Tag Archives: study

All forms of hormonal contraception carry breast cancer risk, study finds

All forms of the pill and other hormonal contraception carry a small risk of breast cancer, which lasts for about five years after women stop taking it, according to new research.

The increased risk has been known for some time, but there were hopes that newer forms of hormonal contraception – such as those which release progesterone only – would be safer. However, the new study in the New England Journal of Medicine confirms the 20% added risk that women run – although that is still very small for those not at high risk already.

Among women taking the pill for five years, the study suggests, there would be an extra one case for every 1500 women.

The study is very large, including 1.8 million women in Denmark who were followed up for nearly 11 years on average. The Danish researchers found that the risk of breast cancer was higher in women who used the pill or other forms of hormonal contraception, including IUDs, for longer. It was also higher in those who were older – most of the breast cancer cases were in women over 40.

In a commentary with the study, Professor David Hunter, of the Nuffield Department of Population Health, said that the small risks of the pill needed to be set against the benefits, which included not only preventing an unwanted pregnancy but also a “substantial reductions in the risks of ovarian, endometrial and colorectal cancers in later life”.

But he called for more effort to be invested in safer forms of the pill. “These data suggest that the search for an oral contraceptive that does not elevate the risk of breast cancer needs to continue. In the 1980s and 1990s, there was some optimism regarding the development of a formulation that would reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer, but research into this possibility appears to have stalled,” he writes.

Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics at the Open University, said the study found the increase in risk disappeared gradually over a few years once women stop taking the pill.

“Like most other studies on hormonal contraceptives and breast cancer risk, this one is observational, so it cannot prove conclusively that the hormonal contraception is definitely the cause of the increased risk. However, the researchers did allow statistically for most of the important factors that might also be involved, and they give good reasons why the differences in risk that they found are likely to be causally related to the contraceptives.

“I’m not a medical doctor, but my assessment is that this new evidence doesn’t make an important change to what was previously known about hormonal contraceptives and breast cancer risk. It just brings it further up to date and adds some detail. Certainly I’d advise anyone who is concerned about risks to talk to their doctor before making any changes in their contraceptive use.”

All forms of hormonal contraception carry breast cancer risk, study finds

All forms of the pill and other hormonal contraception carry a small risk of breast cancer, which lasts for about five years after women stop taking it, according to new research.

The increased risk has been known for some time, but there were hopes that newer forms of hormonal contraception – such as those which release progesterone only – would be safer. However, the new study in the New England Journal of Medicine confirms the 20% added risk that women run – although that is still very small for those not at high risk already.

Among women taking the pill for five years, the study suggests, there would be an extra one case for every 1500 women.

The study is very large, including 1.8 million women in Denmark who were followed up for nearly 11 years on average. The Danish researchers found that the risk of breast cancer was higher in women who used the pill or other forms of hormonal contraception, including IUDs, for longer. It was also higher in those who were older – most of the breast cancer cases were in women over 40.

In a commentary with the study, Professor David Hunter, of the Nuffield Department of Population Health, said that the small risks of the pill needed to be set against the benefits, which included not only preventing an unwanted pregnancy but also a “substantial reductions in the risks of ovarian, endometrial and colorectal cancers in later life”.

But he called for more effort to be invested in safer forms of the pill. “These data suggest that the search for an oral contraceptive that does not elevate the risk of breast cancer needs to continue. In the 1980s and 1990s, there was some optimism regarding the development of a formulation that would reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer, but research into this possibility appears to have stalled,” he writes.

Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics at the Open University, said the study found the increase in risk disappeared gradually over a few years once women stop taking the pill.

“Like most other studies on hormonal contraceptives and breast cancer risk, this one is observational, so it cannot prove conclusively that the hormonal contraception is definitely the cause of the increased risk. However, the researchers did allow statistically for most of the important factors that might also be involved, and they give good reasons why the differences in risk that they found are likely to be causally related to the contraceptives.

“I’m not a medical doctor, but my assessment is that this new evidence doesn’t make an important change to what was previously known about hormonal contraceptives and breast cancer risk. It just brings it further up to date and adds some detail. Certainly I’d advise anyone who is concerned about risks to talk to their doctor before making any changes in their contraceptive use.”

