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MagazineJanuary 1998 (Vol. 8 Issue 10)Shorts

* The link between lowered thyroid function and depression is well established

* The link between lowered thyroid function and depression is well established. But a new report suggests that medication for depression, in this case the 5HT drug sertraline (Lustral in the UK; Zoloft in the US), may deepen feelings of depression by altering levels of the hormones thyroxine and thyrotropin in the blood. The link was noticed by chance by a group of doctors and as such is not yet fully established. But this information underlines the fact that our knowledge of the hypothalmus pituitary thyroid link is still very limited (N Eng J Med, 1997; 337: 1010-11).

* Mass vaccination programmes are changing the spectrum of encephalitis in children. New causes of the disease have been identified, while certain strains especially those associated with varicella zoster, respiratory problems and enteroviruses are on the increase. Encephalitis linked to mumps, measles and rubella has virtually been wiped out, researchers note (Eur J Pediatrics, 1997; 156: 541-5).

Anti-smoking treatments: dangerous and useless

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