Monday, February 20, 2012

Alcohol seen killing 200,000 Britons in next 20 years

LONDON (REUTERS) - Up to 210,000 people in England and Wales will be killed prematurely by alcohol over the next 20 years, with a third of those preventable deaths due to liver disease alone, health experts warned on Monday.
Other alcohol-related deaths will be due to accidents, violence and suicide, or from chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, strokes, heart disease and cancer, the experts warned in a projection study in the Lancet medical journal.
Yet Ian Gilmore, former president of the Royal College of Physicians and one of the lead authors of the work, said it was'entirely within the power of the UK government' to take steps to tackle Britain's drink problem and 'prevent the worst-case scenario of avoidable deaths'.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Scientists teach computers to assess psychiatric risk

LONDON (REUTERS) - Computer programmes can be taught to select between brain scans of healthy young people and scans showing adolescents who are at higher risk of developing mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, scientists said on Thursday.
In a study in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) ONE journal, British researchers said their findings suggest it may be possible to design programmes to predict which at-risk adolescents will go on to have psychiatric problems, giving doctors more time to intervene before illnesses set in.
'Combining machine learning and neuroimaging, we have a technique which shows enormous potential to help us identify which adolescents are at true risk of developing anxiety and mood disorders, especially where there is limited clinical or genetic information,' said Janaina Mourao-Miranda of University College London, who led the study.