Sausage sandwich has two-thirds of daily salt allowance, study finds

The humble sausage sandwich could contain nearly two-thirds of an adult’s maximum daily recommended intake of salt – more than a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and large fries, a health group has warned.

Research by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash) has revealed “shocking and excessively high” amounts of salt in well-known brands of the British banger – a favourite in the UK – but vegetarian options are just as unhealthy.

Cash said many companies had failed to reduce salt in their products with just three weeks left for them to reach 2017 targets set by Public Health England.

The British eat more than 175,000 tonnes of sausages each year, despite them being named by the World Health Organisation in 2015 as a likely cause of cancer.

The survey found that the average salt content of sausages was 1.3g per 100g, or 1.16g per typical portion of two sausages – a figure that has remained relatively unchanged since 2011, exceeding the salt reduction targets in place at that time. The maximum daily recommended intake for an adult is 6g.

The saltiest sausages were Iceland’s Jumbo Pork range, at 1.28g each, but that went up to 3.78g including the ingredients for a sandwich, compared with 3.22g for a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and large fries.

Researchers collected data for 212 chilled, frozen, vegetarian and meat sausages sold by all the major supermarkets, but excluding sausage rolls, cocktail sausages and frankfurters.

They found a wide range of salt levels across all sausages, from the highest in Richmond’s 12 Skinless Pork Sausages at 2.3g per 100g to the lowest in the Co-operative’s Irresistible 6 Sweet Chilli Sausages at 0.75g per 100g – a threefold difference in salt content per 100g.

They also uncovered large variations within supermarket own-brand sausages, with Asda’s Extra Special Bacon & Maple Syrup option containing 1.1g of salt per sausage – more than double the same retailer’s Extra Special Lincolnshire Pork Sausages.

Even going meat-free is not a healthy option, with Quorn’s vegetarian Best of British Sausages containing 1.9g of salt per 100g, or 2.2g in two sausages, which is more than the salt content of half a Pizza Hut Margherita pizza.

The worst offender overall is Richmond, whose full range of sausages tops other manufacturers for salt. In fact, the salt content of its sausages has remained consistently high since at least 2011, which Cash said suggested Richmond had made no effort to reduce it.

About 85% of meat sausages surveyed by Cash were also high in saturated fat – another cause of strokes and heart disease – while Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Toulouse Inspired British Pork Sausages contained 12.2g of saturated fat per two sausages, more than half the recommended daily maximum intake of saturated fat for women.

Some of the biggest brands, including Richmond, Wall’s and Iceland, failed to provide traffic light labelling on their packaging, even using a portion size as one sausage, which Cash said was “completely unrealistic”.

“The UK has led the world on salt reduction but this survey clearly shows that many companies are not cooperating with the current voluntary policy,” said Graham MacGregor, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Cash. “Public Health England, which is now responsible, must get tough on those companies not complying and set new mandatory targets to be achieved by 2020. Otherwise, thousands of people will die from unnecessary strokes and heart attacks every year.”

The Guardian contacted Richmond for comment.

A spokeswoman for Quorn said: “Quorn produces a range of sausages, with its bestselling Quorn Sausages being low in salt and highlighted on the front of pack. The range featured by Cash is Quorn’s Best of British Sausages, which offer slightly more indulgent sausages. While they are higher in salt, as clearly marked on pack, they are still low in saturated fat.”

Dr Alison Tedstone, Public Health England’s chief nutritionist, commented: “Our salt consumption has decreased over the last decade – a loaf of bread has 40% less than it used to. However, some products are still too high in salt and we know this can be reduced further.”

Sausage sandwich has two-thirds of daily salt allowance, study finds

The humble sausage sandwich could contain nearly two-thirds of an adult’s maximum daily recommended intake of salt – more than a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and large fries, a health group has warned.

Research by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash) has revealed “shocking and excessively high” amounts of salt in well-known brands of the British banger – a favourite in the UK – but vegetarian options are just as unhealthy.

Cash said many companies had failed to reduce salt in their products with just three weeks left for them to reach 2017 targets set by Public Health England.

