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The thalidomide ‘cover-up’, child obesity and academic performance linked and the benefits of coconut oil

Harold Evans launched an attack on Grunenthal Group, the manufacturer of thalidomide, as it apologised for the tragedy which caused an estimated 10,000 babies to be born with birth defects in the 1050s and 1960s, according to the Guardian.

The company unveiled a bronze statue of a child with no limbs on Friday and released a statement asking for forgiveness for the 50 years they ‘remained silent' over the issue.

Sir Evans, who led the Sunday Times investigation that broke the story, said that the company ‘remains silent still on adjusting compensation for inflation and the dreadful effects on the victims – the men and women in adulthood, many now without parental support.'

He accused the company of failing to test the drug effectively and ignoring warnings about its side effects.

Coconut oil could soon be used in toothpaste and mouthwash as it can fight decay, reports the Telegraph.

Results presented at the Autumn meeting of the Society for General Microbiology at the University of Warwick showed that when the oil was treated with digestive enzymes, it attacked the streptococcus microbe that is a major cause of tooth decay.

Lead researcher Dr Damien Brady told the Telegraph that it could be added to dental hygiene products as an alternative to chemical additives, and could help with the problem of increasing antibiotic resistance.

Overweight children are more likely to struggle at school because obesity affects their brainpower, according to a report in the Telegraph

Children with raised blood pressure, higher levels of bad cholesterol and resistance to insulin- complications associated with obesity- performed less well on maths and spelling tests and showed decreased attention span and mental flexibility.

Researchers from New York University compared 49 children with ‘metabolic syndrome'- a constellation of at least three problems associated with obesity to 62 without.

Lead investigator Dr Antonio Convit, professor of psychiatry and medicine at NYU School of Medicine said: ‘The message is that just being overweight and obese is already impacting your brain. Kids who are struggling with their weight and moving toward having metabolic syndrome may have lower grades, which could ultimately lead to lower professional achievement in the long run.'

However Professor Christopher Byrne, Professor of Endocrinology & Metabolism at Southampton University said that problems in the womb may have caused both the metabolic syndrome and the decreased brainpower rather than one causing the other.