* Family doctors can now test for Heliobacter pylori, the bug recently discovered to cause ulcers. The development of reliable test kits means that patients need not be sent off for unnecessary endoscopies to see if they have ulcers (Monitor Weekly, March 15, 1995).
* Coal tar shampoo, used by dandruff and psoriasis sufferers, could be carcinogenic. But the risk is very small, says drugs company Wyeth Ayerst, maintaining that the warnings that appear on the labels of products bought over the counter are those that are scientifically proven (The Lancet, February 4, 1995).
* Cases of malformed babies in England may be due to chorionic villus sampling (CVS), early research has indicated. A government body has ruled out environmental factors, even though most of the cases are clustered around a coastline. Another possible cause could be a deficiency of folic acid in the mothers when carrying the babies (The Lancet, February 11, 1995).
* Just five units of alcohol drunk in 24 hours can increase the risk of stroke among young adults, a study from Finland has concluded. It researched the cases of young stroke patients, and discovered that alcohol consumption in the 24 hours immediately before admission to hospital was far higher than a control group, even though overall consumption over a week was about the same (Monitor Weekly, March 1, 1995).