BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7061.890 (Published 05 October 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:890

Enthusiasm for pancreatic transplantation as a treatment for insulin dependent diabetes will have been set back by a report from Sweden (New England Journal of Medicine 1996;335:860-3) of two patients whose grafts eventually failed apparently because of autoimmune attack. The received wisdom had been that the immunosuppressive treatment used to maintain the transplant was enough to prevent any autoimmune damage to the islets of Langerhans. That may be so in most cases, but the question that will now have to be asked is how long pancreatic transplants may be expected to function.

Might a raised blood pressure be a risk factor for some types of cancer? A commentary in “Hypertension” (1996;28:321-4) identified seven prospective studies that had suggested links with carcinomas, especially of the kidney. The increased rates of cancer could be a side effect of antihypertensive drugs, with diuretics the main suspect— but yet again the conclusion is that more research is needed.

An investigation of variations from town to town of the incidence of cases of meningococcal meningitis came up with the unexpected finding that the highest rates occurred in the towns where more general practitioners prescribed erythromycin for upper respiratory tract infections (Epidemiology and Infection 1996;117:103-5). The most likely explanation, says the …

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