BMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6992.1478 (Published 03 June 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1478

As summer sunshine leads to more anxiety about vehicle exhaust emissions and health, what are the prospects for electric cars? Research in Pittsburgh (Science 1995;268:993-5) has shown that so long as these vehicles use lead acid batteries there will be substantial pollution from the production and reprocessing of the lead. A 1998 model electric car is said to release into the atmosphere 60 times more lead per kilometre of use than a comparable car using leaded petrol.

A clinical trial in the United States on 299 patients with sickle cell anaemia has shown that treatment with hydroxyurea reduced the frequency of crises from 4.5 to 2.5 a year. The report and an editorial in the “New England Journal of Medicine” (1995;332:1317-22) warn that much more research is needed to establish dosage regimens and to assess the long term risks associated with the treatment, but the results are still encouraging.

One hundred years ago as many as half of the male inmates of mental hospitals were suffering from syphilitic general paralysis of the insane (American Journal of Psychiatry 1995;152:660-5). How many doctors remember that, as recently as 1960, patients with the disease …

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