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'Zinc gives kids top marks'

The story

Daily zinc supplements can boost classroom performance, report the Daily Mail and Daily Express.

The source

In a trial presented at the Experimental Biology conference in San Diego last week, 200 children

aged 12 or 13 were given 0, 10 or 20mg zinc each school day for 10 weeks. The 20mg supplement

reduced reaction times for visual memory and word recognition.

Expert view

Dr Michael Nelson, reader in public health nutrition at King's College London, said: 'I'm not wildly convinced. If children are

having a well balanced diet with lots of whole grains and fruit and vegetables that's a far better way of ensuring good nutrition.'

'Combined jabs don't work'

The story

Giving babies combined vaccines may not be properly protecting them from deadly diseases, the Independent warns.

The source

A UK randomised controlled trial, reported in JAMA, found a combination pneumococcal/meningitis C vaccine was less effective than the single meningitis C vaccine used currently and unlikely to be a suitable replacement.

Expert view

Dr George Kassianos, RCGP immunisation spokesperson, said: 'This is a new vaccine which contains meningitis C that we use and 9-valent pneumococcal that we don't. I must stress it does not refer to MMR or any other combined vaccine that we use as they have been shown to be effective.'

'High carb diets cause Ca'

The story

High-carbohydrate diets can increase the risk of breast cancer in older women, the Daily Mail reports.

The source

A study of 43,600 women in the International Journal of Cancer found diets with a high glycaemic index almost doubled the risk of

breast cancer in postmenopausal women. The same diets seemed to decrease breast cancer risk in premenopausal women.

Expert view

Professor Tim Key, deputy director of the Cancer Research UK epidemiology unit, said: 'The few previous studies of this topic have not produced consistent findings. It would be premature to draw conclusions. The only firmly established diet-related factors which do affect breast cancer are alcohol and obesity.'

'Milk can cause Parkinson's'

The story

Men who drink more than a pint of milk a day could double their risk of Parkinson's disease, according to the Daily Mirror.

The source

Researchers followed up 7,504 men in the Honolulu heart programme whose diets had been evaluated from 1965 to 1968. Men who drank the most milk were 2.3 times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than those who drank the least.

Expert view

Dr Ann Prentice, director of MRC human nutrition research, said: 'While this is certainly an interesting piece of research, further investigation is required and it is too early to draw strong conclusions.'

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