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Screening halves the risk of dying from breast cancer: Screening for breast cancer lowers the risk of death from the disease, according to a case-control study of the impact of screening in East Anglia. “The effect of actually being screened was a 48% breast cancer mortality reduction,” says the report in the British Journal of Cancer, citing an odds ratio 0.52 (95% confidence interval 0.32 to 0.84; 2007 Dec 4 doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604123).
Mia Farrow warns of “genocide” in Sudan: The actress Mia Farrow has highlighted the need to support victims of “the first genocide of the 21st century” at the launch of Fund4Darfur (www.fund4darfur.org), a charity set up to help survivors of the ethnic cleansing in the country.
Herbal products are found to contain prescription drugs: Investigations by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in the United Kingdom have found that some products being sold as herbal, natural, and safe contain prescription only drugs, such as sildenafil, tadalafil (Cialis), finasteride (Proscar) and clotrimazole. See www.mhra.gov.uk.
Talks with Pfizer over drug trial in Africa suspended: Nigerian officials have walked out of settlement talks with Pfizer over a 1996 study in Kano, Nigeria, in which Pfizer gave an experimental drug to children during a fatal meningitis epidemic. A lawyer for the families in the $2.75bn (£1.3bn; €1.9bn) civil suit said that Pfizer had not shown “any seriousness” during talks (BMJ 2007;334:1181 doi: 10.1136/bmj.39237.658171.DB).
BMJ readership reaches all time high: Readership of the BMJ has reached an all time high: 69% of GPs and hospital doctors read it each week, the latest figures from the Joint Industry Committee of Medical Advertisers for Readership show. Readership among GPs grew by nine percentage points in the 12 months up to August 2007. Readership of the clinical research edition among hospital doctors rose by one percentage point in the same period. Readership of the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine stands at 9% among UK hospital doctors. Surveys by the BMJ before and after the redesign in January also identified a rise in regular readership among GPs and hospital doctors. The closure was announced this week of two medical magazines, published by Reed Elsevier: Hospital Doctor and Doctor.