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Home menopause tests are waste of time and money, say doctors | Menopause

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Women are wasting their time and money buying do-at-home menopause testing kits, doctors have warned.

The urine tests are not predictive enough to tell whether a woman is going through the phase when her periods will stop, they have told the BBC.

But manufacturers told the broadcaster the kits should never replace medical advice.

A few companies sell UK-approved menopause tests online and in shops, which can be bought without a prescription for about £10 for a pack of two.

The tests, which give a result within minutes, accurately measure levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which helps manage the menstrual cycle. But experts say it is not a reliable marker of the menopause or perimenopause.

Dr Annice Mukherjee, a leading menopause and hormone doctor from the Society of Endocrinology, told the BBC the FSH urine tests were “another example of exploitation of midlife women by the commercial menopause industry, who have financial conflicts of interest”.

She accused the companies of using misleading information about “FSH sometimes being a helpful marker of menopause” and called the perimenopause a “hormone rollercoaster”.

“It’s not helpful for women to access [FSH] directly,” she said. “It is not a reliable marker of perimenopause and can cause more confusion among women taking the test. At worst, misinterpretation of results can cause harm.”

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), along with other leading experts in women’s health, said the tests could be unhelpful and potentially misleading.

An RCOG spokesperson, the consultant gynaecologist Haitham Hamoda from King’s College hospital, who chairs the British Menopause Society, said: “The RCOG does not recommend over-the-counter menopause tests as they are not a good method of detecting menopause or perimenopause.”

NHS guidelines also discourage FSH testing for over-45s with classic menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes because it adds nothing diagnostically.

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The manufacturer of the SelfCheck Menopause test says while menopause cannot be defined by a single simple test, hormonal imbalance is the most important indicator. And a constant high FSH level may indicate “the ovaries are not working” and “no egg production is happening”.

“These kits bring a feeling of being in charge of your health by knowing your FSH levels and seeking medical help to combat any of them successfully,” it says.

The company’s director, Dr John Rees, told BBC News: “Whatever the result, users of self-tests, including the SelfCheck Menopause test, are instructed to speak with their doctor before taking any action on the result.

“The instructions provided with the tests are reviewed and agreed with the regulators prior to approval for use.

“Self-test kits are not meant to replace traditional healthcare pathways but can prompt people to speak with their doctor about their health concerns whether they have a positive or negative result.”

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Alaska y el Ártico registran temperaturas inusualmente altas

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Buena parte del Ártico atraviesa una inusual ola de calor decembrino.

En Utqiagvik, la comunidad más septentrional de Alaska —conocida anteriormente como Barrow, el termómetro alcanzó los 4.4 grados Celsius (40 °Fahrenheit) la mañana del lunes. La cifra no sólo representa un récord por 3.3 grados Celsius (6 °F), sino que es la temperatura más alta que se haya registrado en la región entre finales de octubre y finales de abril, según Rick Thoman, especialista climático en el Centro de Investigación del Ártico de la Universidad de Alaska, campus Fairbanks.

En Nome, Alaska, hubo lluvias durante el fin de semana, lo cual es inusual pero no insólito en diciembre, y la localidad también impuso un nuevo récord de altas temperaturas el domingo. El arroyo Savoonga estaba desbordado y no estaba cubierto de nieve, así como tampoco la comunidad de Teller, al noroeste de Nome, donde a estas alturas del año se usa la nieve para hacerse de agua potable, indicó Thoman.

El domingo, todo el Ártico tuvo una temperatura promedio 6.4 °C (11.5 °F) más elevada que el promedio de entre 1979 y 2000, y el lunes los modelos computacionales mostraron que ese promedio posiblemente sea 5.9 °C (10.5 °F) más alto de lo normal, según el sistema Climate Reanalyzer de la Universidad de Maine.

El clima del viernes en Nuuk, Groenlandia, era para andar de manga corta en diciembre, con la temperatura máxima de 12.2 °C (54 °F), que es 14.4 °C (26 °F) por encima de la máxima normal.

En Kangerlussuaq, Groenlandia, el termómetro alcanzó el viernes los 8.9 °C (48 °F), es decir, 18.9 °C (34 °F) más caliente de lo normal.

“Todo el Ártico está caliente salvo por pequeñas porciones en la parte centro y este del Ártico canadiense, y una porción muy reducida de Siberia”, declaró Thoman desde Fairbanks.

Esto se debe en parte a un sistema de tormentas, lo cual posiblemente sea sólo un evento fortuito, pero también debido a un nivel de hielo marino más bajo de lo normal como resultado del cambio climático provocado por el ser humano, comentó Thoman.

