Researchers hail obesity pill trials
US researchers today hailed the latest results from trials of a pill that treats obesity, tackles cholesterol levels and helps patients quit smoking. Rimonabant, which could be available in the UK within 18 months, targets the part of the brain involved in motivation and controlling appetite. The latest results of a two-year trial, presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in New Orleans, showed that patients taking a 20mg dose had seen their body weight drop and waist measurements decrease. David Haslam, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, described the arrival of the drug in Britain as "a mouth-watering prospect" for GPs.
Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Times
Tory plans reduce tax burden on students
With the Tories sensing that tax is regaining importance as an issue of public concern, Shadow Chancellor Oliver Letwin has unveiled plans to cut taxes. According to Mr Letwin, part-time workers, many of them women with children, who are earning the minimum wage are now paying income tax and national insurance. So too are students working evenings and weekends to pay tuition fees, as well as pensioners receiving only £60 a week from a personal pension.
European partner issues UK mumps alert
Germans planning to visit Britain in the near future were advised to have a vaccine against mumps after a recent outbreak among British university students. The warning was issued by Germany's Centre for Travel Medicine. Although mumps can be easily treated, it can be dangerous for adults.
New fungal disease threatens Britain's oaks
A new disease has been found in native oak trees in Cornwall, raising fears for Britain's 200 million oaks and other native trees, which may turn out to be susceptible. The fungal disease is related to Phytopthera ramorum , the disease known in the US as "sudden oak death". The new pathogen was first discovered in a wood near Redruth last year, when it was found on rhododendron plants and a beech tree. Following its discovery last week on two native oaks, two further oak trees are being monitored in the same area.