BMJ 1994; 309 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.309.6964.1312 (Published 12 November 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:1312

The very old in good health are not like the rest of us - they are elite survivors. So Minerva was not too surprised to learn (JAMA 1994;272:1335-40) that people aged 79 or more with raised serum cholesterol concentrations do not have an increased risk of coronary heart disease - and the conclusion of the American investigators is that people in this age range should have their cholesterol concentration measured only if there are clear clinical indications to do so. Treatment of symptomless hyperlipidaemia is unjustified interference.

One of the statistics that regularly appears on this page is the million or more children who die each year of malaria, mostly in Africa. As drug resistance becomes more of a problem the need for a vaccine becomes more pressing, and the “Lancet” (1994;344:1175-81) recently reported trials of a synthetic polypeptide vaccine, SPf66, in children in Tanzania. Three doses of the vaccine gave some protection against falciparum malaria: its efficacy was assessed as 31%. Disappointing or encouraging? Both, really.

Since 1961 nearly 1300 psychosurgical …

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