Friday Five

Creepy crawlies, too many treats and terrifying trade deals – a freaky Friday Five!

What kind of doctors are like spiders? Spin doctors (and now surgeons)

While you have been frantically sticking ghoulish decorations up with sticky tape for Halloween, scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have designed a spider-inspired double-sided tape to stick body tissue together after surgery.

The sticky tape, which they hope will replace sutures, absorbs water from wet body tissues, leaving a dry patch for the tape to stick to.

Surgeons won’t be putting their needle and thread away just yet, as the tape is several years away from human trials.

Read more in the BBC.

Tricky companies and bargain hunting consumers treat their sweet tooth

It may be time to bring back some of the more traditional (and healthy) Halloween treats such as apple-bobbing. Public Health England’s Chief Executive Duncan Selbie announced this week that progress in reducing food sugar content is being “lost” due to people consuming more sugary items.

The Childhood Obesity Strategy set a voluntary target for the food industry to reduce 20 per cent of sugar from key food categories by the end of 2020. But currently that figure stands at a “disappointing” 2.9 per cent.

And the trick is that, despite some foods having a lower sugar content, people are buying more due to promotional offers. Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at PHE told the Health and Social Care Committee: “Some (companies) are reducing (sugar content) but through marketing, more is being bought. Unless the industry knows we are going to take action at the fiscal level, they are not going to move.”

So next year, do your neighbourhood children a favour and pop an apple, potato pancake or carrot in their bucket rather than a sugary treat – they’ll love you for it in the long run.

Read more in The Independent.

Senior British civil servants meet with US companies to discuss post-Brexit NHS

Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock, the health secretary and Liz Truss, the international trade secretary have all insisted the NHS is “off the table” in talks with the US.

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth however said the prime minister “wants to sign up to a US trade deal with Trump which would force the NHS to buy pricier drugs from US pharmaceutical companies putting NHS finances at risk”.

Read more in The Independent.

 

Watch out! Infectious brain disease threatens UK for first time

A disease that can harm the brain, and which is spread to humans through tick bites, has been identified in the UK for the first time.

The tick-borne encephalitis virus has been identified in ticks from two parts of England – Thetford Forest and an area on the Hampshire-Dorset border.

Public Health England says the risk to people is still “very low”, but care should be taken to avoid being bitten by ticks.

Read more on the BBC.


Quote of the week

In his opinion piece in The Guardian, Richard Vize unveiled some spooky stats and warned;

“Dirty air is the killer poisoning us all while the government just spouts hot air.”

Read more in The Guardian.