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Sugar coating infant immunisation and quicker scans for high-risk pregnancies

The BBC announces a handy tip to help make immunising infants easier. According to the Cochran Report sugar may comfort babies while they receive injections. Looking at 14 studies with over 1,500 infants it appeared that young children cried less when given a sugary solution to suck on during the injection. It is not yet clear whether the sugar reduces the perceived pain, but it does have a calming effect.

More research will be needed to confirm whether this could become routine practice. Presently most doctors either ask the mother to hold or, if the child is older, try to distract them. However Dr David Elliman of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said: ‘If you do the usual holding and comforting, I’m not sure how much sucrose would add.’

Elsewhere the Guardian writes how the new Nice guidelines encourage GPs and hospitals to be more aware of the symptoms of early miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. With at least 200,000 pregnancies a year ending in a miscarriage in England and 11 in every 1,000 women who become pregnant having an ectopic pregnancy Nice recommends improved training for GPs.

Nice also suggested that women who are at risk of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy should be able to have a scan on whatever day of the week the symptoms present, even at the weekend.

Finally the Daily Mail reports that next year ministers will consider whether patients who are at risk of certain cancers should be prescribed aspirin. Jessica Harris, of Cancer Research UK, said: ‘Research suggests that regularly taking low doses of aspirin can reduce the risk of developing and dying from cancer’, however, aspirin can also cause stomach bleeds and ulcers, which although they are not often fatal usually require hospital treatment. The article says doctors will need to weigh up the options and may decide to only prescribe aspirin for cases of high risk.