The emergence of the novel coronavirus is a reminder of the potential threat we face from emerging diseases. A decade ago hundreds of people were killed by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
Although the novel coronavirus is from the same large family of pathogens as SARS, it is very different. And although media reports usually mentions the new virus and SARS in the same breath it is worth pointing out that coronaviruses also produce infections like the common cold.
There is a new disease in town - at least there is if you live in eastern China. Long after most people had lost interest in - and the media had stopped writing about - H5N1 bird flu, we now have to get used to another assortment of letters and numbers. So should we all worry about H7N9?
"Yes and no" seems to sum up the view of experts. Yes, because of the potential of flu viruses to cause global disease outbreaks - pandemics. No, because the virus is still confined to China and has no ability at present to transmit between humans.
What is it about the Italians? They smoke more than us, they earn less, their economy is in even worse shape than ours, they spend less on healthcare, and yet - they live longer. Not just a bit, but a whopping 18 months more on average.
They also have more years of good health before disease and disability set in.
If you signed up to a medical trial you might assume that the results of the research would eventually be published. But that is far from certain. Pharmaceutical companies are under no legal obligation to publish all the available data about drugs.
A group of 53 clinical trial participants has written an open letter to the European Medicines Agency - the body which licenses drugs. Some of the individuals are healthy volunteers and other have conditions like cancer.
Urgent appeals for blood donors seem to be a regular event - certainly at this time of year. So what triggers an appeal and is it feasible that we could ever run out of blood?
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), which runs the service in England and north Wales, put out an urgent appeal for O negative donors last week. It currently has just 3.2 days of O neg blood, while the Welsh Blood Service has four days and the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service has 6.1 days.
Ready for Christmas? You may have your Christmas menu planned, your tree decorated and your presents wrapped, but have you thought about the potential dangers? Don't worry, I have - and so have lots of other people intent on ensuring you keep well this festive season.
So here, in no particular order, is my personal selection of the top 10 Christmas health risks. I naturally expect readers to take great exception with the list and suggest their own and probably to accuse me of being a Christmas kill-joy. Not so, but a few sensible precautions could help prevent this being a festive period to forget. A merry - and healthy - Christmas to you all.
The outcome of the Neon Roberts court case was never in doubt.
On one side there was Neon's entire medical team, and the weight of evidence from peer-reviewed cancer studies who agree that he urgently needs radiotherapy; on the other was his mother who failed to produce any evidence at all of alternative treatment.
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