* Women who have had an abortion may have a 50 per cent greater risk of developing breast cancer, and that risk rises to 150 per cent if the woman had the abortion before she was 18. Conversely, those who had their abortion after the age of 30 were also in a higher risk category with a 110 per cent increased risk, according to a study carried out by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle (The Lancet, 5 November 1994).
* Delayed conception has been reported among the wives of fruit farm workers in the Netherlands, particularly those using outdated spraying equipment.
Researchers believe that the pesticide is to blame, although the wives may also have been indirectly contaminated by touching the mens' clothes.
* One cause of encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, could be a paste called BIPP (bismuth iodoform paraffin paste) used to treat septic wounds since the First World War. A number of patients have suffered personality changes while the BIPP packing has been in place, reports Dr A P R Wilson at the University College Hospital in London (The Lancet, 12 November 1994).
* The hormone replacement therapy Premarin is obtained from the urine of pregnant mares. Now the International League for the Protection of Horses is campaigning to have the conditions of the foals improved.