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'IVF hit by alternatives'

The story

Complementary medicines could reduce pregnancy rates in women having IVF treatment, report the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Independent.

The source

Researchers at the University of Cardiff found that women who used complementary therapies were 30% less likely to become pregnant than non-users. They released their results at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Lyon, France.

Expert view

Professor William Ledger, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, said: 'There is a great variety of complementary medicines and some are very unlikely to be harmful – such as homeopathy. But many have not been put through the same process of evaluation as a pharmaceutical agent and therefore don't appear in the BNF. Not all complementary medicine is harmless.'

'Asthma gene hope'

The story

The discovery of a childhood asthma gene may lead to new treatments, says the Independent.

The source

Researchers identified a gene associated with the development of asthma after analysing the DNA of more than 2,000 children. Their study was published in Nature.

Expert view

Professor Ian Hall, professor of molecular medicine at the University of Nottingham, said: 'This is a well-performed study. However, there is not a single gene which predicts asthma – it's a combination of factors.'

'Anti-allergy protection'

The story

Scientists have made a breakthrough in allergy therapy by identifying a molecule that could protect people against allergic reactions, according to the Daily Express and BBC News Online.

The source

Research carried out at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich found that the molecule Interleukin-12 is absent in mice bred to be allergic to peanuts. The results were published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Expert view

Professor John Warner, professor of paediatrics at Imperial College London and spokesperson for the Anaphylaxis Campaign, said: 'This research has been over-hyped in the extreme. The target they've identified has actually been considered and used in the past, but there are problems with side- effects. Also, this is research done on mice, not men.'

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