Poor diet increases cancer risk

Researchers analysing data from the 2013/14 and 2015/16 US National Health Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) alongside cancer incidences from 2015, have linked more than 80,000 cancer cases (around 5%) to poor diet. Colorectal cancer had the highest incidence (38%) of diet related cases. The new research supports recent observations of increases in colorectal cancer in those under 50 years of age. Adding further fuel to the fire, additional research has suggested a link between consumption of sugary drinks (including fruit juice) and increased risk of mortality. Taken together these findings once again emphasise the pressing need for serious changes to what many of us eat, how frequently we eat, how contaminated or otherwise our food and environments are, how we move and how we manage our stress. There is no one magic bullet and if our aim is to create health in society we should be prepared to work on improving multiple factors in our lives – our diets being a great starting point for many of us.

NHS audit triggers call for junk food ban

A preliminary (unpublished) report following an audit of NHS hospitals in the UK, rated three-quarters of snacks sold in on-site cafés and canteens as unhealthy, despite ongoing efforts to promote healthier alternatives. Top selling snacks included savoury snacks, baked goods, confectionary and sugary drinks. Prof Dame Theresa Marteau said hospitals create a ‘health halo’ whereby people perceive junk food as being healthier. The figures mirror a new study spotlighting the increase in sales of ultra-processed food and drink (UPFD) and its associations with weight gain along with two new studies linking UPFD consumption with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and all cause mortality. Given the overwhelming burden caused by obesity and related, largely preventable, chronic diseases, the NHS should be setting an example to patients, staff and visitors alike by avoiding selling junk foods or feeding them to its patients. It should be promoting healthy options in hospitals and other healthcare settings and helping to promote healthy habits among staff and visitors alike. But more importantly, it should be doing this for its patients to expedite healing and reduce the time patients spend in its care.

Antibiotic filled rivers fuelling resistance

A study has revealed dangerous levels of antibiotic pollution in rivers around the world. With some rivers being found to exceed ‘safe’ levels by up to 300 times. The researchers from the University of York tested 711 sites across 72 countries and found antibiotic contamination in 65% of them. Locations in Africa and Asia were found to have the highest levels of contamination. In 2018 the UN declared antibiotic resistance to be a ‘global health emergency’ that could kill 5 million people a year in Asia alone by 2050. Overuse of antibiotics in both healthcare and agricultural settings means that they are unable to fight many common infections. With Big Pharma abandoning research into potential replacements, attention is turning to plant medicines that were used in the US Civil War to combat drug resistant pathogens. As individuals, we also need to take responsibility for our health by increasing our natural immunity and reducing our over-dependence on antibiotics. A previous study by scientists at King’s College London and the University of Suffolk found similar evidence of pollution from pharmaceuticals and pesticides.

UK 5G launch sidelines safety concerns

Giant mobile network EE has announced the launch of 5G in 16 cities around the UK today, 30th May 2019. Capitalising on the perceived ‘need’ for 5G, EE is sweeping aside all safety concerns over mmWave technology in its bid for an early launch. However, this will not be the full 5G technology. Instead it will be an extension of existing 4G, 3G and 2G technology. Publishing in IEEE Access, researchers commenting on cell phone specific absorption rate (SAR) data from the National Agency of France have confirmed concerns over emissions from mobile phones held near the body. Follow the links in our recent article for more information about 5G, what it is, and why there are so many fears over its safety — also, how you can become a 5G activist.