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Smoking, sexuality and super-stranded patients – this week’s Friday Five.

Smokers in the UK light up a billion fewer cigarettes a year

A study at the University College London has shown that the average number of cigarettes smoked each month has declined by more than 26% between 2011 and 2018, from around 3.4 billion to 2.5 billion a month.

As part of a raft of measures to tackle the causes of preventable ill health, the government recently pledged to eradicate the smoking completely by 2030.

Cancer Research UK praised the results and said that the smoking trend is “heading in the right direction”.

Read more on BBC News.

No single gene associated with homosexuality

A study based on data from the UK Biobank and 23andMe has concluded that there is no single “gay gene”.

The results showed that there are some genes that are particularly associated with same-sex behaviour, but that these genes can account for, at most, 25% of same-sex behaviour.

The advocacy organisation GLAAD said “This new research re-confirms understanding that there is no conclusive degree to which nature or nurture influence how gay or lesbian person behaves”.

Read more at BBC News.

No-deal Brexit threats flu vaccine supply

Doctors and NHS leaders have warned that a no-deal Brexit may delay the supply of the vaccine this year.

The EU departure date coincides with the winter season which could create “a perfect storm for the NHS”.

The government says it is “working closely with vaccine suppliers to ensure that they have robust contingencies in place”

Read more on BBC News.

Soaring numbers of pensioners left “super-stranded” in hospital

Research commissioned by CHS Healthcare has revealed that a rising number of elderly patients are being left “super-stranded” in hospital – staying in hospital for more than three weeks at a time.

Last year, the NHS pledged to bring an end to the long-stay culture on the wards and every NHS trust was given targets to meet to reduce the number of “super-stranded” cases. However, the analysis has shown that 87% of NHS trusts have missed their target – with 114 of 130 NHS trusts failing to cut three-week stays.

These results have emerged amid a growing social care crisis in Britain, which Borris Johnson has pledged to fix “once and for all”.

Read more on The Telegraph.


Quote of the week

In response to the announcement that four European nations have lost their measles eradication status, Kate O’Brien of the WHO’s Immunisation Department said;

                    “We are backsliding, we are on the wrong track”.

The rise in numbers of measles cases has been linked to a vaccination coverage that isn’t high enough.

Health experts warn that lies about the measles vaccine have allowed the illness to spread and they urge for community leaders to provide accurate, valid and scientifically credible information.

Read more at BBC News.

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