HEALTH NOTES: Britons over 40 are ignoring free blood pressure checks at their local NHS pharmacy


HEALTH NOTES: Britons over 40 are ignoring free blood pressure checks at their local NHS pharmacy

Just two per cent of Britons are making use of free blood pressure checks at their local pharmacy, a survey has found.

The vital tests have been available to everyone over 40 at high street chemists since October last year.

NHS England launched the initiative to relieve pressure on GP clinics and cut the hidden toll of high blood pressure.

NHS England launched the initiative to relieve pressure on GP clinics and cut the hidden toll of high blood pressure by allowing patients to receive the checks in pharmacies (picture posed by models)

An estimated 4.8 million people in Britain have the condition but don’t know it – putting them at risk of heart attacks and strokes.

But treatment such as beta blockers and ACE inhibitors can dramatically reduce the chances.

The survey of 2,120 adults, commissioned by the British Heart Foundation in partnership with Tesco, also found that just one in ten had visited his or her pharmacist for health advice.

Hair-raising breakthrough

There may soon be a genetic test for a bizarre condition that makes babies’ hair stand on end.

‘Uncombable hair syndrome’ happens when hair grows bent and tends to disappear by adulthood.

Now scientists at Bonn University in Germany have identified the source of the problem after taking DNA from 107 affected children.

¿Uncombable hair syndrome¿ happens when hair grows bent and tends to disappear by adulthood. Now scientists at Bonn University in Germany have identified the source of the problem after taking DNA from 107 affected children

‘Uncombable hair syndrome’ happens when hair grows bent and tends to disappear by adulthood. Now scientists at Bonn University in Germany have identified the source of the problem after taking DNA from 107 affected children

The cause is a mutation in a gene called PAD13, which produces an enzyme to help to create a protein.

The research’s lead author Buket Masmanav said the findings can be used to develop a genetic test to ‘reassure parents’ that the problem doesn’t signal a serious condition.

Brain scans can reveal who our closest friends are, according to a study.

The University of Israel asked 26 people to group friends into five categories, based on closeness.

Participants sat in an MRI scanner to have their brain activity monitored as they sorted the names.

Thoughts about close pals activated three regions of the brain responsible for feelings of empathy. But when they were focused on the names of less close friends, areas involved with memory showed far greater activation.

Researchers say this may be because thoughts of close friends conjure emotion, while peripheral pals trigger thoughts of our last interaction with them.

Families are being urged to let more dementia victims join drug trials after just 60 patients took part in tests for treatments last year.

The ‘shockingly low’ figure is 100 times fewer than volunteers for cancer studies, says Alzheimer’s Research UK. This is despite dementia killing more Britons than any other condition. It affects almost a million people and there are no treatments to slow it.

Dementia Research matches people to dementia studies in Britain. To take part in one, visit joindementiaresearch.nihr.ac.uk.

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