Medical notes

More than half the population believe wrongly that medical experts were split down the middle about the safety of the MMR vaccine, according to a new survey. Almost all scientific experts rejected the claim of a link between MMR and autism, but 53% of those surveyed at the height of the media coverage assumed that because both sides of the debate received equal media coverage, there must be equal evidence for each. Only 23% of the public were aware that the bulk of evidence favoured supporters of the vaccine. The Cardiff researchers compared what people thought about the issue with what was reported in the press.

· Beware dirty old dishcloths. Ninety per cent of dishcloths in catering establishments should have been thrown out because they harbour bacteria - including pathogens such as E coli and salmonella. Professor Eunice Taylor, an expert in food safety at the University of Salford says the problem could be just as bad in the home: "The way to avoid it is to use disposable papers or wash and dry dishcloths regularly as they did in the good old days. Dishcloths are reservoirs of contamination. Wet sponges are another danger point."

· Britain is smoking, drinking and slobbing out in a bid to cope with stress, Mori research for the Samaritans shows. One in five people experience stress on a daily basis citing jobs, money, family and health as causes. The research also found that people worry about the state of society, the future of humanity and the state of the NHS. Others said that the slowness of the internet was a stress factor. A third of Britons use television to escape their problems and a quarter turn to the bottle. Fifteen per cent said they adopted a stiff upper lip and ignored problems.

· It is said that fish is the best brain food, but if you can't stand the thought of mackerel in the morning, let the hens do it for you. "Intelligent eggs" are laid by hens fed a small amount of tuna oil. The smart eggs are enriched with docosahexaenoic acid - the longest omega-3 fatty acids - which aid brain growth and repair, sold at Waitrose from this week.

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