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Health Check - The Occupational Hazards of Herring Processing

Swedish fish-processing workers inhaling tiny particles of herring; The baby boxes given to every Finnish new mother; Norway’s discovery that breastfeeding protects against AMD

Over the last decade, Dr Anna Dahlman-Hoglund, an occupational hygienist at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, and her colleagues have increasingly seen workers in the Swedish fish processing industry develop allergies and respiratory problems. To work out what is causing this, they visited some herring-processing factories and set up a study to evaluate the exposure of workers to airborne herring particles and other environmental factors. The results have just been published in the journal The Annals of Occupational Hygiene. Baby Boxes What do William and Kate have in common with every new parent In Finland, other than the fact that they have just had a new baby? They have all received a 'baby box'; a gift from the Finnish government containing everything they might need to get them started. This Finnish tradition has been going on for 75 years and it is still considered by many to be an essential part of Finnish parenthood. Ilpo Salonen reports from Helsinki. Counting Sheep to Sleep Is it true that counting sheep is the answer if you find yourself unable to get to sleep at night? Professor Matthew Walker is a neurologist at the University College London Hospitals’ sleep clinic. Breastfeeding and AMD The health benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby are well-documented. But now there is yet another advantage, suggested for the first time by a vast study conducted in Norway. Published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, the research concluded that the more months a woman had spent breast-feeding in her lifetime, the less likely she was to develop age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, later in life. AMD is the most common cause of visual impairment and blindness in older people. Dr Maya Errke is from the Department of Ophthalmology and Neurosurgery at the University Hospital of North Norway in Tromso. (Picture credit: Herring catch at Utsira, Norway by Atle Grimsby)

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