Intended for healthcare professionals



BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 27 April 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1110

A study in Germany and Switzerland of children aged 1-18 years with the Guillain-Barre syndrome found that, during long term follow up, 98 out of 106 remained free of symptoms (Archives of Disease in Childhood 1996;74:281-7). The report concludes that the natural history of the syndrome in children is extremely variable but that overall it is more benign than in adults. Treatment with immunoglobulins accelerated recovery in children unable to walk in the acute phase.

A British study of 2583 patients with coronary heart disease found that a quarter were still smoking cigarettes and three quarters were still overweight. The report in “Heart” (1996;75:334-42) comments that much more could be done for such patients by advising changes in lifestyle, measuring and managing blood pressure and lipids, and by using appropriate drug treatment in selected patients. Of those under the age of 50 at the time of their index event, only a quarter knew that advice had been given to their family on screening.

Magnetic resonance imaging of the knee provides a non-invasive method of diagnosing meniscal tears, and its use should reduce the number of diagnostic arthroscopies (Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 1996;78B:174-5). Both MRI and arthroscopy are fallible, however, and the editorial concludes that patients should be advised to take their troublesome knees to “an experienced clinician …

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