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'Bug causing cot deaths'

The story

A bug in mattresses may cause up to 50 per cent of cot deaths, the Daily Mail claims.

The source

A study to be published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology found Staphylococcus aureus could survive for long periods in polyurethane foam in cot mattresses.

The researchers from De Montfort University in Leicester warned parents not to use cot mattresses for more than one child.

Expert view

Dr Andrew Boon, a consultant paediatrician at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading and a member of the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths research advisory panel, said: 'I think potentially it's a very important study and we need more research on this. It may go some way to explaining some sudden infant deaths.'

'Take olive oil for pain relief'

The Story

Extra virgin olive oil works as well for pain relief as aspirin or ibuprofen, the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail claim.

The Source

Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania found the main compound in olive oil ­ oleocanthal ­ has the potential to prevent inflammation and relieve pain. The study, published in Nature, concluded a long-term diet including extra virgin olive oil could help protect against cancer and heart problems in the same way as NSAIDs.

Expert View

Belinda Linden, head of medical information at the British Heart Foundation, said: 'This study is the first to make a case for anti-inflammatory properties and if supported in further studies, it would allow us a deeper understanding of its potential role in preventing CHD.'

'Sun cream cuts skin cancer'

The story

A new 'morning-after' sun cream could cut deaths from skin cancer by repairing DNA damage caused by UV exposure, the Daily Mail and Scotsman report.

The source

US company AGI Dermatics announced at the American Chemical Society's annual conference it had a lotion in clinical trials that appeared to prevent suppression of the immune system following radiation exposure.

Expert view

Dr Julie Sharp, senior science information officer for Cancer Research UK, said: 'It should not be seen as a shortcut way of repairing the skin damage caused by sunbathing. Preventing skin cancer in the first place is vital.'

'Words can trigger asthma'

The Story

Emotive words can trigger asthma attacks, the Guardian, Daily Mail and BBC News Online report.

The source

A US study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found reading asthma-related words to six mildly asthmatic patients stimulated responses in two brain regions strongly related to measures of lung function and inflammation.

Expert View

Dr Mike Thomas, an Asthma UK research fellow at the University of Aberdeen and a GP in Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire, said: 'This is early work but points again to the need for more research into the links between stress, emotional state and asthma. It potentially may open up new approaches in treating asthma.'

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