BACK PAIN Let your physio do the talking
It's now proven that whatever good a physiotherapist can do will be done in the very first visit - and that's likely to be the simple advice to stay active.
Researchers from Warwick University assessed the progress of 286 patients suffering from low-back pain for more than six weeks. Those who routinely visited the physiotherapist fared no better than those who simply heeded the advice to lead an active life (BMJ, 2004; 329: 708-11).
SO LONG, CRUEL WORLDCountry music makes you suicidal
Researchers have found that US cities where the radio plays a higher-than-average amount of country music also have higher-than-average suicide rates.
However, only the white populations were affected, as they were the ones who listen to it. Suicide rates among the African-American communities were no higher than in cities where they broadcast something else (BMJ, 2004; 329: 817).
BREAST CANCERSeeds planted when you're young
New research suggests that height and body mass index (BMI) both play a part in determining the risk of breast cancer.
Women at greater risk had high birth weights, grew quickly, and were tall at the age of 14, but with a low BMI.
The Copenhagen researchers monitored 117,415 Danish women, noting birth weights and developmental details. Of these, most of the 3340 who went on to develop breast cancer had one or more of the above risk factors (N Engl J Med, 2004; 351: 1619-26).
HOLY HIROSHIMA!What radiologists don't tell you
A full-body CT (computed tomography) scan exposes you to radiation equal to that from the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Up to one in 400 patients scanned goes on to develop a fatal cancer; those who have an annual CT scan double their chances of a fatal cancer (Radiology, 2004; 232: 735-8).
Also, CT scans have "long been controversial because of uncertainties surrounding their ability to detect hidden disease" (JAMA, 2004; 292: 1669).