* The none-too-subtle charms of the drug companies
The US patient group for senior citizens AARP discovered that three rival groups have all received substantial drug-company funding in the last few years, proving that the drugs industry is using ''front groups' to advance its agenda under the veil of other interests', says an AARP spokesperson (BMJ, 2003; 326: 351).
* Evidence mounts that restrictive supplement legislation is misguided
The availability of supplements is still being restricted. According to one US professor of medicine, 'the problem [of zinc deficiency] has been known for 40 years and a solution is still outstanding . . . it is imperative that the World Health Organization include this problem in its top priorities' (BMJ, 2003; 326: 409-10).
* Food infections: it's time to start taking them seriously
Danish research claims that food infections could be fatal 12 months after exposure. In a study comparing people who had a food infection with those who had not, the infected group were three times more likely to die within the year. So, if you come down with a food infection, it's serious. Seek out a herbal remedy such as berberine or a homoeopathic nosode to treat it (BMJ, 2003; 326: 357-60).
* Useless antibiotics
American researchers have found that antibiotic effectiveness has declined in the past decade due to persistent overuse. As with food infections, there are good herbal remedies to treat problems - but we forgot, they're banning them, aren't they? (JAMA, 2003; 289: 885-8).
* Sorry seems to be the hardest word
A new study has revealed that doctors make mistakes. In fact, the research even goes so far as to say that mistakes are inevitable. When doctors' and patients' responses were compared, it was clear that patients wanted to hear that golden word 'sorry' - something that the doctors felt was going too far (JAMA, 2003; 289: 1001-7).