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'Ibuprofen alert in asthma'

The Story

Children with asthma should not take ibuprofen as it can cause attacks, the Daily Mail reports.

The Source

A study published in Pediatrics found four out of 100 children aged six to 18 with mild or moderate persistent asthma saw their breathing deteriorate by almost a fifth two hours after taking ibuprofen. The researchers

estimated that at least 100,000 children were at risk in the US and 25,000 in the UK.

Expert View

Professor David Price, professor of primary care respiratory medicine at the University of Aberdeen, said the study suggested there was a 'real effect' in a small proportion of children, but the study's method of recruitment and small size meant it might be overestimating the problem.

'It does suggest though that if children with persistent asthma are given ibuprofen their lung function should be monitored.'

'Cannabis to treat obesity'

The Story

Cannabis may be used to develop a new class of anti-obesity drugs, The Independent reports.

The Source

Professor Roger Pertwee, a neuropharmacologist at the University of Aberdeen, told the BA Festival of Science that cannabis contained a substance called THCV that could block appetite. It is chemically similar to another cannabinoid, THC, used in drugs to stimulate the appetite.

Expert View

Dr Nick Finer, a consultant in obesity medicine at Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge, said: 'The endocannabinoid system seems to be very important in the control of body weight, appetite and fat cell function. We are beginning to see drugs that can manipulate this system.'

'Toxic chemicals in womb'

The story

Unborn children are being exposed to a raft of toxic chemicals including carcinogens and 'gender-bending' substances, the Daily Express, Daily Mail, Metro and BBC News online all report.

The source

'Poisoning the Unborn' ­ a report from Greenpeace and WWF ­ detailed tests of maternal and umbilical cord blood, finding a

wide variety of chemicals, including brominated flame-retardant TBBP-A, phthalates, alkylphenols and organochlorine pesticides.

The expert

Professor Ieuan Hughes, professor of paediatrics at the University of Cambridge, said: 'There is evidence developmental abnormalities of the reproductive tract can be induced in experimental animals, but none in the developing fetus and newborn infant. But it is prudent to aim to reduce exposure.'

'Untested drugs used in kids'

The story

Children are being put at serious risk by untested drugs ­ including antidepressants, antibiotics and painkillers ­ the Times claims.

The source

Sharon Conroy, a lecturer in paediatric clinical pharmacy at the University of Nottingham, told the BA Festival of Science over two-thirds of children admitted were treated with at least one off-label drug. One in 10 had been given off-label prescriptions by their GP.

Expert view

Dr Ian Wong, director of the centre for paediatric pharmacy research at the School of Pharmacy, said: 'If we stop using off-label drugs there will be no drugs to use.'

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