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Being bilingual doubles stroke recovery, kids believe everything they read online, and worm 'gets women pregnant'

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines

Being bilingual doubles your chances of recovering from a stroke, with multilingual stroke patients being 40.5% likely to regain normal mental function compared with 19.6% who only spoke one language.

The Daily Mail reports research published, in the journal Stroke, suggests that citizens who are constantly switching between multiple languages have an improved ability to adapt to damage from stroke or dementia.

Co-author Thomas Bak, of the University of Edinburgh, said: ‘Bilingualism makes people switch from one language to another, so while they inhibit one language, they have to activate another to communicate.’

In a worrying portent for the future of patient self-diagnoses, children aged eight to 15 – aka ‘digital natives’ who have grown up with the internet – are increasingly believing everything they read online.

According to the Telegraph, the annual study of media attitudes by communications watchdog, Ofcom, almost one in 10 children believe information on social media is ‘all true’, and most are unaware video bloggers are paid to promote or endorse products.

These groups lack the ‘online nous’ to discern whether information is true or impartial, according to the regulator, and are unaware of the ways advertising is used to fund many internet businesses.

And finally, ‘worm “gets women pregnant”’ cries the BBC. Sadly this isn’t a foray into red-top tabloid sensationalism, but a study of 989 indigenous Bolivian women who’s fertility appears improved by a roundworm infection.

Women living with the parasite Ascaris lumbricoides were found to have an extras two children on average, while women living with a hookworm infection had three fewer children in their lifetime.

The authors, writing in the journal Science, suggested the findings could lead to novel fertility treatments in future.

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