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British doctors react to a year of scandals

By | July 7, 2000

The General Medical Council promises reform.

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5000 scientists tell President Mbeki "HIV causes AIDS"

By | July 6, 2000

The views of South African President Thabo Mbeki - who has expressed doubts whether HIV causes AIDS, ascribing the disease to poverty - have stimulated 5000 scientists and doctors from over 80 countries to sign a declaration stating that the virus really does cause the disease. The issue is crucial for two reasons: first because South Africa faces one of the worst AIDS epidemics in the world, and if the country doubts the cause of the disease health interventions will go awry; and second because

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New York, July 5, 2000 (Praxis Press) Aspirin's antithrombotic effects have made it part of the first-line therapy in the primary prevention of coronary artery disease (CAD), and self-medication is widespread. The potential risk of serious bleeding, however, requires selective prescription. In a recent randomized-controlled trial, Meade et al determined that low-dose aspirin therapy of 75 mg daily did not significantly affect the risk of CAD in patients with higher blood pressure (over 145 mm H

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Cholesterol after CABG

July 6, 2000

New York, July 5, 2000 (Praxis Press) Studies show that a reduction in risk factors following coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) improves patients' prognosis. Such patient management was suboptimal in Britain before the publication of landmark trials demonstrating the benefit of cholesterol reduction. In a 10-year audit of secondary prevention in CABG patients, Irving et al show that despite significantly improved management of well-established risk factors, including cholesterol concentratio

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Daylight robbery

July 6, 2000

Gustafson et al report in the 29 June Nature that a marine ciliate, Mesodinium rubrum, steals organelles from ingested algae (Nature 2000, 405:1049-1052). Although M. rubrum does not appear to ingest other food, or to maintain permanent symbionts, the ingested organelles help the ciliate to keep photosynthesizing and to maintain a high level of cell division.

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Drawing blood

July 6, 2000

New York, July 5, 2000 (Praxis Press) Blood glucose testing, one of the most commonly performed procedures in clinical practice, traditionally uses lancet sampling drawn from a finger, a procedure experienced as painful by patients. Previous studies suggest the side of the thumb as a less painful site. In an open, prospective randomized trial published by the British Journal of Medicine (see paper), sampling from the earlobe, an equally accessible and vascular site, resulted in a less painful

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The definition of a virus as a DNA or RNA virus, based on its genetic material, is now on shaky ground thanks to the findings of Bresnahan and Shenk in the 30 June Science. Using a gene array, they find that particles of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a large DNA virus, contain four different mRNAs (Science 2000, 288:2373-2376). The mRNAs are derived from one immediate-early gene, two early genes and one late gene, but translation from at least one of the packaged mRNAs peaks before there is dete

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"The illegal wildlife trade is the third biggest form of smuggling from Latin America, after the illegal smuggling of drugs and arms" says a Colombian expert. And now genetic material can be "hidden under your nail".

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Long-term response to chronic hepatitis C treatment suggests complete recovery.

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New York, July 5, 2000 (Praxis Press) The 6-month results of the FRISC II (Fast Revascularisation during Instability in Coronary artery disease) invasive trial show a reduction in the composite endpoint of death or myocardial infarction, contradicting previous large-scale randomized trials. The recent one-year follow-up of this randomized trial published in the Lancet confirms that the invasive strategy rapidly transforms unstable coronary-artery disease into a stable condition, lowering long-te

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