The Health News United Kingdom April 18 2018

  • New research suggests that women who are hoping to conceive should go on a diet years before. Writing in The Lancet, medics said the vast majority of women of reproductive age were not nutritionally prepared for pregnancy – putting the long-term health of their children at risk. Those thinking about starting a family are often advised to make lifestyle changes, such as cutting out alcohol, and taking dietary supplements, around 3 months before attempting to conceive.
  • Hundreds of military veterans are set to benefit from a nationwide scheme to tackle the most complex mental health needs of ex-armed forces personnel, launched by NHS England. The Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service has been designed after veterans and their families from across England were invited to tell the NHS how services would work best for them. Backed by £3.2m of funding a year, the new service aims to help 450 veterans every year.
  • According to new research, women from European descent are twice as likely to be naturally blonde as men. The largest ever genetic study on pigmentation looked at nearly three hundred thousand people of European descent. It found 124 new genes that play a major role in determining human hair colour variation. The discovery of one hundred twenty four genes connected to hair colour also revealed some links to cancers such as skin, testicular, prostate and ovarian.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 18th of April 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/04/16/women-want-conceive-should-adopt-healthy-diet-years-earlier/

New research suggests that women who are hoping to conceive should go on a diet years before. Writing in The Lancet, medics said the vast majority of women of reproductive age were not nutritionally prepared for pregnancy – putting the long-term health of their children at risk.
Those thinking about starting a family are often advised to make lifestyle changes, such as cutting out alcohol, and taking dietary supplements, around three months before attempting to conceive. But the experts said one of the most crucial factors was for women to be a healthy weight before conception – often meaning diet and lifestyle overhauls need to start years earlier.

Researchers calculated the proportion of women of reproductive age in Britain who are nutritionally prepared for pregnancy, using data from five hundred nine women of reproductive age in the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey. In total, twenty six percent were found to have iron and folate dietary intakes below the recommendation for pregnancy. Such shortfalls can be tackled in less than a month.

Research suggests more than one quarter of pregnant women are overweight or obese. Excess weight in pregnancy increases the lifelong risk of cardiovascular, metabolic, immune and neurological diseases in subsequent children. Links have also been made between male obesity and poor sperm quality, which may also increase the risk to future children, though the evidence is less clear. Lead author Professor Judith Stephenson, of University College London, said: “The preconception period is a critical time when parental health – including weight, metabolism, and diet – can influence the risk of future chronic disease in children, and we must now re-examine public health policy to help reduce this risk.

https://www.bathecho.co.uk/news/health/nhs-england-set-transform-mental-health-care-military-veterans-77991/

Hundreds of military veterans are set to benefit from a nationwide scheme to tackle the most complex mental health needs of ex-armed forces personnel, launched by NHS England. The Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service has been designed after veterans and their families from across England were invited to tell the NHS how services would work best for them.

Backed by three point two million pounds of funding a year, the new service aims to help four hundred fifty veterans every year and will include help for substance misuse, physical health, employment, accommodation, relationships and finances, as well as occupational and trauma focused therapies. Crucially the national service will focus on helping veterans closer to home, rather than requiring them to travel to centres for weeks at a time.

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Doctor Jonathan Leach, Chair of NHS England’s Armed Forces and their Families Clinical Reference Group said: “The NHS is committed to providing every veteran who needs mental health support with the best care, which is why we have already set up a dedicated new service based directly on feedback from veterans themselves.”
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The service will be run by NHS providers, working closely with armed forces groups and charities, including Combat Stress. While waiting times for veterans are rated as excellent, with eighty eight point three percent waiting less than six weeks, NHS England is determined to continually improve care.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-43782751

According to new research, women from European descent are twice as likely to be naturally blonde as men.  The largest ever genetic study on pigmentation looked at nearly three hundred thousand people of European descent. It found one hundred twenty four new genes that play a major role in determining human hair colour variation.

The study which is published in Nature Genetics, builds on previous genetic studies that had only identified a dozen or so hair colour genes. The data was supplied by the UK Biobank, American DNA testing company TwentythreeandMe and the International Visible Trait Genetics Consortium and their study partners in the Netherlands, Australia and Italy. They chose people of European descent because of their variety in hair colours. They found men were three times as likely as women to have black hair.

Professor Tim Spector, joint lead author, from King’s College London, told the BBC they were not expecting to find so many more blonde women than men.
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So blonde women are just as likely to give birth to blonde boys as blonde girls, but the boys are not keeping their genetically blonde hair when they grow up. The changing of the expression of genes – switching them off and on – is known as epigenetics. Professor Spector said it could be other genes that are affecting the process and there are examples of this in mice studies where chemicals, stress and hormones were found to affect the way some of the pigment genes work.
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The discovery of one hundred twenty four genes connected to hair colour also revealed some links to cancers such as skin, testicular, prostate and ovarian. Other pigment genes they found affected the chances of having Crohn’s disease and other forms of bowel disease.

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