Quitting smoking can reverse negative effects

Quitting smoking, even up to middle age, helps reverse the harmful effects it has on the brain, The Times has reported.

The largest study of its kind by the University of Edinburgh revealed that participants who had given up smoking had a thicker cortex than those who had just quit.

Smoking accelerates the natural thinning of the outer layer of the brain, which in turn impacts thinking skills.

NHS mandate consultation

The government consultation into the future of the NHS will close on Monday.

The mandate, published on a yearly basis, sets the government’s objectives and the budget for NHS England.

You can find the details and response form here.

Responses roll in to doctors’ strike

NHS Employers has urged the BMA Junior Doctors’ Committee not to formally decide to strike, in response to the BMA’s ‘yes’ vote for industrial.

Chief executive Danny Mortimer said: “Today's announcement is disappointing and will result in thousands of NHS patients, their families and carers being concerned that their planned care and treatment will be disrupted during December.

“NHS organisations are now working hard to keep disruption to a minimum but it is inevitable that appointments will be postponed, surgery rearranged and clinics closed.”

Meanwhile Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association said: “The Patients Association are extremely worried by the confirmation that industrial action by junior doctors will go ahead.

“Patient safety will undoubtedly be put at risk by this decision. Whilst the views of doctors must be heard, the potential consequences of this strike for patients are severe.”

HIV home test

A free HIV home-testing kit has been launched across England as the latest figures show 18,100 people in the UK are unaware they have the infection, the BBC has reported.

The test, which can be ordered online, uses a small droplet of blood that is sent to a laboratory.

Public Health England (PHE) is urging more people to check their HIV status.