BMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7499.1094 (Published 05 May 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1094

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Creaking lower backs seem to run in families. Japanese researchers now suggest that the mechanism of lumbar disc degeneration involves a genetically mutated protein found in the cartilage of affected individuals. This protein interacts with a growth factor previously associated with connective tissue disorders and which is therefore likely to play a critical role in the progression of disease in intervertebral tissues (Nature Genetics 2005, advanced online publication 1 May, doi:10.1038/ng1557).

Paediatric anaesthetists often break paracetamol suppositories to achieve an approximate dose for children of different ages and weights. In a recent study, however, laboratory tests show that, although the suppositories contain a uniform dose of the active drug throughout, dividing them leads to poor accuracy in getting to the target dose. The authors suggest that only intact suppositories should be used (Anesthesia and Analgesia 2005;100: 1303-5

Proof that exercise early in life may help to stave off osteoporosis comes from a study of Norwegian premenopausal athletes. Low bone mineral density was two to three times as common in a matched non-athletic group of women as in the athletes (although low bone mineral density was found in both groups). Weight bearing exercises and medium and high …

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