* Glue ear (otitis media with effusion), a common cause of deafness in children, may be due to gastric reflux (when gastric juices in the stomach flow backwards up into the oesophagus), according to the findings of an Anglo-American team of researchers. Very high concentrations of pepsin (a stomach enzyme) were found in the ear secretions of more than three-quarters of children with the infection (Lancet, 2002; 359: 493).
* New research carried out at the University of Southern California suggests that heavy outdoor exercise where there are high levels of ozone may contribute to the development of childhood asthma (Lancet, 2002; 359: 386-91).
* Mothers who had trouble breastfeeding their first child may not necessarily have the same problem with their second. An Italian study found that mothers produced significantly more breastmilk at one week for their second child and spent less time feeding them than they had with their first (Lancet, 2002; 359: 358).