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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs step up fight for choice of IT system

Child Ca caused by pollution

The story

Children's cancers may be caused by exposure to air pollutants in the womb, the Daily Mail, Independent and Guardian report.

The source

The study in February's Journal of Epidemiology and Child Health compared a UK chemical emissions map for 2001 with death rates from childhood cancers between 1966 and 1980.

Expert view

Professor Eve Roman, professor of epidemiology, University of York, said: 'There are a lot of factors going on that can't be looked at in a study like this and we'd probably find that kind of relationship with lots of other things. People should probably not be worried about this.'

Parkinson's and pesticides

The story

Parkinson's disease could be linked to pesticides, the Guardian claims.

The source

A review of evidence was presented at a meeting of the Government's advisory committee on pesticides, concluding there was a correlation between Parkinson's and pesticides but no evidence of a specific chemical cause.

Expert view

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: 'It is too strong to state that there is a link. There is some evidence of an association between exposure to pesticides and development of Parkinson's disease in some studies. In others no association is found.'

Girls' drinking out of control

The story

Young girls are suffering an epidemic of mental illness caused by binge drinking, this week's newspapers all report.

The source

Dr Foster case notes in the BMJ examined admissions for mental and behavioural disorders in people under 45. Those where alcohol was implicated rose 24 per cent in under 14s and slightly in women aged 15 to 25.

Expert view

Dr Eileen Kaner, of the School of Population and Health Sciences, University of Newcastle, said: 'We do not know that this data is due to binge drinking, but we know that risky drinking in women is increasing.'

Helping asthmatics sleep

The story

Supplements of the hormone melatonin could help asthma sufferers sleep more soundly, the Daily Mail reports.

The source

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study randomised 22 women with mild to moderate asthma to receive either melatonin 3mg or placebo for four weeks. It was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine in November.

Expert view

Professor Aziz Sheikh, professor of Primary Care Research and Development at the University of Edinburgh, said: 'This is an early study and does not have a direct clinical implication. Disturbed sleep is a sign the asthma is not under control.'

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