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Health: News In Brief

Thursday, June 24, 1999 Published at 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK

'Screen all pregnant women for cystic fibrosis'

A controversial plan to screen all pregnant women for the chronic lung disease cystic fibrosis have been put forward by scientists.

A simple mouthwash can tell if a parent is a carrier of the disease. If both parents are carriers of the gene for cystic fibrosis, there is a one in four chance that their children will suffer from the disease.

Under the new proposals, if the test proved positive, the parents would then be offered the choice of whether to continue with the pregnancy or not.

The plan is being considered by the NHS Executive.

Cancer specialists renew cash call

Cancer specialists and MPs have renewed calls for an additional £100m a year funding for cancer.

Speaking at the Britain Against Cancer Conference organised by Ian Gibson MP, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer, they urged the government to match the funding offered by the cancer charities.

Sir Paul Nurse, director general of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, said: "We need to have a long term strategy - one which enables basic research to be turned into real patient benefit.

"The funding must be there to follow long-term plans."

Professor Gordon McVie said that charities funded about 95% of cancer research in the UK at the moment.

'Give children better false limbs'

Children should get more realistic looking false limbs on the NHS, a Conservative MP has said.

Speaking in the Commons, Julian Lewis mentioned the case of Laura Giddings, a 14-year-old constituent of his who lost her leg after a bomb exploded at a restaurant in South Africa.

He said there were few realistic looking limbs available on the NHS and this added to the psychological trauma of children with amputations.

He called on the government to "at least" refund the value of an NHS limb to parents who chose to buy a realistic private one, as happens with patients who buy their own wheelchairs.

Leader of the House Margaret Beckett suggested Mr Lewis should raise the issue with Health Secretary Frank Dobson.

Conference first on healthcare genetics

A major genetics conference is the first in the UK alllowing academics and health professionals to share views on key research.

Organised by the University of Glamorgan's Welsh Institute of Health and Social Care, "The Genetics Revolution and the Future for Health and Social Care" includes speakers on cystic fibrosis and from the field of embryology.

The institute's director, Professor Morton Warner, said: "As we move from a diagnose and manage approach to one based on prediction and prevention, there will be wide-ranging implications for all those involved in health and social care provision."

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Health Contents

Background Briefings
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Internet Links

Cancer Research Campaign

Imperial Cancer Research Fund

Institute of Child Health

Cystic Fibrosis

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