BMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7121.1552 (Published 06 December 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1552

Two large clinical trials of the effects of implanted defibrillators on mortality, one positive, one negative, appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine (1997;337:1569-83). Commenting on the results in an editorial (1621–3), the journal says that the clinical settings in which a defibrillator is clearly valuable are still a minority: fewer than a tenth of potential victims of sudden death come within the remit of recent trials, so much more research needs to be done. Several other trials of defibrillators “have remained remarkably silent,” possibly because the results are disappointing, yet research of this kind is the only way forward in the era of evidence based medicine.

Two proteins that give gliomas their unique invasiveness have been identified by research teams in the United States (Science 1997;278:1226). Gliomas have a dreadful prognosis; most patients are dead within two years of diagnosis. The hope is that treatment directed against these invasive proteins might alter the picture.

Automated haematological analysers may give misleading data in some circumstances, warns a report in the Journal of Clinical Pathology (1997;50:967-9). A patient with hepatitis C had an automated blood count in which the electrical impedance method was used. This showed an abnormal leucocyte differential, with 0.3% eosinophils. On direct …

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