia. (The Daily Mail, The Times, The Guardian, The Financial Times)

British Library makes explosive Fawkes find
Gunpowder that Guy Fawkes planned to use to blow up Parliament may have been discovered after 400 years by curators at the British Library. The package was found in a basement. It was part of a collection from the archive of 17th-century diarist John Evelyn. (The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Times, The Guardian)

Binge drinking increases cancer risk
Young women who drink to excess greatly increase their risk of breast cancer, according to Peter Boyle, a professor of cancer epidemiology at Birmingham University. He was speaking at the third European Breast Cancer Conference, in Barcelona. Regular binge drinking - consuming more than six units in a session - increases the risk of contracting the disease by 40 per cent. Delaying having children, not exercising and not eating enough fruit and vegetables also increases the risk for women. (The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Daily Telegraph, The Times)

'Economy-class syndrome' is also first-class condition
A professor has warned against referring to deep-vein thrombosis as 'economy-class syndrome' after a woman who travelled from Miami to Gatwick in first class died from a blood clot, believed to have moved from her leg to her lung. John Scurr, of the Lister Hospital, London, said most of the victims he had seen had travelled business and first class. (The Daily Mail, The Independent)

Professor to become first cyborg
A cybernetics professor is to become the first cyborg - part human, part machine. Kevin Warwick of  Reading University will have his nervous system linked to a computer. An implant in his arm will allow every feeling of shock or pain and every movement to be encoded. Electric signals will be fed back into his nervous system to see if feelings can be reproduced. (The Daily Mail)

Skate declared extinct in North Sea
A species of fish that was once one of the most common in Britain was yesterday declared extinct in the North Sea. Skate has been wiped out by industrial fishing trawlers. A meeting of environment ministers from states bordering the North Sea has called for cuts in fishing fleets. (The Daily Mail, The Daily Express)

Water pollutants are feminising cod
Massive volumes of polluted water discharged into the North Sea by oil and gas rigs are harming the spawning of cod, which is already endangered by over-fishing. Barely traceable chemicals called alkylphenois are causing male cod to become feminised, according to Dr Ole Arve Misund who was speaking at a conference of North Sea environment ministers. (The Daily Telegraph, The Independent)

'Beckham' A level unveiled
Yesterday it was announced that footballers would be able to study for a new exam worth the equivalent of three A levels to stop them growing up without qualifications. The Btec sport exam will test students on subjects such as psychology, philosophy and nutrition. (The Daily Mail)

Magnetic North Pole makes exit from Canada
The magnetic North Pole is about to wander out of Canadian territorial waters for the first time in at least 400 years according to scientists. A study by the Geological Survey of Canada has found that the magnetic North Pole has started to move faster than it has done over the past century. (The Independent)  

Multimedia weather alert system on the cards
People whose homes are in danger of floods will soon be able to receive warnings by text message, email, the internet and digital TV. The Environment Agency and Met Office are set to put into action the UK's first multimedia weather alert system. (The Daily Express)

NHS drug can cut stroke risk by 32 per cent
A drug available on the National Health Service can cut the risk of dying from a stroke by almost two-thirds. The drug Ramipril would cut the chances of those at high risk by 32 per cent, according to the Canadian findings. (The Daily Telegraph)

Down's life expectancy doubles
The life expectancy for people with Down's Syndrome has doubled since the early 1980s from an average of 25 to 49 years, according to researchers from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta. The study is published in The Lancet and medical advances and changing attitudes towards Down's patients among doctors are cited as reasons. The condition also seems to protect against most forms of cancer. (The Daily Telegraph, The Independent)

Drug hope for arthritis sufferers
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis who have not responded to existing drugs should have access to two costly new treatments, according to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. Both drugs block a chemical in the body - tumour necrosis factor - involved in the process of inflammation that underlies the disease, research at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, London has found. (The Times)

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