Eating foods naturally rich in folic acid is unlikely to prevent spina bifida and other neural tube defects in the foetus, say Irish researchers writing in the Lancet. They found that only pregnant women taking folic acid supplements or foods fortified with folic acid significantly improved their "folate status". The study may back arguments for more fortified cereals and bread.
Lesbians are being refused cervical smears because their GPs wrongly believe they are not at risk of cervical cancer, it has been claimed. BBC Radio 5 Live's Out This Week featured the case of a lesbian who argued for an hour before her Devon practice would give her a smear test - she was told she didn't need one because she was "in the same camp as a nun".
Depression is common among young people, affecting at least two in every 100 children under 12 and as many as five in every 100 teenagers. A new cartoon-illustrated leaflet, Depression in Children and Young People, lists signs of depression in the young, causes, effects on daily life and what can be done to help. It costs 50p including p&p from the Depression Alliance, PO Box 1022, London SE1 7QB.
Starving babies with gastro-enteritis of solids may not be necessary, according to a study published in the British Journal of General Practice. Researchers in Bristol comparing the effects of a mild diet - baby rice, cereal and mashed potato - with those on fluids alone, found the duration of vomiting and diarrhoea was no greater in babies allowed to eat.