BMJ 2008; 337 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a19 (Published 06 October 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1951

When Catherine Eddowes was brutally murdered in Whitechapel, London, in 1888, her left kidney and uterus were removed. This led to speculation that the murderer, Jack the Ripper, was a doctor. There are almost as many explanations for the Ripper’s behaviour as there are theories about his identity, but serial killers often mutilate their victims and abscond with body parts as trophies (Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 2008:3343-9, doi:10.1093/ndt/gfn198).

Despite our high dependency on electronic wizardry based on semiconductors, few of us give much thought to the people in the Far East who make them. The biggest worry is that workers in the semiconductor industry are exposed to ethylene glycol ethers, a group of organic solvents that have the valuable property of coating surfaces evenly. Happily, a study from Taiwan (Occupational Medicine 2008;58:388-92, doi:10.1093/occmed/kqn046) finds no increase in adverse birth outcomes or congenital malformations in the offspring of women employees.

Elderly people often say that their memory is unreliable. If tested, however, only a small proportion of them qualify for a label of mild cognitive impairment. On the other …

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