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From GPs’ incorrect baby-handling to Yoko Ono’s hand-outs: the day’s health news, digested

By Nigel Praities

Our roundup of health news headlines on Friday 17 September.

The newspapers this morning have seized on a line in yesterday’s report into children’s health services that said half of GPs did not know how to hold a baby correctly.

They don’t seem to question whether the off-the-cuff remark is an accurate reflection of GP skills in paediatrics, but rather take it as ‘damning’ evidence the NHS is failing children.

The Daily Mail gives a helpful guide to holding a baby if any of you are unsure.

‘Babies must always be held in such a way that ensures their head is properly supported’. OK, so far so good.

‘This is because babies cannot support their head unaided.’ Ah, so I see.

‘Failure to hold an infant properly can cause long-term injury.’ Ooops, dropped it.

If you manage to get past that difficult baby-holding stage, then we have further child-raising advice. If you want them to have bigger brains then get them on a treadmill.

American researchers from the University of Illinois studied the brains of 49 children aged nine and ten using MRI and then tested the fitness levels of the children by making them run on a treadmill.

The scientists found that the hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for memory and learning, was around 12% larger in the fitter youngsters.

And not forgetting the oldies, scientists have also discovered a gene that they think is involved in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

They believe that it could be used as a marker for how quickly patients move from their initial diagnosis to full-blown dementia, says the Daily Telegraph.

Whilst we are on ageing, The Guardian has a disturbing piece on how the health system in the US is affecting the music industry.

It highlights the growing problem of ageing musicians in the US becoming ill without health insurance. Lacking any corporate scheme, and unable to afford the hefty premiums, they are left to rely on hand-outs from friends and bizarrely, Yoko Ono.

Spotted a story we’ve missed? Let us know, and we’ll update the digest throughout the day…

Daily Digest – 17 Sept 2010