Alcohol to aches: Health stories you may have missed

Women at a party Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Scientists have looked at why you can hear friends in a noisy room

Here are some of the most recent health and lifestyle stories that you might have missed.

1. Cocktail party effect

Scientists have examined how our brains make sense of conversations in a crowded room - the so-called "cocktail-party effect". Neuroscientists recorded the point at which unintelligible speech suddenly makes sense. They could see how the brain filters out the surrounding noise to concentrate on one particular element.

2. Alcohol warning

Women who regularly drink more than three-and-a-half bottles of wine a week (35 units of alcohol) - and men who drink five bottles of wine a week (50 units) - should get their livers checked, according to new draft advice from the National Institute for health and Care Excellence (NICE).

It warns cirrhosis often isn't obvious until the damage is so bad that the liver stops working.

3. Second opinion

Doctors have confirmed a diagnosis made over 200 years ago by one of medicine's most influential surgeons.

In 1786, John Hunter (who the Hunterian museum in London is named after) diagnosed a patient with a "tumour as hard as bone".

The Royal Marsden Hospital doctors who Royal Marsden Hospital doctors analysed patient samples and case notes, said that the samples may also give clues as to how cancer is changing over time.

4. Aches and pains

The reason humans get so much shoulder, hip and knee pain could be down to evolution, say scientists from the University of Oxford.

And they say it could be much worse for future generations.

The team studied 300 specimens from different species spanning 400 million years to see how bones changed subtly over millennia.

5. And finally...

This year has seen the birth of the first three-person baby, a dangerous Zika epidemic and a huge injustice overturned by medical science.

Here is a round-up of the most significant developments in health this year.

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