In brief

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 21 September 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:618

Universities clamp down on drug company gifts: Stanford University Medical Center in California is to ban its doctors from accepting gifts from pharmaceutical companies, including pens, mugs, and lunches at seminars. Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania have announced similar policies. Doctors at Stanford will also be prohibited from publishing articles ghost written by industry contractors.

Early blood test detects genetic disorders: A blood test that identifies the sex of a fetus at seven weeks could help to detect babies with sex linked genetic disorders at an earlier stage and eliminate the need for riskier procedures. Researchers from the Institute of Child Health in London have trialled the test on 70 pregnant women.

Number hurt by landmines increases: Worldwide casualties from landmines and unexploded remnants of war increased to 7328 in 2005, up 11% on 2004, including about 1743 deaths, the annual Landmine Monitor Report says. But it notes that there is serious under-reporting, and experts believe there are between 15 000 and 20 000 new casualties each year.

Tobacco in film trailers on television needs control: Ninety five per cent of all US youth aged between 12 and 17 saw, in a year, on television at least one movie trailer that depicted tobacco use, shows a study. It also found that 14.4% (31) of all trailers shown included images of tobacco use. More needs to be done to “reduce or eliminate the influence of tobacco use in televised movie trailers,” say the authors (Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine2006;160: 885-8.)

Payments prompt baby boom in Australia: Maternity payments of $A4000 (£1600; €2400; $3000) are credited with increasing the birth rate in Australia—by an extra 10 000 babies. A total of 268 667 parents in 2005-6 claimed the payment, showing a greater than expected rise in the birth rate.

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