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TAKE HEART: Cooking oils and spreads, rich in a type of polyunsaturated fat help lower cholesterol but do nothing to cut the risk of heart disease or death, compared with eating butter, a study suggests.

While people may experience lowered cholesterol levels, this does not translate to improved survival or lower risk of heart disease, experts said.

In fact, people with the greatest reduction in blood cholesterol appear to have a higher, rather than lower, risk of death.

The US team said the findings suggest there has been an “over-estimation of the benefits of replacing saturated fat with vegetable oils” that are rich in linoleic acid (a type of omega 6 polunsaturated fat).


New data suggests exclusively breastfeeding for six months, coupled with a normal weight before pregnancy, reduces the chance of children developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

In the study, led by experts at the University of Western Australia, women who were a healthy weight before pregnancy had teenagers who had half the risk of adolescent NAFLD.

Exclusively breastfeeding for at least six months reduced the risk of adolescent NAFLD by a third compared with bottle-feeding.


A fertility app for smartphones that analyses a woman’s temperature and ovulation tests in order to identify fertile days is as effective a contraceptive as the pill, according to new clinical research.

The Natural Cycles app creates an algorithm based on a woman’s temperature when taken each morning to build a data plan of fertility — showing the days on which a woman could get pregnant. 

Now, a clinical trial based in Sweden involving more than 4,000 women aged between 20 and 35 has found the app to be as effective as a form of birth control as the contraceptive pill.

According to the research, Natural Cycles scored similar results to the pill on what is known as the Pearl Index, which measures the effectiveness of birth control methods. 

Another previous study found the app to only falsely predict non-fertile days 0.05% of the time.


IF you are the parent of a child who is about to venture forth into the hallowed halls of Primary education, or ‘Big School’ as every Irish mammy refers to it since the dawn of time; well, chances are you’ve probably been very active in your Google searches looking for tips and advice on how to ease your child, and yourself, into this next chapter.Out of curiosity, I searched online for ‘Back to school advice’

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