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Recently the government has announced that it is advising women not to drink alcohol at all while they are pregnant, for fear of harming their unborn babies. No doubt legislation will follow, and local authority liquor wardens will make regular calls on pregnant women, handing out fixed penalty notices to any who have beer or sherry in the cupboard. After all, it's axiomatic that all French women drink wine on a daily basis, and that as a consequence all French people are brain-damaged.
 
Some experts say this isn't going far enough. Peter Hepper, Professor of Psychology (so not a proper subject, then) at Queen's University in Belfast, says "There is one conclusion that cannot be challenged - if the mother doesn't drink there can be no effects of exposure to alcohol." Typical bloody scientist - this translates as "You can't argue with me because I know everything, so don't even try." Odd that they had to go as far as Ulster to find a psychologist. Round our way the pubs are full of the bastards.
 
Still, maybe he has a point. I mean, suppose a woman has a drink before she knows she's pregnant? Actually, don't most girls get pregnant because they've had a drink or two? It would be far more sensible to ban all women from drinking alcohol at any time in their lives, on pain of imprisonment. But that would be to discriminate against women, so to be fair we'll have to ban men too. There. Job done. I think it's called "prohibition". I wonder if anyone's tried it before?
 
Alcohol isn't the only no-no. The GOS has been on holiday in sunny France for a few days, but at home his faithful minions have been beavering away They scanned the columns of just one newspaper for the last ten days and found that
 
• Milk is dangerous. Chemicals in plastic milk bottles (phthalates, used to make the plastic flexible) can be absorbed by the milk and attach themselves to human DNA. It's not clear whether this means your offspring will be (a) giant milk bottles or (b) cows, but either way its obviously a bad thing. When The GOS was a school he used to be given milk in glass bottles, but Maggie Thatcher took it away from him and all the other little children
 
• Despite being advised for the last twenty years to take iron supplements, pregnant women are now warned that these could lead to an increase in blood pressure, which causes their babies to be very small. Mind you, this new information does come from researchers at Tarbiat Modares University in Tehran. We'd better be careful - to suggest that there might be a political dimension to their announcement could lead to the border between Iran and Suffolk being shifted slightly, and boatloads of Republican Guard steaming up the Orwell armed to the teeth and ready to arrest The GOS in his rural retreat.
 
• The use of laptop computers is causing people as young as 12 years old to experience chronic back pain, according to chiropractors. They say that the workplace rules about the use of desktop computers don't apply to laptops, so we may expect a new raft of regulations any minute now. You might wonder why people who start getting pains in the back after they've been using their laptops don't have the sense to just stop and go for a walk. But that'd be too easy, wouldn't it?
 
• New X-ray scanners introduced at British airports (Heathrow, mainly) are a substitute for strip-searches and can produce images of the human body so detailed that officers can see passengers' willies and er things like that. Well, not exactly like that, luckily, but oh, you know what I mean.
 
More seriously, radiologists are claiming that the scanners are exposing passengers to dangerous levels of radiation and that pregnant women in particular could experience foetal damage.
 
The British Airports Authority's rational and common-sense approach to security has produced the current state of chaos, delay and suspicion at British airports - all for our own good, of course. Golly, if we all suddenly decided that we had any idea about what was good for us, what a mess that would be! So it comes as no surprise that their response to this warning is a threat. Passengers can refuse to take the X-ray, they say, but would then have to be searched by hand.
 
Nice.
 
• Researchers at the University of Michigan have revealed that anti-wrinkle skin creams really do work - at the risk of redness, irritation and over-sensitivity to sunlight. How sad that the current boom in these preparations is all down to people's jealousy of the perfect complexions of celebrities.
 
The GOS won't be succumbing, though. He'll cherish his wrinkles just as they are, secure in the knowledge that famous denizens of the telly who look younger than him do it by using a layer of slap several millimetres thick. You know it makes sense.
 
• A study funded by the EU has shown that simple garden sprays, as well as more commercial pesticides, are dangerous and can increase the risk of Parkinson's disease by up to 40%. Mind you, they also found that being hit on the head had much the same effect, and that smoking might actually protect you from the disease, although they're going to keep pretty quiet about that.
 
• A leaked email from a government official to a vegetarian campaign group shows that the government may soon start encouraging people to become Vegans. The vegan diet - an extreme form of vegetarianism - bans all meat, all fish and all dairy products. Everything, in fact, that comes from animals in any way including eggs and cheese. They will do this in order to "save the planet" - yup, same old, same old - because they blame animals for producing massive amounts of methane and CO2, mainly from farting so much (well, they do. Have you ever stood behind a cow?).
 
The plan has one or two flaws, though. People who eat a strict Vegan diet are usually unhealthy, have poor resistance to infection, and their teeth fall out. An American couple were recently found guilty of murdering their child by feeding him a strict vegan diet. Still, not to worry. If it saves the planet, it'll all be worthwhile, won't it? Not that we'll be here to enjoy it.
 
• Researchers at the Uninformed Services University of the Health Sciences in America have found that eating too much salt causes stomach ulcers. In some way they can't explain (but don't worry, they're scientists so it must be true) the salt encourages and strengthens the helicobacter pylori bacteria that cause most ulcers.
 
Sorry, that should have been "Uniformed Services University", not "Uninformed Services University". How silly of me.
 
• One of the world's most popular (and profitable) diabetes drugs, rosiglitazone, is now suspected of causing a 42% increase in the risk of heart failure. Shares in GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturers, lost 4 billion in value.
 
This drug was invented and developed by scientists. And it's scientists who keep telling us about all these other dangerous things we're doing. Oh well, perhaps they weren't the same scientists. It would be unfair to suggest that none of the buggers know their arse from their elbow.
 

 
Mind you, all of these reports came from can you guess the Daily Mail.
 
Still, the Mail's a proper newspaper, isn't it, with proper reporters? At least it doesn't have any of those stories about "Double-decker bus found on moon" or "Aliens ate my husband". More's the pity.
 
The Mail's reporter Alison Pearson is quite concerned about pregnant women, who seem to come off rather badly in many of these scares. She has some suggestions of her own for mums-to-be
 
• It is a good idea not to have sex before getting pregnant. This will prepare you for life after baby when you will never have sex again.
 
• Eating two apples a day in the second trimester means baby won't get eczema before the age of eight. On the downside, you will turn green (There's another downside - eighth birthday wham! - crater city, really ugly kid! - GOS).
 
• Consuming lots of fish while pregnant will increase your chances of having a child with a high IQ. It will also increase your chances of having a child with mercury poisoning and two heads.
 
• To avoid premature delivery, it is advisable not to look too long at images of David Gest.
 
Finally, here's one report that did not come from the Daily Mail. You can no longer put talcum powder on a baby's bottom because it's carcinogenic, supposedly. It's a well-known fact, after all, that whole generations of babies have grown up suffering from cancer of the bum. Round our way when the kids get off the school bus the seats are littered with dropped-off bits of buttock.
 

 

 

 
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