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CHILDREN

13-year-old driver in car crash

Nine children and teenagers have been injured in a car accident in northern Sweden. One of the drivers involved in the crash was a 13-year-old girl.

The crash occurred just after 2am on the night between Saturday and Sunday in Ängesbyn, just north of Luleå in northern Sweden, reported local newspaper Norrländska Socialdemokraten.

In the car with the young girl were a friend of hers, her younger brother, and the brother’s friend. In the car they collided with were five 18-year-olds.

All nine were taken to nearby Sunderbyns Hospital, reported Norrländska Socialdemokraten, none with severe injuries.

There is no evidence to suggest that the underaged joyriders were under the influence of alcohol. The police have spoken to the 13-year-old’s parents.

“They said that they were at home, and that the car keys were hidden in the garage. They’d gone to bed, and somehow the girl and her friend got hold of the keys,” said Erik Kummu, duty officer at the Luleå police, to daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

“The whole thing is somewhat unbelievable,” he added.

The police don’t know what caused the crash. All parents to the children and teenagers involved have come to the hospital, and local social services also paid the hospital a visit.

The 13 year-old girl has told police that this was her first time driving a car, reported newspaper Aftonbladet.

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HEALTH

Acupuncture could help your baby stop crying: study

Swedish researchers say acupuncture "appears to reduce crying" in babies suffering from colic.

Acupuncture could help your baby stop crying: study
File photo of a five-week old baby. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

But their work was criticized by colleagues in the medical field, with one calling the study methodology “appalling”.

A duo from Lund University's medicine faculty tested the traditional Chinese needle-piercing remedy in a trial involving nearly 150 babies between two and eight weeks old.

They reported their results in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine, published by the BMJ – formerly known as the British Medical Journal.

Compared to babies who did not undergo the needle treatment, infants who received acupuncture over two weeks exhibited “a significant relative reduction” in crying, the team found.

Such research can be controversial. Acupuncture is invasive, potentially painful, and its benefits are not universally accepted.

Organizations such as the British Medical Acupuncture Society says it is used to treat muscle and postoperative pain, as well as nausea.

But some think acupuncture's effects are that of a placebo, meaning people feel better because they believe it works. The National Institutes of Health, the main UN research agency, says there is “considerable controversy” around its value.

Colic affects as many as one in five families, and is diagnosed when a baby cries for more than three hours per day on more than three days per week.

Why it occurs is not well understood. Indigestion, trapped wind and intolerance to cows' milk have been identified as possible causes.

For the study, colicky babies were divided into three groups of 49. One received “minimal” acupuncture treatment, while another was given up to five 30-second needlings per session. The third group was not given any needle treatment.

“Significantly fewer infants who received acupuncture continued to cry/fuss excessively,” the researchers concluded.

This suggested “acupuncture may be an effective treatment option” for babies crying more than three hours a day.


File photo of an adult person receiving acupuncture. Photo: AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

Criticism of the study was harsh. David Colquhoun, a professor of pharmacology at University College London, described the researchers' analysis of data as “incompetent” and “appalling”.

The study “certainly doesn't show that it [acupuncture] works”, he told the Science Media Centre.

“What parent would think that sticking needles into their baby would stop it crying? The idea sounds bizarre. It is.”

Edzard Ernst from the University of Exeter said the study showed “almost the opposite of what the authors conclude”.

“We know that colicky babies respond even to minimal attention, and this trial confirms that a little additional TLC” – Tender Loving Care – “will generate an effect”.

A total of 388 acupuncture treatments were performed on the babies, the authors reported. On 200 occasions the infant did not cry at all after being pierced, 157 times they cried for up to a minute, and 31 times for more than that.

“The acupuncturists reported bleeding (a single drop of blood) on 15 occasions,” the authors said.

The treatment “may be considered ethically acceptable” if it managed to reduce excessive crying in the longer term, they added.

The report did not indicate what acupuncture points were used.

Article written by AFP's Mariètte Le Roux.