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Sharing a bed 'increases risk of cot death five-fold' and vitamin B pills to prevent Alzheimer's

A round-up of the health news headlines on Tuesday 21 May

Sharing a bed with a newborn baby increases the risk of cot death fivefold, the BBC reports.

The BMJ Open research compared nearly 1,500 cot deaths with a  control group of more than 4,500 patients. It found the risk applies even if parents avoid tobacco, alcohol and drugs - other factors firmly linked to sudden infant death syndrome.

The Government said it had asked NICE to urgently examine its guidance on babies co-sleeping in light of the study.

The Daily Mail brings us the news that vitamin B pills could protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal showed that people in the trial given B vitamins were almost entirely protected from the brain shrinkage suffered by those who only received a placebo pill.

A rapidly shrinking brain is one of the signs of a raised risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Those taking the B vitamins had 90% less shrinkage in their brains.

Paul Thompson, professor of neurology and head of the Imaging Genetics Center at UCLA School of Medicine, California, said the results were unbelievable.

He said: ‘I’ve never seen results from brain scans showing this level of protection.’

He added: ‘We study the brain effects of all sorts of lifestyle changes — alcohol reduction, exercising more, learning to handle stress, weight loss — and a good result would be a 25 per cent reduction in shrinkage.’

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