The British eat more than 175,000 tonnes of sausages each year, despite them being named by the World Health Organisation in 2015 as a likely cause of cancer.

The survey found that the average salt content of sausages was 1.3g per 100g, or 1.16g per typical portion of two sausages – a figure that has remained relatively unchanged since 2011, exceeding the salt reduction targets in place at that time. The maximum daily recommended intake for an adult is 6g.

The saltiest sausages were Iceland’s Jumbo Pork range, at 1.28g each, but that went up to 3.78g including the ingredients for a sandwich, compared with 3.22g for a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and large fries.

Researchers collected data for 212 chilled, frozen, vegetarian and meat sausages sold by all the major supermarkets, but excluding sausage rolls, cocktail sausages and frankfurters.

They found a wide range of salt levels across all sausages, from the highest in Richmond’s 12 Skinless Pork Sausages at 2.3g per 100g to the lowest in the Co-operative’s Irresistible 6 Sweet Chilli Sausages at 0.75g per 100g – a threefold difference in salt content per 100g.

They also uncovered large variations within supermarket own-brand sausages, with Asda’s Extra Special Bacon & Maple Syrup option containing 1.1g of salt per sausage – more than double the same retailer’s Extra Special Lincolnshire Pork Sausages.

Even going meat-free is not a healthy option, with Quorn’s vegetarian Best of British Sausages containing 1.9g of salt per 100g, or 2.2g in two sausages, which is more than the salt content of half a Pizza Hut Margherita pizza.

The worst offender overall is Richmond, whose full range of sausages tops other manufacturers for salt. In fact, the salt content of its sausages has remained consistently high since at least 2011, which Cash said suggested Richmond had made no effort to reduce it.

About 85% of meat sausages surveyed by Cash were also high in saturated fat – another cause of strokes and heart disease – while Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Toulouse Inspired British Pork Sausages contained 12.2g of saturated fat per two sausages, more than half the recommended daily maximum intake of saturated fat for women.

Some of the biggest brands, including Richmond, Wall’s and Iceland, failed to provide traffic light labelling on their packaging, even using a portion size as one sausage, which Cash said was “completely unrealistic”.

“The UK has led the world on salt reduction but this survey clearly shows that many companies are not cooperating with the current voluntary policy,” said Graham MacGregor, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Cash. “Public Health England, which is now responsible, must get tough on those companies not complying and set new mandatory targets to be achieved by 2020. Otherwise, thousands of people will die from unnecessary strokes and heart attacks every year.”

The Guardian contacted Richmond for comment.

A spokeswoman for Quorn said: “Quorn produces a range of sausages, with its bestselling Quorn Sausages being low in salt and highlighted on the front of pack. The range featured by Cash is Quorn’s Best of British Sausages, which offer slightly more indulgent sausages. While they are higher in salt, as clearly marked on pack, they are still low in saturated fat.”

Dr Alison Tedstone, Public Health England’s chief nutritionist, commented: “Our salt consumption has decreased over the last decade – a loaf of bread has 40% less than it used to. However, some products are still too high in salt and we know this can be reduced further.”

Sausage sandwich has two-thirds of daily salt allowance, study finds

The humble sausage sandwich could contain nearly two-thirds of an adult’s maximum daily recommended intake of salt – more than a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and large fries, a health group has warned.

Research by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash) has revealed “shocking and excessively high” amounts of salt in well-known brands of the British banger – a favourite in the UK – but vegetarian options are just as unhealthy.

Cash said many companies had failed to reduce salt in their products with just three weeks left for them to reach 2017 targets set by Public Health England.

The British eat more than 175,000 tonnes of sausages each year, despite them being named by the World Health Organisation in 2015 as a likely cause of cancer.

The survey found that the average salt content of sausages was 1.3g per 100g, or 1.16g per typical portion of two sausages – a figure that has remained relatively unchanged since 2011, exceeding the salt reduction targets in place at that time. The maximum daily recommended intake for an adult is 6g.

The saltiest sausages were Iceland’s Jumbo Pork range, at 1.28g each, but that went up to 3.78g including the ingredients for a sandwich, compared with 3.22g for a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and large fries.

