Being underweight in middle age is associated with raised dementia risk, large study finds

People who are underweight in middle age are at increased risk of developing dementia, while increasing weight and obesity offer protection against the condition, a large cohort study has found.

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A number of previous studies have looked at the association between weight and dementia, and most have found that the risk of dementia increased among adults who are overweight or obese, although some studies have found the opposite. Most of these studies have been small, which led the present researchers to conduct a much larger analysis of the link.

Financial incentives help people change health behaviours, review shows

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Personal financial incentives help people to change health behaviours, but these effects are lost within three months of the payments stopping, says a study of the overall effect of payments across various health related behaviours.

Researchers analysed 34 studies including 10 585 adults that assessed the effect of financial incentives on a range of health behaviours, including smoking cessation and healthier eating, measured for at least six months from baseline.

UK death rates in children’s heart surgery have almost halved over past decade

More children survived for at least 30 days after heart surgery at the end of the past decade than at the start, an analysis has found. The death rate fell from 4.3% to 2.6% of cases.

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The findings have prompted the researchers to call for a shift away from scrutinising short term survival to looking at the longer term effects of heart surgery in children, such as measures of ill health and the effect on functional capacity.

Physical therapy is as effective as surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis, study finds

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Surgical decompression treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis is no better than physical therapy in improving symptoms and function, a randomised controlled trial has shown.

The study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and showed that both groups of patients began to show improvement at 10 weeks and continued to improve through 26 weeks.

Risk of developing diabetes increases with time spent watching TV, study shows

Every hour a day spent watching television increases the risk of developing diabetes by 3.4%, the findings of a diabetes prevention programme have shown.

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The study, reported in Diabetologia, followed up 3232 people aged at least 25 who were overweight. They were randomised to lifestyle intervention with a healthy diet that aimed to achieve a 7% weight loss and at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week or to treatment with metformin, to see whether these strategies prevented or delayed type 2 diabetes when compared with placebo

NHS England releases new framework to assure CCGs

The new Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) assurance framework for 2015/16 was published last Thursday.

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The new framework describes the assurance process which supports CCGs to commission safe, high quality and cost effective services for patients. It includes a strengthened focus on a CCG’s performance in delivering improvements for patients, as well as assessment of its capability to deliver core and additional delegated responsibilities.