Newspaper review: Alzheimer's drug hopes and crime concerns in papers

A "wonder pill" that could potentially win the "war" against Alzheimer's is a big enough development to warrant front-page coverage in the Daily Mirror.

As the paper's health editor Andrew Gregory explains, the cancer drug bexarotene - which is normally used to treat lymphoma - also seems to show some positive results in preventing the onset of dementia.

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Image caption Bexarotene is primarily used to treat skin cancer

The tests were only carried out on worms but the lead researcher on the project tells the paper that it is a "powerful first step" and says his "ambition" would be for everyone over the age of 30 to be able to take a drug to prevent them getting dementia in later life.

With the latest figures showing 850,000 people in the UK are living with the illness, the Daily Express also reports the news on its front page.

It says that experts believe the drug could be classified as a "statin for the brain" and that a daily dose could minimise dementia risks in the same way that increased statin use has slashed heart disease rates in recent years.

The Daily Mail cautions that more research will be needed before the drugs can be tested on humans - and hears from one expert who says earlier tests of bexarotene on humans did not show any success.

The Sun points out that the previous tests were on patients who were already showing dementia symptoms.

On trial

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The first day of the trial of former Sunderland and England footballer Adam Johnson on sex offence charges is understandably given wide coverage, given his well-known status.

Mr Johnson denies two charges of sexual activity with a girl under 16.

The Sun leads on the story, focusing on the evidence presented by the prosecution that the 28-year-old carried out an internet search on the age of consent four days after the encounter in which it is claimed that sexual contact first took place.

The Daily Mirror reports on the prosecution claims that the girl was a such a big fan of the player that she voted 50 times for him to win Goal of the Month on Match of the Day.

And the prosecutor's contention that Johnson's career meant he had the "success story that young people can only dream of", but he "abused his revered position in society" is the focus of the Independent's report on the court proceedings.

Stars summed up... in a sentence

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Saturday is always a day when newspaper profile writers are given space to sum up the importance or appeal of some of the personalities who have made the news over the past seven days. But how many would recognise themselves from the descriptions?

She is the queen of contradictions, in fact - fighting for black rights after years of being derided as "too white" in her cultural outlook and appearance; claiming to be a feminist when her act would shame a stripper; and lionising Marxist revolutionaries when she is one of pop's most money-minded stars." - Daily Mail on Beyonce

"Pamela once shocked Playboy boss Hugh Hefner when she recognised one of his paintings as a Salvador Dali and she is astute enough to acknowledge the debt she owes to his magazine." - Daily Express on Pamela Anderson

"In a 2012 interview. he compared his critics to the eighth-grade basketball coach who wouldn't include him in the team even though he hit every shot. The next year, he made the team. West is driven by proving his doubters wrong and fired up by his previous ability to do so." - Guardian on Kanye West

"If name-dropping were an Olympic sport, Yentob would be suspected of doping." - Financial Times on Alan Yentob

"For all his versatility, his smouldering looks and on-screen charisma, Idris Elba simply cannot pull off a sustained portrayal of a devoted partner and father." - Daily Mail on Idris Elba

Crime time

Several of the papers opt for a crime-related lead story for their Saturday editions.

The Times reveals that £1.67 is all that it takes to buy the credit and debit card details stolen from 100,000 Britons. And it stresses that the website that is offering the fraudulent information is operating "in plain sight".

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There are many criminals on the run and the Daily Mail is concerned that its readers should know who they are. So it came up with the journalistic ploy of asking police forces how many "wanted" suspects they have - and which 10 had been on the run for the longest.

But the Mail's front page reveals that this newsgathering exercise was foiled when half of the police forces refused to release the information, citing "excuses" including the Data Protection Act and human rights laws. The paper's editorial says this is "nothing less than outrageous" and that the forces are "guilty of serious dereliction of their duty to protect the public".

The Guardian, meanwhile, reveals that ministers are "seriously considering" locking up all of the convicted Islamist terrorist prisoners in a single secure unit - a "British Alcatraz".

The proposal is designed to stop the 130 such prisoners already behind bars from radicalising other inmates and recruiting them to their cause. But the paper says some fear that this "policy of concentration" could actually help the Islamic State group create a "command and control structure that currently does not exist in Britain inside or outside the prison system."

Away from the front pages, the Sun offers a two-page examination of the gang killings in Dublin and says the "bloody Irish Mafia feud" actually began on the streets of Britain and there is a danger it could return here.

And the Daily Express highlights the case of a special constable Andrew Blades who has lost his voluntary role with Lancashire Police and ended up with a dangerous driving conviction after he used his patrol car to block the path of two motorcyclists who were "terrorising a housing estate". The paper points out that one of the bikers himself says Mr Blades was just doing his job and should be reinstated.

And The Daily Star is among many papers carrying pictures of six-year-old Holly Crabtree, who had some previous gifts stolen during a burglary at her family home and responded by writing an open letter to the raiders. In it, she wrote: "The way to get money is not by stealing, the way you get money is by getting a job. So please don't be a burglar."

Tomorrow's world, today

New inventions fascinating the newspapers include:

Heated roads: A form of concrete that can carry an electric current across a wide surface could eventually spell the end for gritter lorries. (Times)

Contactless vending machines: The number of machines allowing tap-and-go payments is soaring by 20% a year, Coca-Cola has just installed the technology is its vending machines and the EU says all machines must allow for contactless payments by 2020. (Daily Telegraph)

Fat-burning chocolate: Green tea is the key ingredient of this sweet treat that is being developed in Mexico City, which has the world's highest obesity rate. (Daily Star)

Dynamic pricing in football stadiums: A week after the £77 ticket row, a football finance expert predicts that Premier League clubs could move to a ticketing model similar to that used by airlines, with ticket prices going up and down based on consumer demand. (Financial Times)

Madonna and son(g)

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Image caption Rocco made headlines as soon as he was born

Let's face it, if your mother's Madonna and you cause enough of a commotion to get yourself on to the pages of a national newspaper, you should by now expect the report to be accompanied by a headline based on one of her many song titles, so....

Headline on the Sun's report on photographs of Rocco Ritchie smoking a "suspicious-looking cigarette"? Puffer Don't Preach

Daily Mirror's headline on pictures showing Rocco with shaved hair and "scraggy jeans"? Like An Urchin

Borderline terrible or borderline inspired?