The first drug to treat low sexual desire in women has received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.
But the little pink tablets, to be sold under the brand name Addyi, have proven controversial. Here is what you need to know about what has been dubbed the "female Viagra".
That flibanserin - to use its chemical name - would draw comparison to its blockbuster male equivalent was inevitable but the nickname is misleading.
While a Viagra pill treats erectile dysfunction by improving blood flow to the penis, flibanserin was developed as an anti-depressant and boosts sexual desire by balancing chemicals in the brain.
Specifically, the drug treats hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), essentially a lack of libido that causes distress and is thought to affect between 5.5 million and 8.6 million US women.
By gaining approval, Addyi's makers Sprout succeeded where medical giants have failed.
Pfizer, Procter & Gamble and others have all tried to develop products treating low sexual desire in women.
While the product has its pros and cons, medical practitioners now have a new treatment available to treat a common condition.
Sprout plans to launch the product in mid-October. A rival, Palatin Technologies, has an alternative treatment for HSDD in late-stage trials.
Women taking the drug reported around one more sexually satisfying event a month, compared to a placebo.
But supporters say even this small benefit is worthwhile - "I want to want my husband, it is that simple,'' said Amanda Parrish, one of the women involved in trials.
The FDA's approval of Addyi comes with tough safety measures, meaning that its usage is unlikely to be as widespread as with male Viagra.
Doctors will only be able to prescribe the drug after counselling patients about potential side-effects, including low blood pressure, nausea and fainting.
Pharmacists must remind patients not to drink alcohol while taking the drug, which can make the effects more severe.
And while Viagra can be taken shortly before having sex, Addyi must be taken daily.
"This is the biggest breakthrough in women's sexual health since the advent of 'the Pill' for contraception," The National Consumers League said in a statement.
Lobbying group Even the Score, which has campaigned for better treatment of women's sexual health, accused the FDA of gender bias, highlighting the numerous products available treating sexual dysfunction in men, although none of them treat low desire.
Some physicians have welcomed the approval too, such as Dr Lauren Streicher, associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynaecology at Northwestern University.
"This is an enormous, enormous advance in women's health.
"Of all the sexual dysfunctions, this is by far the most common in every single age category and we've had no options for women up until now."
Addyi's critics argue that the FDA has approved a drug of marginal impact with potentially serious side-effects. Previous versions of the drug have been rejected by the FDA.
"Unfortunately, we haven't heard the last of this drug," warned consumer group Public Citizen.
PharmedOut, which focuses on marketing in pharmaceuticals, said the FDA has been swayed by "a clever, aggressive public relations campaign".
"This opens the way for drug companies to pressure the FDA through public relations campaigns to approve more bad drugs: It's bad news for rational drug approval," Adriane Fugh-Berman, a pharmacology professor and director of PharmedOut told the Washington Post.
The medical status of HSDD has been disputed, with some arguing that low libido in women cannot be treated in the same way as erectile dysfunction in men.
"Women's sexuality is very complicated. It's not a matter of just taking that pill, by the way, and then all of a sudden the lights go on," Judy Kuriansky, a clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist, told CNN.
The number of people living with diabetes has soared by nearly 60% in the past decade, Diabetes UK warns.
The charity said more than 3.3 million people have some form of the condition, up from 2.1 million in 2005.
The inability to control the level of sugar in the blood can lead to blindness and amputations and is a massive drain on NHS resources.
The NHS said it was time to tackle poor lifestyle, which is a major factor behind the rise.
Diabetes UK called for the NHS to improve care for patients and for greater efforts to prevent diabetes.
Roughly 90% of cases are type 2 diabetes, which is the form closely linked to diet and obesity.
People with type 1 generally develop it in childhood and are unable to produce the hormone insulin to control their blood sugar levels.
Dr Joan St John, a GP in Brent in north-west London, where diabetes levels are some of the highest in the country, said the condition had become incredibly widespread.
She told the BBC News website: "It's very noticeable in that not a week goes by that you don't make a new diagnosis of diabetes, at least one if not two or three; previously that might have been one a month."
The complications of uncontrolled blood sugar levels can be severe, including nerve damage, loss of vision and organ damage.
The condition even leads to 135 foot amputations every week across the country.
Dr St John added: "Unfortunately that historical myth that it is not a serious condition is still retained by some people and you have to dispel that myth."
"One of the most miserable complications is neuropathy [nerve damage] which can cause a constant nagging, gnawing ache, usually in the legs or feet, and this can be really disturbing and there is no cure for it," she added.
Data published last week showed that diabetes medication now accounts for 10% of the NHS drugs bill.
Nearly £869m was spent on drugs, including insulin and metformin, marking a sharp rise from the £514m being spent a decade ago, when the drugs accounted for just 6.6% of the prescriptions budget.
Part of GP pay is linked to diagnosing and treating diabetes - and has been for years. The government says this is to improve care.
The reasons why levels of type 1 diabetes are increasing are not understood.
However, the explanation for the soaring cases of type 2 are being placed squarely on the nation's ballooning waistline.
Barbara Young, the chief executive of Diabetes UK, said the government needed to act to prevent new cases and improve treatment for those already affected.