El hielo marino se encuentra en su sexto nivel más bajo del que se tenga registro, según el Centro Nacional de Datos de Nieve y Hielo. Está muy por debajo de lo normal, “pero hemos visto situaciones peores”, puntualizó Thoman.

El hielo marino es importante porque en algunas zonas del Ártico no hay sol durante el invierno y la atmósfera es fría. Pero si hay aguas abiertas, por lo general son más cálidas que la atmósfera.

“Hagan de cuenta que se trata de una almohadilla térmica que simplemente emite calor a la atmósfera”, explicó Thoman.

Debido a la menor cantidad de hielo marino, buena parte del Ártico se está calentando actualmente cuatro veces más rápido que el resto del planeta, lo que resulta en un incremento de “eventos de calor invernal”, dijo el científico del Servicio Meteorológico de Dinamarca Jason Box, quien realiza estudios sobre Groenlandia.

“Algunas personas dicen: ‘venga, es sólo el clima’”, comentó Box. “Sin embargo, temperaturas sin precedentes de las cuales hemos tenido muchos ejemplos en los últimos años nos cuentan la verdadera historia del calentamiento climático”.

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He wants to get back together, but I have no interest in reconnecting – Chicago Tribune

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Dear Amy: I dated “C” for only a month in 2020.

It was obviously not long term. I was the one who broke it off. I have not contacted him since. Recently, I logged onto Facebook for the first time in a long time, and I noticed that he has been messaging me over the course of the last two years – and as recently as last week (which is odd since he has my phone number).

It’s clear that he wants to get back together, but I have no interest in reconnecting with him.

I’m now wondering if I should tell him the reasons I broke off the relationship.

Telling him would be purely selfish and therapeutic (for me).

I never told him all the things that bothered me, and if I did now, I’d finally be able to get it off my chest.

Additionally, maybe he’ll be willing to take this feedback for what it is?

I’m NOT claiming I can change him, but what if my feedback helps?

It’s clear he’s not had much luck maintaining a committed relationship (based on all the messages I’ve received over the years), so maybe he’ll be willing to listen?

However, I hesitate for a few reasons.

The truth will sound harsh – because it is.

At the top of the list is that he was immature, racist, and unscrupulous (i.e., stealing from his job), along with a long laundry list of other terrible behavior.

I wonder if I’m even the right person to tell him these things.

I only knew him for a month, so perhaps I’m being too judgmental?

Should I just let him continue on his own journey?

– Hesitant

Dear Hesitant: Helpful feedback might be: “You’re late too often. Your hygiene needs improvement. Your roommates are rude.”

This guy’s infractions (aside from his immaturity) are all things he already knows are wrong – because we all know they’re wrong: He’s racist. He’s a thief.

Feedback in this context would only be a recitation of your own values. Self-improvement is not on the horizon for him – unless he expresses a desire for it, which he doesn’t seem to have done.

He is messaging you because he can. Your lack of response doesn’t seem to discourage him.

I suggest that you continue not to respond, consider blocking him, and hope that he is messaging you on FB because he has lost your number.

Dear Amy: I recently became debt-free, thanks to about eight years of hard work.

The person I am dating has been asking me how they can become debt-free.

I’ve explained multiple times how I did this, offering all the free resources I have used, but they keep bringing it up as though we’ve never had the conversation.

Last week, when I was asked again, I just offered no advice and just listened to a recitation of the emotional issues surrounding their debt.

I didn’t say anything.

I wonder, how can I be of help without endlessly repeating myself?

– Not in Debt David

Dear David: Congratulations on achieving this enviable state. You’ve dedicated almost a decade to the long and slow climb out of debt, and you are absolutely justified in feeling very proud.

On many levels, being in debt is something like being trapped in an addiction. The addicted person can be very interested in or intrigued by recovery, but until they take concrete steps – of their own – recovery cannot begin.

By discussing this with you, this person is temporarily relieving the pressure caused by the state of indebtedness, but rather than using you as a sounding board, your date might explore a group like Debtors Anonymous (DA), where they can receive ongoing support, as well as encouragement, to face their debt.

Hand your date a teaspoon to start the process of digging out, and send them a link to Debtorsanonymous.org.

Dear Amy: Readers are mad because you didn’t call password sharing for streaming services theft!

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Good Grief, Charlie Brown. First, it’s not theft. It’s my password and account, and I can share it.

Some households split the streaming costs to combine services.

It’s only theft if you give someone’s password and login information away without their knowledge. I think your detractors are a bunch of whiners.

– Derek

Dear Derek: Readers saw sharing passwords as “theft,” essentially stealing from the streaming service companies. (People are very protective of their profit margins.)

