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Improved survival for premature babies and falling sperm count warning

The Guardian reports today on two studies which has found that the number of babies who survive after being born extremely early is rising, as are those very premature infants who make it to three years of age without a major disability.

Overall survival among babies born between 22 and 25 weeks rose significantly from 40% in 1995 to 53% in 2006, according to one of the research papers published by the British Medical Journal. The number of such newborns admitted to neonatal intensive care over the same period also rose from 666 in 1995 to 1,115 in 2006, reflecting advances in neonatal medicine.

And by the end of the same period, 11% more babies were making it to three years old without any of the disabilities often associated with very premature birth,such as cerebral palsy or learning disabilities, according to the other study, both of which were funded by the Medical ResearchCouncil.

Meanwhile the Daily Mail reports on falling sperm counts in France which are a ‘serious warning’ to British men.

A major French study has revealed that sperm counts and quality have fallen sharply since the start of the 1990s.

It is believed the trend is linked to diet, lifestyle and ‘gender bender’ chemicals.

The researchers used data from 126 fertility treatment centres. They found that from 1989 to 2005, there was a 32.2 per cent decrease in concentration of sperm – a rate of nearly 2 per cent a year.

Finally the Daily Telegraph tells readers that the UK Statistics Authority has ordered health secretary Jeremy Hunt  to “clarify” claims that expenditure on the NHS has risen in “real terms” every year under the Coalition. 

The chairman of the authority, Andrew Dilnot, issued the rebuke after upholding a complaint by Labour about statements by the Prime Minister and other senior Tories.

Labour demanded that Mr Cameron correct his “misleading boasts” about protecting NHS resources.