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News digest – daily junk food ads, gene ‘treasure troves’, NHS cookery classes and… child vapers?

by Katie Roberts | Analysis

17 March 2018

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  • Teenagers exposed to daily junk food ads are twice as likely to be obese, according to a new report we released. It also found that teens from poorer backgrounds were affected the most, being much more likely to remember seeing junk food ads. We’re calling for a ban on junk food TV ads before 9pm, as our press release explains. The news was picked up by The Sun, Guardian and the Express.
  • The Independent covered early research aiming to make aggressive breast cancers more vulnerable to treatment. Scientists found that by disrupting communication between cancer cells and the surrounding breast tissue in mice, they could make previously unresponsive tumours sensitive to hormone treatments like tamoxifen.
  • Genetic testing for breast cancer is on the rise in Northern Ireland, according to new figures. BBC News has the story, which suggests that Northern Ireland has a much higher level of uptake than England.
  • NHS exercise and cookery classes could help to cut obesity, reports The Sun. Nearly 70,000 people have been referred to the classes so far, which form part of an NHS diabetes prevention programme. Results released this week showed attendees lost half a stone on average.
  • Around a quarter of men with penis cancer are not receiving the recommended treatment, according to a new international study. The Independent and The Sun covered the research, which involved 12 treatment centres in the US, Brazil, Italy, Spain and Hungary.
  • Scientists have found a ‘treasure trove’ of genes linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, reports The Sun and Mail Online. Using a new technique to home in on DNA, researchers found over 100 genes that could affect a person’s risk of developing breast cancer. The results were also picked up by the Telegraph and iNews.
  • Brexit could help Britain beat the “battle of the bulge”, claims NHS chief Simon Stevens. Speaking at a conference, Stevens said that freedom from EU law will allow the UK to introduce tougher rules on the food and drink industry. The Telegraph and The Sun have the full story.
  • We celebrated British Science Week by catching up with the people leading some of our most innovative research.

And finally…

  • Child vapers more likely to be smokers’, claims The Times. Researchers surveyed more than 1000 young people and found that those who tried e-cigarettes were more likely to later try smoking tobacco, and those who had tried smoking were more likely to later try e-cigarettes. Mail Online was quick to suggest this means e-cigarettes are causing kids to start smoking. But as NHS Choices and our statement explain, the research does not point to the ‘strong gateway effect’ that headlines suggest.