Video streaming services are starting to limit the number of users who can share an account.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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Thousands of ambulance workers and other NHS staff in England and Wales to strike on 21 December – live | Politics

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Unite leader Sharon Graham says ambulance workers going on strike ‘to save our NHS from government’

The Unite union has given more detail of the NHS strike by its members. It said more than 1,600 workers for ambulance trusts in the West Midlands, the north-west and the north-east will go on strike on Wednesday 21 December.

But it said essential emergency cover would continue while the stoppage was on.

In a statement Sharon Graham, the Unite general secretary, said:

Make no mistake, we are now in the fight of our lives for the very NHS itself. These strikes are a stark warning – our members are taking a stand to save our NHS from this government.

Patients’ lives are already at risk but this government is sitting on the sidelines, dodging its responsibility to sort out the crisis that it has created.

Ministers can’t keep hiding behind the pay review body. They know full well it does not address the desperate need to get huge numbers of NHS workers off the breadline.

Fail to act now to avert these strikes and the blame will rest firmly at the government’s door.

Unite said it was still balloting 10,000 more NHS workers from 38 different employers about strike action, and that in January the strike ballot would be extended to even more NHS staff.

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The Unison union says its members are going to go on strike at five ambulance trusts in England on Wednesday 21 December. The Unison staff will walk out in London, Yorkshire, the north-west, the north-east and the south-west, and the strike will last from midday to midnight.

Ambulance staff who belong to Unite and the GMB are also on strike the same day.

Unison members working as nurses, porters, healthcare assistants, cleaners at two Liverpool hospitals – the Liverpool Heart and Chest hospital and Liverpool university hospital – will also hold a 24-hour strike starting at 7.30am on Wednesday 21 December.

Unison also says it is reballoting 13,000 NHS staff from 10 trusts and ambulance services – including the five ambulances services in England where Unison staff are not striking on 21 December – because in the original ballot the turnout was just below the 50% threshold required by law.

In a statement, Sara Gorton, Unison’s head of health, said:

Ambulance staff and their health colleagues don’t want to inconvenience anyone. But ministers are refusing to do the one thing that could prevent disruption – that’s start genuine talks about pay.

Wages are too low to stop health workers quitting the NHS. As more and more hand in their notice, there are fewer staff left to care for patients. The public knows that’s the reason behind lengthy waits at A&E, growing ambulance delays, postponed operations and cancelled clinics.

Threatened NHS strikes in Scotland were called off because ministers there understand higher wages and improved staffing levels go hand in hand. Unfortunately, the penny’s yet to drop for the Westminster government.

Ambulance crews working for five services in England will strike over pay & staffing from 12pm-12am on Weds 21 Dec.

“The government will only have itself to blame if there are strikes in the NHS before Christmas.” – @saragorton_1, UNISON head of health https://t.co/wPI7nDEVPp

— UNISON – UK’s largest union (@unisontheunion) December 6, 2022

Suella Braverman, the home secretary, told colleagues at cabinet the government would be stepping up action to deal with fraud, No 10 said.

The PM’s spokesperson told journalists at the No 10 lobby briefing Braverman said “going further on fraud would be an area of focus”. He said:

We know that fraud now makes up a substantial part of overall crime and it’s an area where the Home Office are focused working with police forces.

In the summary of what was said at cabinet, the spokesperson said:

[Braverman] said overall crime was down 10% since 2019, including fraud, with a 20% reduction in neighbourhood crime and a 30% fall in domestic burglary.

She said that the recruitment of more than 15,000 additional police officers meant that many forces now had the largest numbers of officers in their history.

She said going further on fraud would be an area of focus with a recent operation closing down a website responsible for 3.5m fraudulent calls in 2022, leading to 100 arrests.

The prime minister highlighted the powers given to the police to tackle disruptive protests and referenced his recent meeting with police chiefs where he made clear they would continue to have the powers and resources necessary to take decisive action.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, has issued this statement in response to the reports that Lady Mone is taking leave of absence from the Lords and that the Tories will not vote against Labour’s PPE motion. (See 11.31am and 11.41am.)

The Tories are all out of excuses.

Ministers must now set out clear timelines on when, where, and how this information will be released. They can’t keep taking the public for fools by refusing to come clean on what they knew about this dodgy deal.

Rishi Sunak was too weak to remove the whip, and has left it to Baroness Mone to finally read the writing on the wall.

No 10 says it’s still committed to legislating for minimum rail services to continue during strikes – but won’t say when

According to Downing Street, ministers did not discuss the Christmas strikes at this morning’s cabinet. Instead the main discussion was on crime, with Suella Braverman, the home secretary, telling colleagues overall crime was down by 10% since 2019.

On strikes, the PM’s spokesperson told journalists the government was still committed to bringing in minimum service levels for trains – which would lessen the impact of future industrial action by the rail unions. He said:

We recognise no legislation will be in place to mitigate against the disruption we’re expecting to see next week. We are pushing ahead with minimum service level legislation. That’s the plan whether or not the unions step back from the planned disruption next week.