She said: "Diabetes already costs the NHS nearly £10bn a year, and 80% of this is spent on managing avoidable complications."
"So there is huge potential to save money and reduce pressure on NHS hospitals and services through providing better care to prevent people with diabetes from developing devastating and costly complications," she added.
Dr Martin McShane, NHS England's Director for Long Term Conditions, said: "These figures are a stark warning and reveal the increasing cost of diabetes.
"We've said it before and we'll say it again, it's time to get serious about lifestyle change."
A team of researchers in the Netherlands wanted to know why people with depression are at greater risk for diseases related to aging: diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease. So they looked at three groups of people: 1,100 currently experiencing major depressive disorder (MDD), 800 who had MDD in the past, and 500 people who reported no signs of depression.
The researchers checked out each person’s
telomeres—the protective caps on the end of their chromosomes that wear
down over time. The length of a person’s telomeres is a key measure of
People with MDD had much shorter telomeres than those who didn’t. That held true whether the depression was in the present or the past. Plus, the longer the duration of depression, or the more severe its symptoms, the shorter a person’s telomeres were. (To be sure of the association, researchers took into account factors like smoking, drinking and other lifestyle differences.)
Does depression accelerate aging? It’s too early to say. The findings, published yesterday in Molecular Psychiatry, show a connection between depression and cellular aging, but not a causal relationship. And the research was limited to severe depression, excluding milder and perhaps more common forms.
The good news is that previous research suggests cellular aging can be reversed with diet and exercise. Yet another reason to strap on your sneakers.
Although obesity and related conditions such as diabetes and the metabolic syndrome have been linked with colorectal cancer, it has not been known whether the risk relates to levels of circulating insulin or glucose.
Insulin theoretically could contribute in that it is anti-apoptotic and mitogenic, whereas glucose might increase the risk by providing an energy source for malignant cells, the researchers explained.
But the results of epidemiologic studies looking at a possible link between insulin and glucose levels have had inconsistent findings, possibly because of differences in types of study as well as in populations and risk factors.
So to examine this prospectively, Kabat and colleagues analyzed data from a subset of women participating in the Women's Health Initiative who had baseline and serial follow-up measurements of fasting serum glucose and insulin.
Covariates in the analysis included age, body mass index (BMI), alcohol consumption, physical activity, ethnicity, and family history of colorectal cancer.
During a median of 11.9 years, there were 81 cases of colorectal cancer among the cohort of 4,902 women.
A total of 65 of the cases were colon cancer, in six the malignancy was the rectosigmoid junction, and in 10 the cancer was rectal.
Compared with women who did not develop colorectal cancer, those who did were older by about two years, were more often white, and were less likely to be physically active.
Unlike glucose, which had a "robust" association, baseline levels of insulin and the insulin resistance index were not associated with an increased risk of colorectal or colon cancer, according to the researchers.
After mutual adjustment for glucose and insulin, the hazard ratio for the highest tertile of glucose versus the lowest was 1.72 (95% CI 0.94 to 3.15, P for trend=0.07), while the hazard ratio for insulin was 0.88 (95% CI 0.47 to 1.65, P for trend=0.70).
The hazard ratio for each 1 mg/dL−1 of glucose was 1.031 (95% CI 1.009 to 1.054, P for trend=0.0066).
The risk for both colorectal and colon cancer with higher levels of glucose was seen in patients whose BMI was 27.76 or higher, with a hazard ratio per mg/dL−1 of 1.029 (95% CI 0.997 to 1.062, P=0.08), and also for those whose BMI was lower (HR 1.031, 95% CI 1.001 to 1.063, P=0.04).
Here, too, the baseline insulin and the insulin resistance index were not associated with cancer risk.
The researchers also did the analysis excluding patients whose cancer developed within two years of study entry to eliminate possible cases of subclinical disease, and found similar results, with a hazard ratio for the highest versus lowest tertile of glucose of 1.81 (95% CI 0.93 to 3.51, P for trend 0.07).
"In conclusion," the researchers wrote, "in this cohort study of postmenopausal women, elevated fasting serum glucose, but not insulin or [the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance] was associated with roughly a twofold increased risk of colorectal cancer."
A limitation of the study was the small number of cancer cases identified and the researchers' resulting inability to more thoroughly analyze subsets of cases according to cancer sites and variables.
Choline is an essential nutrient that is utilized by the body to manufacture neurotransmitters and cell membrane constituents. Choline is found in green leafy vegetables, fish, peanuts, organ meat, soybeans, yeast, wheat germ, and lecithin. Rhoda Au, from Boston University School of Medicine (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues analyzed population data from the Framingham study, involving 1400 adults, ages 36 to 83 years, who completed a food survey and then underwent tests of memory and other cognitive abilities, including MRI brain imaging. The subjects who reported high choline intake performed better on the memory tasks, as compared to those reporting lower intake. Additionally, the researchers found that study participants with higher choline intake were less likely to show areas of white matter hyperintensity – an indicator of blood vessel disease in the brain. The study authors conclude that: “In this community-based population … higher concurrent choline intake was related to better cognitive performance.”