Shame about the oral cancer
Researchers have found a possible link between tooth whiteners and oral cancer.
The ingredients used in tooth whiteners caused inflammation and mucosal trauma at high concentrations. Although not thought to be carcinogens, inflammation can have an unpredictable effect on tissues. The theory is based on two case reports, and one study of fewer than 20 people (presentation at the 6th International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer, August 7-11, 2004, Washington, DC).
NURSE, THE SCREENS
Hospitals kill too many patients
A study has found that 850,000 errors occur in UK hospitals every year.
Researchers reviewed 45 per cent of hospital admissions from 2000 to 2002, and found an error rate of 2.2 per cent. Previous studies had reported rates as high as 36 per cent.
A study in Australia reported a rate of 4.75 per cent and, in the US, around 195,000 patients die in hospital every year as the result of a medical error (BMJ, 2004; 329: 369).
TAKE A BREATHER
Buteyko can really help asthma
The Buteyko breathing technique does offer hope to asthmatics, a study has found.
Of the 20 patients tested, 11 reduced their inhaled-steroid dosages by 25-100 per cent. They were able to dispense with their bronchodilators, and reduce their use of inhaled corticosteroids.
This was tested against pranayama breathing, used in yoga, and a placebo, neither of which produced significant benefits (Thorax, 2003; 58: 1-6).
And now, the bad news . . .
Researchers from Birmingham University have reviewed 17 trials of the Parkinson's drug selegiline, involving a total of 3525 patients.
Most patients showed improvements in lifestyle compared with those using a placebo. However, there's a potential downside. As a study in 1995 found, the drug kills more than half of those taking it (Mov Disord, 2004; 19: 491-8).