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Pregnant women told not to drink alcohol: The Department of Health in England has revised its guidance on drinking alcohol for pregnant women and women trying to conceive to avoid confusion and to bring it into line with the rest of the UK. The new guidance advises total abstinence for this group of women.
Deaths in Panama caused by contaminated cough syrup: Regulatory and health agencies around the world have warned drug manufacturers to check the purity of glycerin after dozens of deaths in Panama last autumn were found to have been caused by glycerin contaminated with dietheylene glycol. The glycerin was used as a sweetener in cough syrup. World Health Organization officials are calling for member countries, especially developing countries, to take steps to strengthen national regulatory systems and to follow WHO's guidelines on good manufacturing practice.
BMA appoints acting chairman: Sam Everington, an east London GP, has been appointed acting chairman of council at the BMA. Currently deputy chairman, Dr Everington will hold the new post until the BMA's annual representative meeting at the end of June, when the council will elect a new chairperson. Nominations opened on 11 May, before the resignation of James Johnson on 20 May. (See doi: 10.1136/bmj.39223.767870.DB.)
Views sought on medical care for UK armed forces: Service personnel and doctors are invited to contribute to a web forum on health care for the armed forces being run by the parliamentary select committee on defence (http://forums.parliament.uk/defence-medical). Comments will feed into the committee's inquiry into medical care for military personnel, which will cover health care for personnel serving in the UK and abroad, arrangements for those returning from overseas postings, treatment of injured staff, and medical support for operations and after care.
Cardiff University will help fight cancer in China: Cardiff University is to collaborate with two universities in Beijing to help tackle the growing problem of cancer in China. The two research projects will focus on lung cancer and breast cancer. Although smoking is declining in China, the country is likely to have a major lung cancer problem for some time, and the incidence of breast cancer is increasing.
Guidance on patient-doctor joint decision making opens for consultation: The General Medical Council is seeking the views of patients and doctors about draft guidance on good practice in clinical decision making and consent (https://gmc.e-consultation.net/making_decisions). The consultation runs until 20 August.
Bush names next US surgeon general: President Bush has nominated James Holsinger Jr as the 18th surgeon general of the US public health service. He is a cardiologist and professor of preventive medicine at the University of Kentucky and also served as the secretary for health and family services for Kentucky.