In brief

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 19 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2206

Public helps to decode genetic data: Members of the public helped to speed up research at Cancer Research UK by analysing in one month DNA data that would have taken a scientist six months, by playing the smartphone game Play to Cure: Genes in Space.1 Since the game was launched in February there have been 1.5 million classifications (the analysis of the DNA of one chromosome) by players from across the world. Scientists hope the data will help them discover genetic faults that cause cancer.

Scottish GPs vote for restrictions on e-cigarettes: GPs in Scotland have called for controls to be placed on the use, sale, and display of electronic cigarettes. Their annual conference passed a motion calling on the Scottish government to ban their use in enclosed public spaces, restrict their sale to over 18s, and ensure that they are displayed only alongside other nicotine replacement therapies.

Nearly 4000 NHS staff laid off in England now rehired: The latest estimate of the number of managers and administrative staff rehired by the NHS in England after losing their jobs because of the changes to the health service has risen to 3950, up from 3234 in December 2013.2 Labour asked for the data to be released to parliament. A reported 19 126 staff lost their jobs during the reorganisation at a cost to the NHS of £600m (€720m; $1bn) to £700m in redundancy payments.

Complaints rise about treatment of ovarian cancer: The number of complaints involving women with ovarian cancer rose from 92 in 2004-08 to 133 in 2009-13, the Medical Defence Union has said. Most (80%) of the complaints were about alleged failure to carry out appropriate examination or to diagnose or treat urgently. The union advises doctors to follow guidance of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence on ovarian cancer and to consider this diagnosis if patients have persistent or frequent symptoms, especially if they have a family history of the disease.

Children are attracted to colourful packaging, survey finds: Bright, colourful, or interesting packaging is twice as likely as celebrities to influence children (40% versus 20%) when they think about buying a product, a YouGov survey of 550 children commissioned by Cancer Research UK has found. The respondents, who were aged 8 to 15 years, perceived brightly coloured Pall Mall (59%) and Mayfair (63%) cigarette packs as less likely to be harmful than a standardised pack (89%). Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK’s head of tobacco policy, said that the findings showed that “clever design gimmicks distract from health warnings and portray smoking as something glamorous and harmless.”

Cases of tuberculosis fall in China: The prevalence of tuberculosis in China fell by more than half between 1990 and 2010 from 170 to 59 cases per 100 000 people, a study in the Lancet has reported.3 The success has been attributed to the roll out of the directly observed, short course (DOTS) strategy, from half the population in the 1990s to the entire country after 2000. China accounts for one million new cases of TB every year, 11% of the world’s cases.


Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2206


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