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Short takes

MagazineDecember 1995 (Vol. 6 Issue 9)Short takes

* Doctors are failing to use tests that would objectively measure the severity of asthma

* Doctors are failing to use tests that would objectively measure the severity of asthma. A new study has revealed that doctors are relying merely on chest radiographs to determine the severity of asthma, even though they have access to sophisticated equipment and techniques such as peak flow and spirometry measurements. Their diagnostic testing goes against practice guidelines set out in 1991 (Journal of Family Practice, August 1995).

* Glaucoma tests are useless because most sufferers do not have high pressure, new research has concluded. No test can therefore properly test for glaucoma, and doctors would be better employed by testing for cataracts and diabetes-related eye complaints (Journal of Medical Screening, 1995;2: 109-14).

* Women who give birth at home are just as likely to suffer postnatal depression as those who had their baby in hospital. A study of 293 women in Holland, 52 per cent of whom had home births, found no difference in "birth blues" in the two groups (British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 1995; 102: 701-6).

* Surgeons are carrying out so much keyhole surgery that the traditional open operation is foreign to many of the younger ones. A study has discovered that surgeons in Bristol, England, had carried out 587 laparoscopic, or keyhole, operations on gall bladders in the three years until 1994, and just 35 open operations. Fourteen trainee surgeons had performed just 16 open operations, and assisted at 19 (Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, 1995; 77: 256-8).

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