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Only five consultants on duty in A&E, fear of dementia over-diagnosis and why baby weaning foods lead to a sweet tooth

A round-up of the health news headlines on Tuesday 10 September

Only five consultants are working in A&E departments on any one night across the country, reports the Telegraph.

According to figures obtained from a Freedom of Information request the paper says that ‘while most hospitals employ an on-call consultant who can be contacted between midnight and 8am’, only five NHS trusts have a consultant in A&E on site overnight.

Jamie Reed MP, Labour’s health spokesman, told the Daily Mail: ‘These figures reveal the full-blown staffing crisis at all levels of England’s A&Es.’

The Guardian criticises early diagnosis of dementia, reporting claims from specialists that assesing more elderly people for dementia could lead to over-diagnosis.

‘The current prevalence of dementia is thought to be 10-30% in people over the age of 80, but the adoption of new diagnostic criteria will result in up to 65% of this age group having Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis and up to 23% of non-demented older people being diagnosed with dementia,’ say the British and Australian experts, writing in the BMJ. See full coverage of the study here.

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that ‘baby weaning foods are found lacking’. Researchers from Glasgow tested 479 off the shelf weaning foods and found that most were lacking in nutrients. Additionally the researchers claimed the sweetness of these foods might ‘steer the infant palate towards unhealthy choices’, said the news site, creating a sweet tooth that could consequenses in the future.

The British Specialist Nutrition Association, which represents baby food manufacturers in the UK, said: ‘We recommend that commercial baby foods are used as part of a mixed diet which includes homemade foods plus breast milk or formula, which remain the most important source of nutrition for infants under 12 months.’

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