* Asbestos-poisoning deaths are continuing to rise in Britain, and will do so for another 25 years when they will peak, researchers predict. As expected, building workers, and especially plumbers and gas fitters, were in the highest risk group because they were most likely to be exposed to asbestos in their work (The Lancet, March 4, 1995).
* Calcium drugs are commonly given to treat heart conditions, but new research shows they can be killers if given to people who have suffered a heart attack or angina. The drugs, and in particular nimodipine, have been linked to major surgical bleeding (BMJ, March 25, 1995).
* An American doctor who first warned about the misuse of salmeterol xinafoate, a long-lasting inhalant for asthma sufferers, has repeated his concerns following a number of deaths linked to the drug. Manufacturer Allen & Hanburys has confirmed that the drug has been linked to a number of deaths both in the US and elsewhere, as Dr Roger Bone of Ohio reveals in an article in JAMA (March 22, 1995).
* Nicotine patches, usually put on the skin of smokers to help them stop the habit, have caused fatal heart attacks, especially if the wearer has continued to smoke with them on. In two recent cases reported in Holland, neither victim had a history of heart problems (BMJ, March 11, 1995).