Health & Life: In the news online this week

Your weekly guide to some health stories making headlines online.


A study by researchers at King’s College London has shown that a simple blood test could help doctors prescribe more effective treatments for depression.

Medics currently rely on trial and error, which means that the first type of antidepressant prescribed to patients fails in approximately 50% of cases.

The test looked for markers of inflammation in their blood and found that those with high levels of these markers were less likely to respond to commonly-prescribed antidepressants. They benefited from more aggressive therapy.

The lead researcher Professor Pariante said this discovery could help tailor treatment to individual patients.


June is National Motor Neurone Disease Awareness Month and the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA) is running a campaign to raise funds for research into this incurable condition.

There are approximately 350 people living with MND in Ireland; it’s a neurological condition in which there is a progressive deterioration of the motor neurones in the brain and spinal cord. 

These motor neurones control muscles. 

The deterioration leads to weakness and wasting of those muscles, causing an increasing loss of mobility in the limbs and difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing.

The IMNDA is encouraging everyone to get involved in its annual fundraiser — Drink Tea for MND — on June 21.

If you would like to organise a Drink Tea for MND event, you can email for more information. Alternatively, you can text MND to 50300 to donate €2.


A study has shown that a new cancer drug can significantly slow the spread of recurrent breast cancers.

Palbociclib is a drug that disrupts the proteins that promote tumour growth. 

In a trial carried out on 666 women data showed that time without a tumour progressing increased from 15 months to 25 months for patients on Palbociclib.

Further research is being undertaken and it is expected that the drug will be licensed in the EU later this year.


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