In the news, online: Asthma, diet, breast cancer,

Asthma inhalers are being dished out like “fashion accessories”, two leading British doctors have said, as they warned that medics are over-diagnosing asthma in children.

Writing in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, Professor Andrew Bush and Dr Louise Fleming highlight a previous study in which half of 100 children with chronic cough received an asthma diagnosis, but once the coughs were thoroughly investigated, the number actually thought to have asthma dwindled to 5%.

POOR DIET:

Young children are eating too many calories and too much salt, and are missing out on key vitamins, experts have warned. 

High intake of protein and too many calories overall puts youngsters at risk of obesity, while too much salt could “set taste preference for the future” and put them at risk of high blood pressure and strokes in later life.

Researchers also urged parents to follow guidelines on giving children up to the age of five supplements to boost levels of iron and vitamin D, after their study found youngsters were woefully lacking in essential vitamins.

The study is published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

EARLY WARNING:

Scientists looking at the relationship between early breast cancer tumours and more advanced forms of the disease have discovered a potential way to separate patients according to their risk and offer tailored treatment as a result.

The most common form of non-invasive, or early, breast cancer is ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and occurs when cancer cells develop in the milk ducts but have not yet spread to the surrounding breast tissue.

Scientists at the Northern Ireland Molecular Pathology Laboratory at Queen’s University Belfast identified biomarkers which showed promise for predicting which cases were linked to invasive disease, and potential treatments which could be used to target the biomarkers significantly associated with breast cancer.

The study could mean women with DCIS considered to be at a high risk of developing breast cancer would be offered more intensive treatment.


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