BMJ 1996; 312 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.312.7029.520 (Published 24 February 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:520

Two more trials of acellular vaccines against pertussis have just appeared (New England Journal of Medicine 1996;334: 341-55). These together with earlier studies in Japan and Sweden have shown that the newer vaccines not only cause fewer side effects than the old whole cell vaccines but are also more effective. Around the world parents will be expecting the newer, safer vaccines to be made available soon: the expert committees will have to make up their minds about choice of vaccine and regimen—not an easy task.

In the past 10 years the proportion of infants of very low birth weight who survive has doubled. Follow up of 324 of the 371 infants born in Scotland in 1984 weighing less than 1500 g found that at the age of 8 “the index children were distinguishable from their classroom peers in nearly all spheres of activity.” The report in “Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology” (1995;37:1037-50) says that these children mostly attend mainstream schools, but as many as half require learning support.

Further evidence that eating oily fish may give …

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