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Fears of Ebola healthcare workers, breastfed babies 'are cleverer' and sales of coconut oil boom

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

The Independent highlights a survey by the Red Cross showing that three in four British people would not shake hands with a healthcare worker who has come back from helping Ebola patients in West Africa. Red Cross Ebola response manager Pete Jones said that as long as a person was symptom free they are almost certainly not contagious, however. ‘It’s clear that fear surrounding Ebola is high,’ he added.

Sales of coconut oil are booming amid claims it speeds up the body’s metabolic rate, the Telegraph reports.

The grocer Whole Foods had its strongest sales ever month for coconut oil sales last month, selling six tons in the UK. It is used in cooking, but also for eyelash extension and as a moisturiser. Whole Foods buyer Daniel Rodriguez said: ‘We have seen the market at least doubling each year for the last three years.’

Babies who are breastfed are more likely to be clever and earn high salaries than those who are not, a study covered by the Guardian concludes.

The study, by researchers in Brazil involved following the fortunes of nearly 6,000 babies over 30 years. Breastfed babies were found to have higher IQs, spent longer at school and earned more money. ‘Our study provides the first evidence that prolonged breastfeeding not only increases intelligence until at least the age of 30 years but also has an impact both at an individual and societal level,’ said researcher Dr Bernado Lessa Horta.

Women with vaginal piercings are to be classed as victims of female genital mutilation (FGM), the Daily Mail reports. 

The Department of Health (DH) will bring in new rules next month stating that a woman with a piercing of the clitoris or labia must be recorded as having experienced FGM.  A DH spokesperson said:  ‘While there are challenges in this area and adult women may have genital piercings, in some communities girls are forced to have them.’

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