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Britain’s Young Drinkers

The Tonight programme has taken a look at Britain's binge drinking culture and the impact it's having on the health of young people.

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First ever artificial skin grown in lab

Artificial skin that could be used to replace animals in testing drugs and cosmetics has been grown in a lab for the first time.

A team of UK and US scientists produced one centimetre-wide segments of epidermis - the skin's outermost layer - from stem cells with the same properties as real skin.

The epidermis forms a protective barrier between the body and the outside world, preventing water from escaping while keeping out germs and toxins.

Up to now, tissue engineers have been unable to grow an outer skin layer with the functional barrier needed for drug testing.

In future, scientists believe lab-grown skin could be used for testing medicinal lotions and creams or cosmetics without causing suffering to animals. It could also provide a way to investigate conditions like eczema.

Cervical cancer survivor describes fear at diagnosis

A 35-year-old woman who was two years overdue for a smear test has told Daybreak of the difficulties she faced when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer,

Samantha Kemp, who was 32 at the time of diagnosis, said doctors discovered "quite severe abnormal cells" and sent her in for an MRI, which revealed a tumour small enough "that it meant I did not have to have a hysterectomy".

"That for me that was my scariest point, was having that situation of not knowing if I could have children anymore."


Study: Cannabis linked to 'potentially lethal' damage

Cannabis smoking could lead to lethal heart damage, a study suggests. Credit: PA

Smoking cannabis can cause potentially lethal damage to the heart and arteries of young and middle-aged adults, a study has found.

Researchers in France who looked at almost 2,000 patients with medical problems related to cannabis use identified 35 serious instances of cardiovascular complications.

Twenty heart attacks were recorded, as well as 10 cases involving arteries in the limbs, and three affecting blood vessels in the brain. Nine patients, around a quarter of the total, died.

Most of the patients in the study - published in the Journal of the American Heart Association - were male, with an average age of 34.3 years.

Read: How the Green Rush hit the Mile High City

UK should build 'new community institutions' for elderly

Britain should build "new community institutions" specifically designed to help elderly people live independent lives to cope with the looming care crisis.

IPPR senior research fellow Clare McNeil said:

The supply of unpaid care to older people with support needs by their adult children will not keep pace with future demand.

Thousands of people in their 60s and 70s today could be left to cope on their own when they need care in the future, with overstretched services unable to make up the shortfall.

Britain needs to build new community institutions capable of sustaining us through the changes ahead and to adapt the social structures already in place, such as family and care, public services, the workplace and neighbourhoods.

– Clare McNeil

Not enough family carers for elderly 'by 2017'

There will not be enough family members to provide informal care for their elderly relatives as early as 2017, a leading think tank has warned.

Read: Tonight: Looking after Mum and Dad

IPPR published the research into social policy called the Condition of Britain. Credit: PA

Read: Charity: Local authorities 'rationing care' to the elderly

IPPR warned there would be more than a million elderly people without adult children to care for them by 2030, as they published research on rising care costs.

The report shows the average annual cost for an older person who pays for a typical package of care has increased to £7,900 a year, an average £25,000 for home care and an average £36,000 for a nursing home.

IPPR pointed to Germany, Japan and Australia as examples of countries with ageing populations which had coped well in the absence of adult children.

Read: Berlusconi may serve jail time caring for the edlerly

'Disingenuous' to blame overdue smears on GP access

It is misleading to suggest the rise in overdue smear tests is the result of a lack of GP access, the Government has said.

A Department of Health spokeswoman claimed there had been a sharp rise in the number of women screened for cervical cancer in the wake of Jade Goody's death in 2009, and now, fewer were choosing to get screened:

It is disingenuous to suggest that more women are unable to get a smear test because of GP access issues.

We know there was a significant rise in women wanting tests in 2009 following Jade Goody's death, and now fewer women choose to take up the invitation to have a smear.

The old 48-hour GP appointment target actually worsened access and under new plans, millions more people will get to see their family doctor at evenings and weekends.

– A Department of Health spokeswoman


Labour: Rise in missed smear tests 'extremely worrying'

The 11% rise in the number of women who have failed to have a smear test is "extremely worrying", Labour have said.

Shadow health minister Liz Kendall said:

Someone is diagnosed with cervical cancer every three hours in the UK, and it kills three women every single day.

Smear tests save thousands of lives every year, so this recent drop in uptake is extremely worrying.

It's vital to increase public awareness and make it easier for women to book their tests, including outside normal working hours, because it can be tough getting to your local surgery if you're working, commuting or have to pick your children up after school.

– Liz Kendall

Read: 'Govt failing to act' over rise in missed smear tests

'Govt failing to act' over rise in missed smear tests

Labour has accused the Government for failing to act after figures showed an 11% rise in the number of women who had missed a vital cancer screening.

Read: Cervical cancer test fears

Smear test
Women in England and Wales are eligible for smear tests at 25. Credit: PA

Read: Pancreatic cancer poses 'growing threat'

Around 3.7 million women were late with their smear test check up for cervical cancer last year, while only 364,000 missed them in 2009-10, according to data.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), who released the figures, said the working women bracket had the biggest increase in overdue smear tests.

More than a million aged in their 30s were overdue, up 11%, while numbers of 40-somethings rose 15% to 925,000 and in their 50s it was up 16% to 620,000.

Read: 'Unaffordable' breast cancer drug set to be blocked

Pancreatic cancer 'poses growing threat'

A controversial pancreatic cancer awareness campaign launched recently.
A controversial pancreatic cancer awareness campaign launched recently. Credit: Pancreatic Cancer Action

Pancreatic cancer stands alone as an increasingly deadly threat to both men and women in Europe, a study has shown.

Experts called for priority to be given to preventing and treating the terrible disease, which is predicted to kill 82,300 people in the EU this year.

While proportionately more people are dying from pancreatic cancer, the new research recorded falling death rates for all but one of seven other types of the disease.

The exception was lung cancer - but only in women, due to the fact that generations of them took up smoking later than men, according to the findings published in the journal Annals of Oncology.

Breast cancer patient: £90,000 drug changed my life

A patient using the breast cancer drug Kadcyla, which could be blocked from routine NHS access because it is too expensive, told ITV News the treatment had improved her quality of life.

"I was in quite a bad state, and within about two cycles my life felt like it had turned a corner. I was able to do things I wasn't able to do prior to being on this treatment," Mani said of the drug, which currently costs around £90,000 per patient.

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