In brief

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 22 July 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b2916

German drug misusers to get diamorphine on prescription: On 10 July the Bundesrat, Germany’s upper house of parliament, approved a controversial law that was barely passed in May by the lower house, the Bundestag, allowing severely addicted drug users to receive synthetic heroin diamorphine on a prescription basis, paid for by public health insurers. Approval comes after test programmes in seven cities with addicts who failed at least twice to stay clean after traditional treatment programmes.

Recycled television screens have potential use in medicine: Researchers from the University of York have found they can recover a chemical used in television sets with liquid crystal display technology and transform it to use in tissue scaffolds that help parts of the body regenerate. The recycled material can also be used in pills and dressings that are designed to deliver drugs to particular parts of the body, they say in the journal Green Chemistry (doi:10.1039/b906607a).

Smoking ban relaxed in Bavaria: Bavaria’s parliament voted on 15 July to relax a ban on cigarette smoking in pubs and nightclubs that was approved just 18 months ago. From 1 August smoking will be allowed in one-room pubs less then 75 m2 in area and in separate rooms of larger pubs. The state health ministry also has authority to allow smoking in larger pubs equipped with special ventilation systems that limit the risk of passive smoking.

German medics should be called “doctor” without need to do PhD: The European Research Council and the German Science Council have called for the abolition of rules that require German medical students to do a doctoral degree in order to be called “doctor.” The councils say that 90% of medical students do a minor piece of work which does not meet PhD standards. The term “medical doctor” should be the name of the profession, they say.

Kit is launched to help displaced children: Unicef has launched a new early childhood development kit to help children who have been displaced or affected by war and natural disasters. The kit, with 37 different items, aims to help children regain a sense of normality and assist their cognitive development. Unicef says that early childhood is the most critical period for brain development, making young children vulnerable to the stresses of war and natural disasters.


Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b2916

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