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Malta News
11/08/2010 - 13:41

UK & USA Today Editoweb 11 August 2010

Children could in future be screened for autism using a 15 minute brain scan developed by British scientists. The technique, which assesses structural changes in the brain, has already been tested on adults and shown to have an accuracy of 90 per cent.



UK & USA Today Editoweb 11 August 2010
15 minute brain scan could test for autism
Children could in future be screened for autism using a 15 minute brain scan developed by British scientists. The technique, which assesses structural changes in the brain, has already been tested on adults and shown to have an accuracy of 90 per cent. In as little as two years it could start to revolutionise the way psychiatrists diagnose the developmental disorder which affects more than 500,000 people in the UK. Not only is the method far quicker than conventional ways of identifying autism, but up to 20 times more cost effective. At present, the disorder is chiefly diagnosed by observing behavioural traits using a battery of tests. The process can take a whole day, involve an entire team of clinicians, and cost as much as £2,000. The brain scans take a matter of minutes and cost between £100 and £200.(itn)

Weaker Outlook For UK Economic Recovery
The UK's economic recovery is likely to continue but the overall outlook is weaker than three months ago, the Bank of England has said. The Bank's governor Mervyn King downgraded his growth prediction and said inflation would fall less quickly than previously thought. In May, the Bank of England (BoE) said it expected the economy to grow by 3.4% in the coming year, but it has now revised the figure to about 2.5%. Mr King added that he expected the inflation rate to remain above the 2% target for longer - until the end of 2011 - as the VAT hike comes into force from January. But he rebutted suggestions that the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) had been over-confident in its predictions. "A year ago, a lot of people were saying we were being too optimistic, but output has actually been stronger," he said. Nevertheless, the governor said the impact of the financial crisis would fade only gradually, and that the UK should expect a "choppy recovery". "It will take many years before bank balance sheets and fiscal positions return to anything like normal," he said. Household disposal incomes would be squeezed as a result of the deficit-tackling measures, the BoE said in its report. But when asked how much more the Government's Emergency Budget and deficit reduction plan would affect the revised forecasts in growth, Mr King replied "not much". Commenting on the figures, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) voiced doubt over the forecast and said conditions were still very difficult for firms. David Kern, BCC chief economist, said: "The report's growth projections, although slightly lower than in May, are still too optimistic. "They do not yet acknowledge the full impact of the deficit-reduction measures taken in the Emergency Budget.(skynews)

Police release toddler photograph
Police have issued a photograph of a toddler whose mother was suspected of strangling him before walking into a police station with him over her shoulder. Melanie Ruddell, 39, has yet to be questioned by detectives after she carried lifeless two-year-old Christy into Peterlee police station, in County Durham, on Monday morning. His death was confirmed later at Sunderland Royal Hospital and she was arrested on suspicion of murder. The photo shows a brown-eyed, blond-haired boy seemingly talking happily. His family told police he was a healthy child, "vivacious", who was doted on by his mother so much she could hardly bear to leave him with a baby-sitter. She has been treated in a secure hospital since Monday and will only be questioned once medics deem she is well enough. Mrs Ruddell, whose marriage to husband Alan was ending in divorce, called police with a serious allegation on Saturday which was investigated.(press association)

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