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‘No evidence’ for probiotic drinks; the pill makes you green-eyed and the ‘cheap-date’ gene

By Nigel Praities

Our roundup of health news headlines on Wednesday 20 October.

France burns and half a million public sector workers face the sack, but our esteemed health writers are successful in raising a smile on ‘axe Wednesday'.

First, we have a yogurty scandal – with the Guardian reporting the health claims by manufacturers of probiotic drinks ‘are unsupported by sound science'.

Despite 60% of households regularly buying them, a report from the European Food Safety Authority looking at 800 health claims from probiotic drink manufacturers – including assertions that they boost the immune system – has turned up an embarrassing lack of evidence. Time to chuck those tiny bottles in the bin then.

Next, the Telegraph is claiming the contraceptive pill could make women green-eyed. In news likely to provide an explanation for hen-pecked husbands everywhere, researchers claim women with higher oestrogen levels become more jealous and possessive over their partners.

Just in – new diet advice. Leave your credit cards at home and pay by cash and the pounds will drop off. Yes, apparently the thrill of paying by plastic makes you more likely to get in the éclairs and hob nobs.

Lastly, if you need an explanation why one glass of wine at lunch has left you feeling a bit squiffy, it could be down to your genes. Scientists have discovered the gene CYP2E1, which makes some people more sensitive to alcohol. Apparently between 10% and 20% of the population have this gene, alternatively known as the ‘cheap date' allele. Mix that with some female contraceptives and you have got a party on your hands!

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

Daily Digest - 20 Oct 2010