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* The 15 antenatal checks a woman undergoes during an average pregnancy are of dubious value, according to a BMJ editorial

* The 15 antenatal checks a woman undergoes during an average pregnancy are of dubious value, according to a BMJ editorial. In most women, weight gain is no indicator of poor fetal growth or incipient preeclampsia; testing for sugar in the urine is not an effective screening method for diagnosing gestational diabetes; and listening for fetal heartbeat is no better than the mother reporting fetal movement, it said. A second report in the same edition of the BMJ suggests the routine six week postnatal vaginal examination is 'illogical'. - BMJ, 18 September 1993.

* The drug Tacrine - used for treating Alzheimer's disease - has been approved for use in the US, despite its side effect of liver damage. Its labels will carry warnings and recommend patients be given repeated blood tests.- The Lancet, 18 September 1993.

* The antipsychotic drug phenothiazine can cause sudden death when injected in large doses into psychiatric patients, according to a report published by the UK Special Hospitals Service Authority. Malcolm Lader, professor of clinical pharmacology at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, reckons that these drugs - which are often forcibly injected - may be causing a death every two weeks.- BMJ, I I September 1993.

* The controversy over whether injecting babies with vitamin K leads to an increased risk of childhood cancer continues. A US study of 54,795 children concludes that 'a slightly increased risk could not be ruled out', adding, however, that 'there is no reason to abandon the routine administration of vitamin K to newborns'.- N Engl J Med, 23 September 1993.


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