* One of the few good reasons for circumcizing newly born boys in the US is that it supposedly offers protection against penis cancer. But new research from Denmark shows that penis cancer is also falling among uncircumcized, possibly as a result of improved personal hygiene (BMJ, December 2, 1995).
* How accurately can your family doctor read an x-ray? One test discovered that 92 per cent of films were interpreted correctly by a group of doctors in Iowa until it was discovered that fewer than usual abnormal films were produced. This suggests that the success rate may have been overestimated (J Fam Pract, October 1995).
* A woman given the contraceptive implant Norplant began suffering mysathenia gravis (muscle weakness). Similar symptoms have been reported in about 5 per cent of women who had the implant removed, two English doctors report. In all, 34 cases of mysathenia gravis had been reported to the US Food and Drug Administration up to last June (The Lancet 1995; 346: 1556).
* Doctors who are treating rheumatoid arthritis with 75 mg of prednisolone may be exposing their patients to increased risks of greater disability, a hospital stay and even doubling their risks of dying, two doctors from Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto have warned (NEJM, December 7, 1995).