HEALTH NOTES: Breathalyser kit that can detect Covid being developed

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HEALTH NOTES: Breathalyser kit that can detect Covid being developed

A type of breathalyser machine is being developed that can diagnose Covid infections.

When the user breathes into a tube, lasers analyses it, spotting the virus molecules by measuring how many light particles are absorbed.

The machine is made by a team from the University of Colorado Boulder and a recent study of 170 people found that it was 85 per cent accurate.

Its creators are now making a more portable version and believe the technique may work on other early diagnosis diseases such as pancreatic cancer.

A type of breathalyser machine is being developed that can diagnose Covid infections (stock photo)

A type of breathalyser machine is being developed that can diagnose Covid infections (stock photo)

Tomatoes could be key to fertility

A study into whether a nutrient found in tomatoes can increase the quality of sperm is being carried out by British doctors.

Previous research has shown that lycopene, which gives tomatoes their red colouring, can boost the chance of conception, so scientists at the University of Sheffield will now give 40 men with fertility problems a concentrated daily supplement of the natural compound.

The vitamin pill that will be used is LactoLycopene, which is available to buy at some high street chemists. After 12 weeks, researchers will measure the men’s sperm count and compare them with a control group given placebos.

Dr Allan Pacey, professor of andrology at the University of Sheffield, said the team want to find out if doses of LactoLycopene can help couples avoid invasive fertility treatments.

Research has shown that lycopene, which gives tomatoes their red colouring, can boost the chance of conception

Research has shown that lycopene, which gives tomatoes their red colouring, can boost the chance of conception

Pausing breast cancer treatment while pregnant doesn’t increase the risk of the disease returning, a study has found.

Most women who’ve had breast cancer then take drugs that reduce their level of sex hormones for up to a decade, as tumours grow in response to oestrogen and progesterone. But this medication can cause birth defects, so women are usually told to wait before having a baby. For many, this makes it too late for a family.

Researchers at the Dana-Farber Institute in Boston have now compared 516 women who paused treatment for three years with 1,500 who didn’t. In both, nine per cent went on to develop a new or recurrent tumour.

Breast cancer surgeon Dr Mary Gemignani says: ‘Short term, it appears to be safe to take the break.’

GPs have been warned against telling patients to call the NHS’s 111 urgent care helpline.

The guidance by NHS England is to direct patients to 111 only in ‘exceptional circumstances’. The helpline is a free, 24-hour service that offers advice for urgent medical problems, but demand is so high that one in six callers give up before they reach an operator.

Now, as part of plan to improve patient rapport, all GPs must keep a record of patients they refer to 111 and inform their local health trust when they do.



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