BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7048.62 (Published 06 July 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:62

Botulinum toxin has an established place in treating dystonias such as blepharospasm, but it may also be of value in spasticity associated with stroke (Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 1996;61:30-5). A pilot study in Leeds found that patients left with spasticity affecting the arm had problems cleaning the palm of the hand, cutting finger nails, and putting the arm through a sleeve. All these problems were helped in some of the patients treated with the neurotoxin.

The plague of Athens killed 300 000 people between 430 and 425 BC, but despite the detailed description by Thucydides the precise identity of the disease remains uncertain. According to “Science” (1996;272:1591), the latest candidate is Ebola fever. A letter in the current issue of “Emerging Infectious Diseases” argues that the high fever, blistered skin, vomiting and diarrhoea, and hiccuping noted by Thucydides are all features of Ebola fever, and “Science” quotes support for the hypothesis from one of the American doctors who studied the outbreak in Zaire.

Hyperbaric oxygen used to be described as a treatment in search of diseases, but a review from the United States (New England Journal of Medicine 1996;334:1642-8) lists carbon monoxide poisoning, decompression sickness, and arterial …

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