BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6941.1450 (Published 28 May 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1450

The genetic abnormality in Huntington's disease is a long stretch of repeats of three nucleotide bases. CAG, in a gene on chromosome 4. The longer the sequence of repeats the earlier the onset of symptoms. Studies on 1007 patients have now shown (New England Journal of Medicine 1994;330:1401-6) that measurement of the number of CAG repeats provides a reliable diagnostic test that is simpler and cheaper than genetic linkage testing.

In the past 20 years the numbers of laboratory workers who have acquired infectious illnesses through their occupations has fallen substantially, says a report in the “Journal of Clinical Pathology” (1994:47:391-4). The main and reassuring decline has been in hepatitis; and the incidence of tuberculosis has halved. Bacillary bowel infections were mostly confined to scientific officers working with faecal material.

Should victims of rape be able to insist that their alleged assailants should be tested for evidence of HIV infection? A working party from the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics has argued (JAMA 1994;271:1436-44) that the clinical and psychological benefits to the victim and to society would outweigh the invasion of the constitutional rights of …

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