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Call to ban screen time for under threes, tomatoes may prevent stroke and typhoid vaccine batch failure

A round-up of the health news headlines on Tuesday 9 October

For parents, it may be the only time they get anything done, but paediatricians are calling on health officials to set limits on the amount of time children spend watching television and playing on the computer.

The Guardian and Daily Mail both report that a review in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, written by chartered psychologist Dr Aric Sigman, says screen time should be banned in the under threes and limited in older children because of adverse health effects.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said they are becoming ‘increasingly concerned’ with the amount of time children are spending in front of the screen and how that impacts the developing brain.

Professor Mitch Blair, RCPCH spokesperson said there were some simple steps parents could take, ‘such as limiting toddler exposure as much as possible, keeping TVs and computers out of children’s bedrooms, restricting prolonged periods of screen time (we would recommend less than two hours a day) and choosing programmes that have an educational element.’

It is not the first time that tomatoes have been shown to have disease-fighting properties, but now researchers say they may help to prevent strokes.

The Telegraph reports that a 12-year Finnish study found that men with the highest proportion of lycopene – the chemical which makes tomatoes red – in their blood had half the stroke risk of men with the lowest levels.

Writing in Neurology, the researchers who analysed data from more than 1,000 men said that lycopene fights damage to cells and prevents blood clotting. The effect was stronger when the teamlooked solely at ischemic strokes.

Study author Dr Jouni Karppi said: ‘This study adds to the evidence that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of stroke.’

Vaccine manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur has recalled 16 batches of typhoid vaccine because it was faulty, BBC News Online reports. Around 700,000 people immunised with TyphimVi since January 2011 may not be fully protected against the disease.

Official advice from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is that people do not need to get vaccinated again but should talk extra precautions against typhoid when abroad.

‘There are no concerns over the safety of this vaccine, but the recall has taken place because the vaccine may not be as effective as it should be.’

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