Researchers collected data for 212 chilled, frozen, vegetarian and meat sausages sold by all the major supermarkets, but excluding sausage rolls, cocktail sausages and frankfurters.

They found a wide range of salt levels across all sausages, from the highest in Richmond’s 12 Skinless Pork Sausages at 2.3g per 100g to the lowest in the Co-operative’s Irresistible 6 Sweet Chilli Sausages at 0.75g per 100g – a threefold difference in salt content per 100g.

They also uncovered large variations within supermarket own-brand sausages, with Asda’s Extra Special Bacon & Maple Syrup option containing 1.1g of salt per sausage – more than double the same retailer’s Extra Special Lincolnshire Pork Sausages.

Even going meat-free is not a healthy option, with Quorn’s vegetarian Best of British Sausages containing 1.9g of salt per 100g, or 2.2g in two sausages, which is more than the salt content of half a Pizza Hut Margherita pizza.

The worst offender overall is Richmond, whose full range of sausages tops other manufacturers for salt. In fact, the salt content of its sausages has remained consistently high since at least 2011, which Cash said suggested Richmond had made no effort to reduce it.

About 85% of meat sausages surveyed by Cash were also high in saturated fat – another cause of strokes and heart disease – while Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Toulouse Inspired British Pork Sausages contained 12.2g of saturated fat per two sausages, more than half the recommended daily maximum intake of saturated fat for women.

Some of the biggest brands, including Richmond, Wall’s and Iceland, failed to provide traffic light labelling on their packaging, even using a portion size as one sausage, which Cash said was “completely unrealistic”.

“The UK has led the world on salt reduction but this survey clearly shows that many companies are not cooperating with the current voluntary policy,” said Graham MacGregor, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Cash. “Public Health England, which is now responsible, must get tough on those companies not complying and set new mandatory targets to be achieved by 2020. Otherwise, thousands of people will die from unnecessary strokes and heart attacks every year.”

The Guardian contacted Richmond for comment.

A spokeswoman for Quorn said: “Quorn produces a range of sausages, with its bestselling Quorn Sausages being low in salt and highlighted on the front of pack. The range featured by Cash is Quorn’s Best of British Sausages, which offer slightly more indulgent sausages. While they are higher in salt, as clearly marked on pack, they are still low in saturated fat.”

Dr Alison Tedstone, Public Health England’s chief nutritionist, commented: “Our salt consumption has decreased over the last decade – a loaf of bread has 40% less than it used to. However, some products are still too high in salt and we know this can be reduced further.”

Sausage sandwich has two-thirds of daily salt allowance, study finds

The humble sausage sandwich could contain nearly two-thirds of an adult’s maximum daily recommended intake of salt – more than a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and large fries, a health group has warned.

Research by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash) has revealed “shocking and excessively high” amounts of salt in well-known brands of the British banger – a favourite in the UK – but vegetarian options are just as unhealthy.

Cash said many companies had failed to reduce salt in their products with just three weeks left for them to reach 2017 targets set by Public Health England.

The British eat more than 175,000 tonnes of sausages each year, despite them being named by the World Health Organisation in 2015 as a likely cause of cancer.

The survey found that the average salt content of sausages was 1.3g per 100g, or 1.16g per typical portion of two sausages – a figure that has remained relatively unchanged since 2011, exceeding the salt reduction targets in place at that time. The maximum daily recommended intake for an adult is 6g.

The saltiest sausages were Iceland’s Jumbo Pork range, at 1.28g each, but that went up to 3.78g including the ingredients for a sandwich, compared with 3.22g for a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and large fries.

Researchers collected data for 212 chilled, frozen, vegetarian and meat sausages sold by all the major supermarkets, but excluding sausage rolls, cocktail sausages and frankfurters.

They found a wide range of salt levels across all sausages, from the highest in Richmond’s 12 Skinless Pork Sausages at 2.3g per 100g to the lowest in the Co-operative’s Irresistible 6 Sweet Chilli Sausages at 0.75g per 100g – a threefold difference in salt content per 100g.

