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NEWS IN BRIEF

ALCOHOL IN PREGNANCY


“An occasional glass of wine during pregnancy won’t harm a baby’s development,” reported The Daily Mail. A recent study tested the emotional, behavioural and cognitive development of 11,513 five-year olds in the UK. The children’s performance in these tests was compared with the mother’s recollection of her alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Their findings indicated that light drinking had no benefits and no harm to children. However, the NHS have stated that the research “has several limitations, and the case for no harm from light drinking is not conclusive . . .

The official UK guidance is that alcohol should be avoided during the first three months of pregnancy. Beyond three months, a safe level of alcohol has not been firmly established, though the guidance states there is no evidence of harm from drinking a maximum of 1-2 units once or twice a week.”

FOOTBALL BEFORE FAMILY?


Reports The Guardian: “It’s the football fan’s greatest dilemma.” What comes first: football or family? Ex-Liverpool and England star, John Barnes, faced this question when he got the news that his wife had just given birth to his seventh child, while he was on pundit duty for Sky Sports as his former team played Chelsea. “Announcing 7lb 2oz Alexander’s arrival at half-time, presenter Richard Keyes asked Barnes: ‘Do you want to go?’ To which he replied: ‘I’ll stay for the second half.’”

CHRISTMAS STATS!


Christmas sales are forecast to hit £68.7 billion, compared to £67.84 billion in 2009, a year-on-year increase of £860 million. - Online spending is expected to reach £11.5 billion this Christmas, a 28.8% increase on 2009. - UK consumers spend more on Christmas than any

HAPPY TO BE ONE


“Only” children are happier than those with siblings, says new study of 2,500 children by The Understanding Society run by the Institute for Social and Economic Research. Reports The Telegraph: “More than half of the children surveyed said they had been bullied by a sibling, and one in three said they had been hit, kicked or pushed on regular occasions. Others complained of name-calling and having their belongings stolen.” The research leader noted that “only” children were happier as they did not have to compete for attention or share their bedroom. They also found that the more children in the household, the more unhappy the children were. Homes with just one child make up nearly half of all families in Britain.

IVF PRIZE


Professor Robert Edwards, the British pioneer of reproductive medicine, has been awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize for Medicine for his groundbreaking work into treating fertility and his key role in developing IVF. Since the first test-tube baby in 1978, nearly 4 million babies have been born through IVF. His research has also been very important to embryo screening and stem cell experimentation.

TB IS BACK


The BBC reports on figures released by the Health Protection Agency show that the number of tuberculosis cases in the UK topped 9,000 last year, the highest for nearly 30 years.Diagnoses have been rising almost continuously since the 1980s, with many of the new cases thought to be among people who caught the disease abroad. There has also been a sharp rise in drug-resistant TB cases: figures have nearly doubled since 2000 to 389. Urban areas tend to be the worst affected, with London responsible for nearly half of England’s total cases.