HEALTH NOTES: Luna’s the top dog for school’s autistic children

A dog is soon to be an unlikely new classmate for pupils at a primary school.

One-year-old Luna will be supporting children with autism, which affects social interactions, at Redriff Primary School City of London Academy in South-East London.

Luna, a golden retriever poodle cross, will become the school’s first therapy dog when she joins after completing her training with a charity that specialises in training dogs to work in schools.

Jack Gibbs, Luna’s owner and assistant headteacher at the school, said: ‘We hope that Luna is able to be a loving companion for the children and encourage them emotionally, physically and socially.

‘She will help the children reach their full potential.’

The school, which is accredited by the National Autistic Society, has an integrated unit called ‘the boathouse’ with 14 places for children with special education needs.

Tone-deaf singers can boost their mental health by joining ‘tuneless’ choirs. Recent studies have shown singing is beneficial to mental health, reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as loneliness.

Tuneless Choir founder Nadine Cooper, 50 – once banned from a singing class due to her ‘tuneless’ voice – says: ‘I read about how doing it releases endorphins, our feelgood hormones. I wanted somewhere that I could sing and have people laugh with me rather than at me.’

The network’s ethos, ‘sing like no one is listening’, has encouraged thousands to take part since the first event in West Bridgford, Nottingham, in 2015. Choirs are to be launched in 29 new locations.

A pill containing bacteria that absorb stomach gases could help beat the bloat. Called Blautix, the pill contains a live bacterium called Blautia hydrogenotrophica that mops up hydrogen sulphide – the rotten-egg gas that causes abdominal pain, discomfort and flatulence after eating.

The pill is being trialled at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, London, by 500 patients with the common digestive complaint irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which affects one in five people in the UK.

New research found that more than eight in ten patients using the twice-a-day capsule had improvements in pain, cramps and bloating. People with IBS have different types of bacteria in their gut than those not affected by it, and it is this which is thought to be responsible for symptoms.

The painkiller ibuprofen can cut the risk of bowel cancer by more than a quarter, a major new study shows.

Researchers from Spain and Serbia trawled through data from one million people and found that regular use of the popular over-the-counter drug protected some groups against the disease – especially women and those over 40.

Ibuprofen belongs to a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS.

The theory is that ibuprofen stifles tumour development by dampening inflammation in the bowel.

Aspirin, also an NSAID, was not part of the study because of its links to stomach bleeds.

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