BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7012.1110 (Published 21 October 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1110

Standard teaching restricts the use of influenza vaccine to elderly people, people at high risk because of chronic disease, and health professionals. A research study in Minneapolis-St Paul enrolled 849 healthy, working adults into a placebo controlled trial of the vaccine (New England Journal of Medicine 1995;333:889-93). Those given the active vaccine reported 25% fewer episodes of upper respiratory illness and 43% fewer days off work sick. Side effects were similar in the vaccine and placebo groups.

The convincing evidence that women are less likely than men to be investigated and treated with high technology methods such as coronary bypass grafting gives only part of the picture, says an editorial in “Annals of Internal Medicine” (1995;123:548-50). Although women receive fewer invasive technological services than men, they make more use of primary care—and live longer. The higher rates of admission to hospital among men may reflect their inadequate use of primary care services.

Parents of young children with severe refractory eczema are often tempted to try dietary manipulation to alleviate the condition, although there is scant evidence that it works. Furthermore, as a study of 85 such children illustrates well (Archives of …

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