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Health

Prostate cancer and surgery

The word cancer understandably strikes fear into the hearts of many, and most would assume the best course of action would be to have the cancer removed, whatever the side-effects may be.

But impotence and incontinence are no small side-effects, especially when you consider, as two new studies have done, removing the cancer is not necessarily the best option, and the cancer may not in fact require treatment at all.

Most prostate cancers take decades to exit the prostate, and most men will usually die with, but not from, prostate cancer.

Nicknames for unborn babies

So-called noms de womb can be funny, cute and just a little on the weird side.

Phoebe Payn said as soon as people discovered she was expecting twins they started to name them.

"My dad has just started calling them Jesus and Mary because they're due at Christmas," she told Helen Shield on ABC Radio Hobart.

"B1 and B2 is popular. Which is actually quite fitting because in the scan you could see them and they were actually headbutting each other like the Bananas do.

Getting milk out of an almond

On the surface almond milk is a pretty innocuous, even healthy, alternative to dairy milk.

But the name - those two words 'almond' and 'milk' - raise all sorts of questions. For example, how do you milk an almond? Even the best Kiwi cockie wouldn't be able to tell you where to put the cups.

The fact is, almonds make up less than two percent of the average carton on the supermarket shelf.

What's more, technically it can't even be called milk.

Liggins Institute chair David Cameron-Smith says almond milk is, instead, a manufactured product.

When your heart runs a marathon without your body

But it's not working. My heart is still going a million miles an hour.

I'd experienced episodes of rapid heartbeat ever since I was a child. My mother told me they were called palpitations.

I mentioned them to a doctor once when I was a teenager and he jokingly asked if they were triggered by watching gyrating rock stars in music videos.

I took that to mean they were nothing to worry about.

Besides, I somehow discovered over the years that if they didn't go away by themselves, I could stop them by holding my breath for a short period.

Coconut oil 'as unhealthy as beef fat and butter'

It is packed with saturated fat which can raise "bad" cholesterol, says the American Heart Association in updated advice.

Coconut oil is commonly sold as a health food and some claim the fat in it may be better for us than other saturated fats.

The AHA, however, says there are no good studies to support this.

Moderate drinking may alter brain, study says

Many doctors recommend a glass of wine or beer a night as part of diet plans such as the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, which have been proven to keep your heart and brain healthy. However, a new study suggests that even moderate drinking may not be great for your brain.

Weight-related deaths can affect non-obese too

Of the 4 million deaths attributed to being overweight in 2015, nearly 40% were not considered clinically obese.

The study found more than 2 billion children and adults suffered from health problems linked to being overweight.

These include type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

But an increasing percentage had a body mass index (BMI) of less than 30, the threshold for obesity.

Study uncovers 'unacceptable' inequality in risk of premature flu death

Men, especially in the older age group, and people living in the most deprived areas, were also more also vulnerable to premature death.

Influenza kills about 500 New Zealanders each year and probably the biggest single infectious disease killer, the study from the University of Otago, Wellington said.

Researchers found that in the 65-79 year age group, Māori were 3.6 times more likely to die of influenza than those of European or other ethnicity.

Being married 'protects your health'

A loving spouse might spur you on to look after yourself better, they told a heart conference, based on their study of nearly a million UK adults.

How do you choose a good GP?

The right GP can make a big difference to how healthy you are and may ultimately save your life.

As well as diagnosing illness, a good GP can draw your attention to problems you never knew mattered, decide if you need certain tests, refer you to the right specialists, monitor your progress, offer reassurance or advice, and keep you out of hospital or limit the care you need there.

If you have a chronic or serious illness, your GP relationship will be especially important.

So what should inform your choice?