* Patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness among the elderly in developed countries, lose their sight because the central portion of the retina breaks down. The cause of the breakdown, say scientists, is oxidative damage (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2002; 99: 14682-7).
* While the use of hysteroscopy to diagnose endometrial cancer produces accurate results, the same procedure is less accurate in diagnosing other endometrial disorders, such as hyperplasia (JAMA, 2002; 288: 1610-21).
* Instead of being referred for colposcopy, women who have abnormal Pap smears can have a quicker and more accurate diagnosis if they are referred for human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing. DNA testing is particularly accurate in women aged 30 or older (JAMA, 2002; 288: 1749-57).
* Elderly people who exercise at home are 30 to 46 per cent less likely to suffer debilitating falls. Falls and hip fractures are common sources of disability among the elderly (BMJ, 2001: 322: 697-9, 701-4).