BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7159.690 (Published 05 September 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:690

Disfiguring keloid scars may be associated with mutations of the p53 gene, according to a preliminary study of seven volunteers (Archives of Dermatology 1998;134:963-7). Investigators found p53 mutations in keloid tissue from all seven subjects. Mutations were absent from samples of normal tissue taken from the same subjects. The gene is known to be important in regulating apoptosis and cell proliferation.

A pilot study in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry finds a link between poor cognitive performance and atrial fibrillation in elderly people (1998;65:386-9). The authors speculate that people with atrial fibrillation are at risk of silent cerebral infarction and suggest that antithrombotic treatments should be investigated for their potential to slow cognitive decline in these patients.

Drug treatments for inflammatory bowel disease have a good track record in pregnancy, and mesalazine is no exception. A case-control study from Toronto, Canada, confirms that exposure to mesalazine in pregnancy does not harm the fetus (Gut 1998;43:316). A comment on the study concludes that doctors and patients should trust the safety record of these drugs. The greatest risk to pregnancy is active disease, not active treatment.

The seasonal element to rates of sudden infant death has persisted despite the drop in deaths since the “back to …

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