But the spokesperson would not say when the legislation, which has been promised since 2019, might be introduced. He said it had been held up by the pandemic, and he went on: “It’s something we’re proceeding with as fast as parliamentary time allows.”

And the GMB has said that more than 10,000 of its members who are ambulance workers will go on strike on Wednesday 21 December. The strike will affect nine trusts: South West ambulance service; South East Coast ambulance service; North West ambulance service; South Central ambulance service; North East ambulance service; East Midlands ambulance service; West Midlands ambulance service; Welsh ambulance service; and Yorkshire ambulance service.

There will also be a strike by GMB members who are paramedics, emergency care assistants, call handlers on Wednesday 28 December.

Rachel Harrison, GMB national secretary, said:

After 12 years of Conservative cuts to the service and their pay packets, NHS staff have had enough. The last thing they want to do is take strike action but the Government has left them with no choice.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay needs to listen and engage with us about pay. If he can’t talk to us about this most basic workforce issue, what on earth is he health secretary for?

Unite leader Sharon Graham says ambulance workers going on strike ‘to save our NHS from government’

The Unite union has given more detail of the NHS strike by its members. It said more than 1,600 workers for ambulance trusts in the West Midlands, the north-west and the north-east will go on strike on Wednesday 21 December.

But it said essential emergency cover would continue while the stoppage was on.

In a statement Sharon Graham, the Unite general secretary, said:

Make no mistake, we are now in the fight of our lives for the very NHS itself. These strikes are a stark warning – our members are taking a stand to save our NHS from this government.

Patients’ lives are already at risk but this government is sitting on the sidelines, dodging its responsibility to sort out the crisis that it has created.

Ministers can’t keep hiding behind the pay review body. They know full well it does not address the desperate need to get huge numbers of NHS workers off the breadline.

Fail to act now to avert these strikes and the blame will rest firmly at the government’s door.

Unite said it was still balloting 10,000 more NHS workers from 38 different employers about strike action, and that in January the strike ballot would be extended to even more NHS staff.

Ambulance workers and other NHS staff to strike on 21 December, GMB, Unison and Unite unions announce

Thousands of ambulance workers and other NHS staff are to strike on 21 December in a dispute over pay, the GMB, Unison and Unite unions announced.

Mone taking leave of absence from Lords ‘to clear her name’, spokesperson says

A spokesperson for the Tory peer Lady Mone said:

With immediate effect, Baroness Mone will be taking a leave of absence from the House of Lords in order to clear her name of the allegations that have been unjustly levelled against her.

As PA Media reports, the leave of absence means Lady Mone will not attend sittings of the house, vote on any proceedings and will not be able to claim any allowance.

According to Hansard, Mone has only spoken in the Lords on five occasions since getting her peerage in 2015. She last voted in April.

Lady Mone to take leave of absence from Lords

Lady Mone, the Tory peer linked to the PPE Medpro, the firm that won the controversial PPE contracts which are the subject of Labour’s opposition day motion this afternoon (see 11.31am), is taking leave of absence from the Lords, PA Media reports.

#Breaking Tory peer Baroness Mone, who is at the centre of controversy over her alleged links to a firm awarded a PPE contract, will take a leave of absence from the House of Lords with immediate effect, the PA news agency understands pic.twitter.com/rekrOZiGDO

— PA Media (@PA) December 6, 2022

In practice, this will have little effect. Mone has not been a regular contributor to the Lords since getting her peerage in 2015.

MPs likely to pass motion forcing release of PPE contract paperwork after Tories reportedly not ordered to vote against

Tory MPs are not being told to vote against Labour’s “humble address” motion that would force the government to release papers relating to the award of PPE contracts to PPE Medpro, the firm reportedly linked to the Tory peer Lady Mone, the Times’ Steven Swinford reports.

BREAKING:

Tory MPs have been told that the government *will not* try to vote down Labour’s humble address on PPE contracts linked to Michelle Mone

Means that the motion – which is trying to force the publication of texts and emails – will pass unopposed

— Steven Swinford (@Steven_Swinford) December 6, 2022

That means the motion will be passed, almost certainly unopposed, at 7pm.

And because it is a humble address motion, it will be binding on the government (unlike other opposition day motions, which the government sometimes ignores if they get passed).

At least, in theory the motion is binding. Labour got the Commons to pass a humble address motion earlier this year demanding the release of papers relating to the award of a peerge to Evgeny Lebedev, the son of a former KGB officer. But on that occasion the government only released a tiny amount of routine paperwork, which did not reveal anything new about the decision making process that led to Lebedev becoming a lord. Ministers held back other information, citing security concerns.

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