BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6945.1726 (Published 25 June 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1726

The small but dangerous organism Helicobacter pylori is now linked to gastritis, duodenal ulcer, gastric ulcer, and gastric cancer. Along with many other infectious organisms it thrives where there is socioeconomic deprivation. A study of 150 black and Hispanic people in Texas (Gut 1994;35:742-5) found that the prevalence of infection was inversely related to social class in childhood. More than four fifths of subjects who had grown up in poverty were infected compared with one tenth of subjects who had grown up in the highest socioeconomic group.

Reports of a causal link between silicone breast implants and connective tissue and autoimmune disease led the American Food and Drug Administration to ban such implants in 1992. A large case-control study in the “New England Journal of Medicine” (1994;330:1697-1702) found no evidence of such an association in 749 women with breast prostheses. This study, say the authors, is not the last word but is considerably more reliable than what has gone before.

An accompanying editorial (New England Journal of Medicine 1994; 330:1748-9) warns of the power of anecdote over science in the American courts. Despite …

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