* Children who had recurrent viral infections early in life may be at a lower risk of developing asthma, according to new data. In a study of 1314 children followed until age seven, researchers found that those with more than two episodes of runny nose and those with viral infections in the first three years of life were less likely to be diagnosed with asthma than those with fewer viral episodes (BMJ, 2001; 322: 390-5).

* Injuries from scooters are on the rise. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that, during the first 10 months of 2000, there were 27,600 scooter injuries throughout the country vastly more than in the preceding two years. Most of the injured were boys under 15; the most common injuries were fractures and dislocations (usually of the hand or arm) (MMWR, 2000; 49: 1108-10).

* Patients at risk of kidney failure are often given low dose dopamine to protect kidney function. However, a study of 328 patients found that low dose intravenous dopamine was no more effective than placebo at maintaining kidney function and did not reduce hospital stays or mortality (Lancet, 2000; 356: 2139-43, 2112-3).