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Government subsidies to help poor pregnant women buy milk, eggs and orange juice would be better spent on basic research into premature birth, argues a Canadian doctor. In industrialised countries, premature birth is by far the most significant cause of infant mortality, says Michael Kramer, an epidemiologist at McGill University in Montreal. But nutritional subsidies do not reduce the numbers of babies born early. Given scientists’ ignorance of the underlying causes, this money should be diverted into research, he argues in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (vol 159,
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