They also uncovered large variations within supermarket own-brand sausages, with Asda’s Extra Special Bacon & Maple Syrup option containing 1.1g of salt per sausage – more than double the same retailer’s Extra Special Lincolnshire Pork Sausages.

Even going meat-free is not a healthy option, with Quorn’s vegetarian Best of British Sausages containing 1.9g of salt per 100g, or 2.2g in two sausages, which is more than the salt content of half a Pizza Hut Margherita pizza.

The worst offender overall is Richmond, whose full range of sausages tops other manufacturers for salt. In fact, the salt content of its sausages has remained consistently high since at least 2011, which Cash said suggested Richmond had made no effort to reduce it.

About 85% of meat sausages surveyed by Cash were also high in saturated fat – another cause of strokes and heart disease – while Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Toulouse Inspired British Pork Sausages contained 12.2g of saturated fat per two sausages, more than half the recommended daily maximum intake of saturated fat for women.

Some of the biggest brands, including Richmond, Wall’s and Iceland, failed to provide traffic light labelling on their packaging, even using a portion size as one sausage, which Cash said was “completely unrealistic”.

“The UK has led the world on salt reduction but this survey clearly shows that many companies are not cooperating with the current voluntary policy,” said Graham MacGregor, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Cash. “Public Health England, which is now responsible, must get tough on those companies not complying and set new mandatory targets to be achieved by 2020. Otherwise, thousands of people will die from unnecessary strokes and heart attacks every year.”

The Guardian contacted Richmond for comment.

A spokeswoman for Quorn said: “Quorn produces a range of sausages, with its bestselling Quorn Sausages being low in salt and highlighted on the front of pack. The range featured by Cash is Quorn’s Best of British Sausages, which offer slightly more indulgent sausages. While they are higher in salt, as clearly marked on pack, they are still low in saturated fat.”

Dr Alison Tedstone, Public Health England’s chief nutritionist, commented: “Our salt consumption has decreased over the last decade – a loaf of bread has 40% less than it used to. However, some products are still too high in salt and we know this can be reduced further.”

Radical diet can reverse type 2 diabetes, new study shows

A radical low-calorie diet can reverse type 2 diabetes, even six years into the disease, a new study has found.

The number of cases of type 2 diabetes is soaring, related to the obesity epidemic. Fat accumulated in the abdomen prevents the proper function of the pancreas. It can lead to serious and life-threatening complications, including blindness and foot amputations, heart and kidney disease.

A new study from Newcastle and Glasgow Universities shows that the disease can be reversed by losing weight, so that sufferers no longer have to take medication and are free of the symptoms and risks. Nine out of 10 people in the trial who lost 15kg (two-and-a-half stone) or more put their type 2 diabetes into remission.

Prof Roy Taylor from Newcastle University, lead researcher in the trial funded by Diabetes UK, said: “These findings are very exciting. They could revolutionise the way type 2 diabetes is treated. This builds on the work into the underlying cause of the condition, so that we can target management effectively.

“Substantial weight loss results in reduced fat inside the liver and pancreas, allowing these organs to return to normal function. What we’re seeing … is that losing weight isn’t just linked to better management of type 2 diabetes: significant weight loss could actually result in lasting remission.”

Worldwide, the number of people with type 2 diabetes has quadrupled over 35 years, rising from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. This is expected to climb to 642 million by 2040. Type 2 diabetes affects almost 1 in 10 adults in the UK and costs the NHS about £14bn a year.

Type 2 diabetes is usually treated with medication and in some cases, bariatric surgery to restrict stomach capacity, which has also been shown to reverse the disease.

“Rather than addressing the root cause, management guidelines for type 2 diabetes focus on reducing blood sugar levels through drug treatments. Diet and lifestyle are touched upon, but diabetes remission by cutting calories is rarely discussed,” said Taylor.

“A major difference from other studies is that we advised a period of dietary weight loss with no increase in physical activity, but during the long-term follow up increased daily activity is important. Bariatric surgery can achieve remission of diabetes in about three-quarters of people, but it is more expensive and risky, and is only available to a small number of patients.”

