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Daily Digest 6 November 2009

Today's round-up - including swine flu jabs mooted for school kids, new genetic research on a rare inherited disease and whether babies cry in different accents.

By Lilian Anekwe

Today's round-up - including swine flu jabs mooted for school kids, new genetic research on a rare inherited disease and whether babies cry in different accents.

Despite the rise in cases having slowed to well below the 100,000 a day predicted by health secretary Andy Burnham in the summer, swine flu still occupies a fair wedge of column inches in today's paper.

As we told you yesterday, the Guardian reports that the Department of Health are considering vaccinating schoolchildren against swine flu.

Chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson has confirmed that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation are examining who amongst the remaining population, not included in the current at-risk group, to extend the vaccination programme to and in what order.

The Guardian also reports on the call from shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley to put a school-based vaccination programme in place to vaccinate school and college-aged children.

The Times reports that advances in gene therapy could provide an important step toward a cure for adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), a rare genetic disorder that causes progressive and eventually fatal brain damage.

Research published in the journal Science suggests a virus called a lentivirus, a disabled form of the HIV virus, could be used to correct the defective DNA that would otherwise cause brain lesions and may also be useful in potential treatments of sickle cell anaemia and thalassemia.

Pregnant mothers are warned in The Guardian that using domestic foetal heart monitors to listen to their unborn baby's heartbeat could provide ‘false reassurance' and potentially be dangerous to both baby and mum.

In some lighter stories, the good old Daily Mail reports on an ‘astonishing' study by German researchers that claims to prove that newborn babies cry with an accent.

Apparently five-day-old French babies cry in French, German babies in German, Geordie babies with a lilting south shields brogue and babies born in Birmingham with a Brummie twang.

And lastly, good news if your kids are at that age when school P.E. lessons are no longer cool. Or wicked. Or awesome. Or whatever the kids say these days. Kids who don't want to participate in school P.E. lessons are being told to play sports games on Nintendo Wiis instead.

Northfleet Technology College has spent £1,000 on shiny whizz-bang computer games to replicate the experience of exercise and team sport. I definitely would have forgotten to bring my P.E. kit if I knew I had the chance to humiliate my teachers in a fierce hula-hooping battle.

Daily Digest

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