Topical NSAIDS are as effective as oral NSAIDs, and patients prefer them
Handwashing and wearing masks, gloves, and gowns are highly effective
Poor access to drugs leaves important clinical questions unanswered
Objective To assess the evidence for a genetic basis to magic.
Design Literature review.
Setting Harry Potter novels of J K Rowling.
Participants Muggles, witches, wizards, and squibs.
Main outcome measures Family and twin studies, magical ability, and specific magical skills.
Results Magic shows strong evidence of heritability, with familial aggregation and concordance in twins. Evidence suggests magical ability to be a quantitative trait. Specific magical skills, notably being able to speak to snakes, predict the future, and change hair colour, all seem heritable.
Conclusions A multilocus model with a dominant gene for magic might exist, controlled epistatically by one or more loci, possibly recessive in nature. Magical enhancers regulating gene expressionmay be involved, combined with mutations at specific genes implicated in speech and hair colour such as FOXP2 and MCR1.
From fragments of a play, Christopher Cook, Helen Tarbet, and David Ball discover that you couldn’t teach the ancient Greeks much about drunkenness
Anders Helldén and colleagues report two cases of Cotard’s syndrome that occurred as an adverse drug reaction to aciclovir and its prodrug valaciclovir
Successful policies have worked elsewhere, so delays in implementing them are costing lives
Scrap development aid as we know it and give the money to independent pro-poor aid organisations
Make way for the semantic web
Raj Bhopal re-examines the role of perhaps the most important contributor to the scientific concept of race, Blumenbach, whose insights and errors provide important lessons for us today
Knowing about public health campaigns from the past can help current health campaigners to draw up effective strategies
Objectives To discover the content of enduring beliefs held by first world war veterans about their experience of having been gassed.
Design Collection and thematic analysis of written and reported statements from a sample of veterans about gassing.
Subjects 103 veterans with a war pension.
Results Twelve themes were identified, which were related to individual statements. The systemic nature of chemical weapons played a key part in ideas and beliefs about their capacity to cause enduring harm to health. Unlike shrapnel or a bullet that had a defined physical presence, gas had unseen effects within the body, while its capacity to cause damage was apparent from vesicant effects to skin and eyes. The terror inspired by chemical weapons also served to maintain memories of being gassed, while anti-gas measures were themselves disconcerting or a source of discomfort.
Conclusions Chronic symptoms and work difficulties maintained beliefs about the potency of chemical weapons. In the period after the war, gas continued to inspire popular revulsion and was associated with a sense of unfairness.
Sadia Ismail and Graham Mulley discuss the evolution of rules surrounding visiting patients in hospital
Writing in 2057, the BMJ’s Africa correspondent, Robin Stott, looks back at the development of the greatest medical advance of the first half of this century
Objective To test whether standard information for patients using Crunchie and Aero chocolate bars to explain bone health and risk of fracture is robust.
Design Observational study.
Setting Domestic kitchen in rural west Wales.
Participants 10 Crunchie bars and 10 Aero bars.
Main outcome measure Fracture after falls from varying heights.
Results Both Crunchie and Aero bars exhibited the same T and Z scores for bone density. Crunchie bars had a lower chocolate mass index than the Aero bars. Crunchie bars are more liable to fracture.
Conclusions Using Crunchie and Aero chocolate bars to explain bone structure to patients may be visually attractive but oversimplifies the situation.
Sometimes even doctors are duped, say Rachel C Vreeman and Aaron E Carroll
Eleni Linos, Elizabeth Linos, and Graham Colditz investigate whether airport security screening would pass the National Screening Committee’s criteria for an effective screening test