Sperm count drop 'may lead to human extinction'

Humans could become extinct if sperm counts in men from North America, Europe and Australia continue to fall at current rates, a doctor has warned. Researchers assessing the results of nearly 200 separate studies say sperm counts among men from these areas seem to have halved in less than 40 years. Some experts are sceptical of the findings, in Human Reproduction Update. But lead researcher Dr Hagai Levine said he was “very worried” about what…

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HIV-prevention ring a hit with teen girls

A vaginal ring to prevent HIV infection is popular with teenage girls, US scientists say. Women and girls aged 15-24 account for a fifth of all new HIV infections globally. Nearly 1,000 are infected every day in sub-Saharan Africa. Infused with microbicides, the ring, which sits on the cervix, has been shown to cut infections by 56%. Experts say it frees women from relying on men to wear condoms and allows them to protect themselves…

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More than 80,000 NHS posts vacant, says report

A record 86,000 NHS posts were vacant between January 2017 and March 2017, the latest NHS Digital figures for the NHS in England suggest. The report shows the number of vacancies climbed by almost 8,000 compared to the same period in 2016. Nurses and midwives accounted for the highest proportion of shortages, with 11,400 vacant posts in March 2017. The data included job adverts published on the NHS Jobs website between February 2015 and March…

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NHS 'does not need more money to improve'

The NHS does not necessarily need more money to improve care, the outgoing chief inspector of hospitals in England, Prof Sir Mike Richards, says. Sir Mike said there were more cost-effective ways of running the service, such as ending the use of what he called “very expensive” agency nurses. There was “no doubt” the NHS needed more money, he said. But any injection of funds should be used to transform the way the health service…

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Time, not material goods, 'raises happiness'

Using money to free-up time is linked to increased happiness, a study says. In an experiment, individuals reported greater happiness if they used £30 ($ 40) to save time – such as by paying for chores to be done – rather than spending the money on material goods. Psychologists say stress over lack of time causes lower well-being and contributes to anxiety and insomnia. Yet, they say even the very wealthy are often reluctant to…

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Drugs cocktail 'cut HIV deaths by 27%'

More than 10,000 lives a year could be saved with a simple change to HIV medication, doctors say. HIV is often diagnosed late, when it has already ravaged the immune system, leaving people vulnerable. To counter this, researchers tried prescribing a cocktail of drugs at the start of HIV therapy to treat “opportunistic” infections. The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed deaths fell by 27%. HIV itself does not kill. Instead,…

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Charlie Gard: 'Last precious moments' for parents with their son

Media playback is unsupported on your device Charlie Gard’s parents are spending their “last precious moments” with their terminally ill son after ending their legal fight to take him to the US for treatment. Lawyers said Chris Gard and Connie Yates want to spend the “maximum amount of time they have left with Charlie”. The couple ended the case after a US doctor told them it was now too late to treat Charlie’s rare genetic…

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Cervical smear tests: 'Concerning' delays on results letters

Almost half of women in England screened for cervical cancer are waiting more than the two-week target for their results. NHS England said based on its latest data 54% of women screened are getting their results on time. Delays are being blamed on cytology labs struggling to keep staff as the screening process is replaced with another – which will need fewer staff. A cervical cancer charity said waiting for results is “an anxious time.”…

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