Research briefs

HPV screen 'better than smear'

A test for HPV may be a better screen for cervical cancer than smear tests, UK research suggests. HPV tests and smear tests were carried out on 3,000 women aged 35 and over attending cervical cancer screening. The risk of developing cervical cancer after five years was 0.83 per cent after a smear test, compared with 0.42 per cent for the HPV test (Int J Cancer Online 2008).

Teen blood-donor risk
Young blood donors are more likely to faint than older blood donors, US research suggests. The study compared 145,678 blood donations from 16- and 17-year olds with 113,307 donations from donors aged 20 and over. Complications occurred in 10.7 per cent of 16- and 17-year olds, compared with just 2.8 per cent of donors aged 20 and over (JAMA 2008; 299: 2,279-86).

Doubts over chemotherapy value
Chemotherapy treatments which aim to prolong patients' lives and reduce suffering from asbestos-related cancer do not work, UK research suggests. The study of 409 patients found that those patients given chemotherapy did not live longer than patients given steroids (The Lancet Online 2008).

Whiplash risk higher for women drivers
Women drivers are three times more likely than men to suffer whiplash injuries if their car is hit from behind, according to a Swedish study conducted at Umea University. Insurance company data on more than 400 whiplash injuries was analysed. Researchers suggest that women's risk is increased because they generally sit closer to the steering wheel than men.

Delayed side-effects from skin filler
Cosmetic skin filler injections can cause severe skin side-effects months later, according to US research. The injections, which contain polyalkylimide gel and water, caused hardening and swollen skin lesions near the injection site 13 months after it had been given in a group of 25 patients (Arch Dermatol 2008; 144: 637-42).

Caveman diet linked to health boost
Eating like a cavemen can help to trim the waist, Swedish research has suggested. Volunteers who ate a diet of berries, nuts, lean meat and fish while cutting out cereals, dairy products and refined sugar for three weeks lost an average of 5lb as well as lowering their BP (EJCN Online 2008).

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