Blood pressure, cholesterol drugs fail to slow cognitive decline

Taking medicines to lower blood pressure and cholesterol failed to prevent cognitive and functional declines in older adults with moderate risk of heart disease, according to results of a clinical trial presented.

The study was an offshoot of a more than 12,000-patient trial called Hope-3 released earlier this year. Patients in the study with hypertension and moderate risk of heart disease slashed their long-term risk of heart attack and stroke by 40 percent by taking a blood pressure medication as well as a cholesterol-lowering statin.

New bird flu outbreaks reported in Germany and Switzerland

Germany and Switzerland reported new outbreaks of a severe strain of bird flu

The H5N8 virus has also been found in Austria, Hungary, Poland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Croatia.

In Germany, the state of Schleswig-Holstein reported one case of bird flu confirmed at a farm where 30,000 chickens would now be culled. The state's agriculture ministry said an area of 3 square km (1.2 square miles) had been sealed off, according to Reuters.

Winnipeg lab employee possibly exposed to Ebola virus

An employee at the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg has potentially been exposed to the Ebola virus.

The employee was working in a lab with pigs that had been infected with the deadly virus when they noticed a tear in their protective suit.

Officials with Canada's public health and food inspection agencies made the announcement, according to BBC.

They said there is currently no risk to the public.

The unnamed employee is in self-imposed isolation and will be monitored for the next 21 days, which is the incubation period for the virus. The employee was also offered an Ebola vaccine that has been used in clinical trials in Africa.

Gut bacteria 'may help drugs fight cancer'

Bacteria living deep inside the digestive system seem to alter how cancer drugs work, a study suggests.

Immunotherapies - which harness the body's own defences to fight tumours - can clear even terminal cancer in a small proportion of patients, according to BBC.

However, a small study by the University of Texas found those harbouring a more diverse community of gut bugs are more likely to benefit.

The human body is home to trillions of micro-organisms - estimates suggest our own tissues are so heavily outnumbered that our bodies are just 10% human.

Worried well 'might boost heart risk'

Being one of the "worried well" might actually increase heart-disease risk, a study has suggested.

Norwegian researchers looked at health anxiety levels in 7,000 people who were followed for at least a decade.

Heart experts said anyone who felt they were experiencing 'health anxiety' should speak to their doctor, according to BBC.

Health anxiety describes when people have a "persistent preoccupation" with having or acquiring a serious illness, and seeking prompt medical advice, without any symptoms of an actual disease.