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Child antibiotic warning, spray hormones for autism and how chips combat nuclear holocaust despair

By Nigel Praities

Our roundup of the news headlines on Monday 15 February.

The Times carries news of a warning over the use of the antibiotic gentamicin, after a 25% rise in safety alerts for the drug.

Gentamicin is used to treat infections in newborns, but was subject to more than 500 reports of harm or potential harm to babies caused by staff errors in the 12 months to March last year, the newspaper reveals.

The Telegraph reports data from the London School of Economics showing that hospitals are less likely to close in Labour safe seats.

The Times also looks at claims by Professor Sir Michael Marmot, in his review of public health in England, that Tottenham is an ‘exemplar' of public health inequality. The article considers why despite 50 years of universal healthcare the NHS has failed to break the link between deprivation and ill health.

The Daily Mail has a bizarre story that a spray containing the hormone oxytocin could ‘ease autism symptoms'. After using the spray, people with autism became more ‘sociable and trusting' and were better able to read other people's emotions, according to the newspaper.

The Telegraph ponders new research that shows middle-class children looked after by grandparents are 'more likely to be obese' compared with those going to play groups. Apparently Grandma is less likely to make sure her grandchildren are ‘well exercised' and give out fatty snacks. Surely that is the definition of good grandparenting?

In other fatty snack news, chips can give a mood boost ‘because the taste and smell remind us of happy times' claims the Daily Mail.

In a study commissioned by the Potato Board – groan - researchers made a group of volunteers watch a programme on nuclear holocaust and then gave half a bowl of chips and the other a magazine. Unsurprisingly the ones given the fries were happier at the end of the experiment, although how they got this past the ethics board Lord only knows.

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

Daily Digest 15 February 2010