BMJ 2001; 322 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.322.7287.684 (Published 17 March 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:684

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Last December, UK's Nottingham University accepted £3.8m from British American Tobacco to fund an International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility. Readers who are lost for words at the mendacity of this donation will find them all in a leader in Tobacco Control (2001;10:1-2). It starts by comparing the money with profits from pornography, arms dealing, national plunder, and genocide. Then it argues that at least pornographers and genocidal murders don't torture universities with offers of cash, unlike the tobacco industry “which has hung about university research funding corridors like a wheel of ripe cheese in a sunbaked phone booth.”

We are entering a new phase of scientific uncertainty where meta-analyses, as well as single studies, can contradict each other. General practitioners wanting to know whether or not to eradicate Helicobacter pylori in patients with non-ulcer dyspepsia have two meta-analyses to go on. One (BMJ 1999;319:1040-4) found that it helps, another more recent meta-analysis (Annals of Internal Medicine 2001;134:361-9) insists that it doesn't. Both have their limitations, partly because the term non-ulcer dyspepsia is variably defined. Bigger, better trials will hopefully follow.

There have been many false dawns in the search for an effective treatment for severe sepsis, but the latest treatment, activated protein C, looks …

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