National headlines this morning are again dominated by the CQC cover-up scandal, as the regulator comes under increasing pressure to name individuals responsible for deleting files showing they failed to act on concerns about infant deaths at University Hospitals of Morecombe Bay (UHMB) NHS trust.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has defended the decision to keep the details of the report on UHMB trust anonymous, but according to the BBC the CQC is reviewing the decision not to name those behind the cover-up.
Meanwhile The Telegraph says that former senior CQC inspectors allege other potential scandals have been ‘buried’, while the UHMB trust report says the watchdog may be involved in a ‘broader and ongoing cover-up’.
Also widely reported today is the finding that use of antibiotics in young infants has been tied to the development of eczema. The Guardian reports that UK researchers have established that young infants given antibiotics in the first year of life are as much as 40% more likely to develop eczema than infants not given antibiotics.
The findings come from a systematic review of 20 studies and are published in the British Journal of Dermatology. While the authors speculate that antibiotics could alter the gut microflora and thereby affect the maturing immune system, provoking allergic disease, they also caution that their findings could simply reflect an increase in risk of infection among young children already prone to eczema.
Nina Goad, spokeswoman for the British Association of Dermatologists, said: ‘The researchers are not suggesting that parents should withhold antibiotics from children when doctors feel such treatment is necessary, but studies like this give an insight into possible avoidable causes and may help to guide medical practice.’
And over at the Daily Mail is news that dental problems could mean losing more than just your teeth, as a study shows that having teeth removed leads to a loss of memory. A team of researchers from Norway and Sweden found that the more natural teeth older people retain, the better their performance on episodic memory, recall and recognition tests.
The researchers believe this could be because impulses from the movement of the jaw and teeth feed into the hippocampus where memories are formed and retrieved and that artificial dental implants result in fewer signals to the brain. Alternatively it could be that chewing is less efficient with implants, leading to reduced blood flow to the brain, or that people with dentures avoid certain foods and are therefore lacking enough calories or nutrients.
‘Alone, number of natural teeth could account for 20% of the variance in episodic recall, 15% of the variance in episodic recognition, and 14% of the variance in semantic memory,’ claims the team.