* Hospital treatment is supposed to make you better, not worse. But the reality is that 10 per cent or more of hospital patients may contract a nosocomial (hospital-caused) infection. It’s now being suggested that, on entering hospital, each patient should be routinely warned of the risk, since the consequences of not providing such a warning could result in legal action (Clin Risk, 2001; 7: 242).

* Infants born to mothers living within 3 km of a landfill site may be up to 40 per cent more likely to have chromosomal abnormalities, according to a new European study. However, researchers are reluctant to draw a direct causal link. The rate is an increase on previous research findings that showed a 33 per cent increase in risk of non-chromosomal anomalies near hazardous-waste landfill sites (Lancet, 2002; 359: 320-2).

* New evidence from Johns Hopkins, in Maryland, suggests that a rigorously high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet can reduce the number of seizures in children with severe seizure disorders, and keep them lower for years after the diet is stopped. The diet regulates the buildup and breakdown of ketones, metabolites that accumulate in cells that conserve energy (Pediatrics, 2001; 108: 898-905).