The trial results, published in the Lancet and presented at the International Diabetes Federation Congress in Abu Dhabi, show that after one year, participants had lost an average of 10kg, and nearly half had reverted to a non-diabetic state.

There were 298 adults on the trial aged 20–65, who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the last six years, from 49 primary care practices in Scotland and Tyneside. Half of the practices put their patients on the very low calorie diet, while the rest were a control group, in which patients received usual care. Only 4% of the control group managed to achieve remission.

The diet was a formula of 825–853 calories per day for 3 to 5 months, followed by the stepped reintroduction of food over two to eight weeks. The participants were all given support throughout, including cognitive behaviour therapy and were encouraged to exercise.

“Our findings suggest that even if you have had type 2 diabetes for six years, putting the disease into remission is feasible”, says Prof Michael Lean from the University of Glasgow who co-led the study. “In contrast to other approaches, we focus on the need for long-term maintenance of weight loss through diet and exercise and encourage flexibility to optimise individual results.”

Isobel Murray, 65 from North Ayrshire, was one of those who took part. Over two years she lost three and a half stone (22kg) and no longer needs medication. “It has transformed my life,” she said. “I had type 2 diabetes for two to three years before the study. I was on various medications which were constantly increasing and I was becoming more and more ill every day.

“When the doctors told me that my pancreas was working again, it felt fantastic, absolutely amazing. I don’t think of myself as a diabetic anymore.”

Taylor said that the trail shows that the very large weight losses that bariatric surgery can bring about are not necessary to reverse the disease. “The weight loss goals provided by this programme are achievable for many people. The big challenge is long-term avoidance of weight re-gain,” he said.

Radical diet can reverse type 2 diabetes, new study shows

A radical low-calorie diet can reverse type 2 diabetes, even six years into the disease, a new study has found.

The number of cases of type 2 diabetes is soaring, related to the obesity epidemic. Fat accumulated in the abdomen prevents the proper function of the pancreas. It can lead to serious and life-threatening complications, including blindness and foot amputations, heart and kidney disease.

A new study from Newcastle and Glasgow Universities shows that the disease can be reversed by losing weight, so that sufferers no longer have to take medication and are free of the symptoms and risks. Nine out of 10 people in the trial who lost 15kg (two-and-a-half stone) or more put their type 2 diabetes into remission.

Prof Roy Taylor from Newcastle University, lead researcher in the trial funded by Diabetes UK, said: “These findings are very exciting. They could revolutionise the way type 2 diabetes is treated. This builds on the work into the underlying cause of the condition, so that we can target management effectively.

“Substantial weight loss results in reduced fat inside the liver and pancreas, allowing these organs to return to normal function. What we’re seeing … is that losing weight isn’t just linked to better management of type 2 diabetes: significant weight loss could actually result in lasting remission.”

Worldwide, the number of people with type 2 diabetes has quadrupled over 35 years, rising from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. This is expected to climb to 642 million by 2040. Type 2 diabetes affects almost 1 in 10 adults in the UK and costs the NHS about £14bn a year.

Type 2 diabetes is usually treated with medication and in some cases, bariatric surgery to restrict stomach capacity, which has also been shown to reverse the disease.

“Rather than addressing the root cause, management guidelines for type 2 diabetes focus on reducing blood sugar levels through drug treatments. Diet and lifestyle are touched upon, but diabetes remission by cutting calories is rarely discussed,” said Taylor.

“A major difference from other studies is that we advised a period of dietary weight loss with no increase in physical activity, but during the long-term follow up increased daily activity is important. Bariatric surgery can achieve remission of diabetes in about three-quarters of people, but it is more expensive and risky, and is only available to a small number of patients.”

The trial results, published in the Lancet and presented at the International Diabetes Federation Congress in Abu Dhabi, show that after one year, participants had lost an average of 10kg, and nearly half had reverted to a non-diabetic state.

There were 298 adults on the trial aged 20–65, who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the last six years, from 49 primary care practices in Scotland and Tyneside. Half of the practices put their patients on the very low calorie diet, while the rest were a control group, in which patients received usual care. Only 4% of the control group managed to achieve remission.

