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New alcohol advice, cancer 'breakthroughs' and why Santa is bad for your health

Our daily digest of news headlines from Thursday 17 December 2009.

By Nigel Praities

Our daily digest of news headlines from Thursday 17 December 2009.

Many of the papers cover new advice released today from the Chief Medical Officer to parents that says no young person under the age of 15 should drink at all.

In a parting shot before he stands down from his position in May, Sir Liam Donaldson warns alcohol has a ‘ruinous effect on the foundations of adult life'.

The Sun reports that ‘docs' have made a ‘Big C breakthrough' by identifying the genetic mutations that may cause lung cancer.

As always the reality is a bit more mundane – the genetic analysis published in Nature showed a 55-year old smoker's tumour had 22,910 different mutations, most of which were caused by the carcinogenic agents found in cigarette smoke.

‘This means that the patient probably acquired a new mutation for every 15 cigarettes he smoked,' the Times reports.soberly.

Male life expectancy is rising as men adopt healthier lifestyles, according to Scotland's Chief Medical Officer Harry Burns, in his annual report published yesterday.

The Daily Mail slams 'no flowers' policies at hospitals, saying visitors bringing bouquets to wards do not increase the spread of germs and help speed a patient's return to health.

‘In fact, the biggest hazard posed by flowers could be nurses' irritation at having to change the water,' reports the newspaper.

The obligatory Christmas scare stories are in evidence. Daily Mail warns that children can eat around 6000 calories on Christmas day, leading to 'weight gain that may stay for weeks, months or forever'.

The study, by childhood obesity experts at Leeds Metropolitan University found the average Christmas dinner contains 956 calories and 48g of fat.

And finally, Father Christmas is bad for your health, according to research published in the BMJ. The Telegraph reports that traditional images of Santa Claus gorging on brandy and mince pies as he drove his sleigh do not promote a healthy and safe lifestyle among the young.

Spotted a story we've missed? Let us know and we'll update the digest throughout the day...

Daily Digest

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