The diet was a formula of 825–853 calories per day for 3 to 5 months, followed by the stepped reintroduction of food over two to eight weeks. The participants were all given support throughout, including cognitive behaviour therapy and were encouraged to exercise.

“Our findings suggest that even if you have had type 2 diabetes for six years, putting the disease into remission is feasible”, says Prof Michael Lean from the University of Glasgow who co-led the study. “In contrast to other approaches, we focus on the need for long-term maintenance of weight loss through diet and exercise and encourage flexibility to optimise individual results.”

Isobel Murray, 65 from North Ayrshire, was one of those who took part. Over two years she lost three and a half stone (22kg) and no longer needs medication. “It has transformed my life,” she said. “I had type 2 diabetes for two to three years before the study. I was on various medications which were constantly increasing and I was becoming more and more ill every day.

“When the doctors told me that my pancreas was working again, it felt fantastic, absolutely amazing. I don’t think of myself as a diabetic anymore.”

Taylor said that the trail shows that the very large weight losses that bariatric surgery can bring about are not necessary to reverse the disease. “The weight loss goals provided by this programme are achievable for many people. The big challenge is long-term avoidance of weight re-gain,” he said.

Marriage could help reduce risk of dementia, study suggests

Being married could help stave off dementia, a new study has suggested.

Levels of social interaction could explain the finding, experts have said, after the research showed that people who are single or widowed are more likely to develop the disease.

Experts conducted an analysis of 15 studies which held data on dementia and marital status involving more than 800,000 people from Europe, North and South America, and Asia.

Their study, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, concluded that lifelong singletons have a 42% elevated risk of dementia compared with married couples.

Those who have been widowed had a 20% increased risk compared with married people, they found, but no elevated risk was found among divorcees compared with those who were still married.

The researchers, led by experts from University College London, said previous research has shown that married people may adopt healthier lifestyles. They may also be more likely to be socially engaged than singletons.

Meanwhile, the effect observed in people who have been widowed could be due to stress that comes with bereavement, they added. Another explanation could be that developing dementia could be related to other underlying cognitive or personality traits.

Commenting on the study, Dr Laura Phipps of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “There is compelling research showing married people generally live longer and enjoy better health, with many different factors likely to be contributing to that link. People who are married tend to be financially better off, a factor that is closely interwoven with many aspects of our health.

“Spouses may help to encourage healthy habits, look out for their partner’s health and provide important social support. Research suggests that social interaction can help to build cognitive reserve – a mental resilience that allows people to function for longer with a disease like Alzheimer’s before showing symptoms.

“Staying physically, mentally, and socially active are all important aspects of a healthy lifestyle and these are things everyone, regardless of their marital status, can work towards.”

Marriage could help reduce risk of dementia, study suggests

Being married could help stave off dementia, a new study has suggested.

Levels of social interaction could explain the finding, experts have said, after the research showed that people who are single or widowed are more likely to develop the disease.

Experts conducted an analysis of 15 studies which held data on dementia and marital status involving more than 800,000 people from Europe, North and South America, and Asia.

Their study, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, concluded that lifelong singletons have a 42% elevated risk of dementia compared with married couples.

Those who have been widowed had a 20% increased risk compared with married people, they found, but no elevated risk was found among divorcees compared with those who were still married.

The researchers, led by experts from University College London, said previous research has shown that married people may adopt healthier lifestyles. They may also be more likely to be socially engaged than singletons.

Meanwhile, the effect observed in people who have been widowed could be due to stress that comes with bereavement, they added. Another explanation could be that developing dementia could be related to other underlying cognitive or personality traits.

Commenting on the study, Dr Laura Phipps of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “There is compelling research showing married people generally live longer and enjoy better health, with many different factors likely to be contributing to that link. People who are married tend to be financially better off, a factor that is closely interwoven with many aspects of our health.

“Spouses may help to encourage healthy habits, look out for their partner’s health and provide important social support. Research suggests that social interaction can help to build cognitive reserve – a mental resilience that allows people to function for longer with a disease like Alzheimer’s before showing symptoms.

“Staying physically, mentally, and socially active are all important aspects of a healthy lifestyle and these are things everyone, regardless of their marital status, can work towards.”