BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7062.952 (Published 12 October 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:952

Inherited factors are known to affect susceptibility to infectious disease and recent work has suggested that mutations in the CKR5 gene protect people from HIV infection. This finding is confirmed and extended in a study of 1955 patients at high risk of HIV exposure (Science 1996;273:1856-62). Those found to be homozygous for the CKR5 deletion were confined to the 612 patients who remained HIV antibody negative. Among the 1343 HIV positive patients the presence of one mutant allele postponed progression to AIDS.

Operations on 80 year olds are now commonplace and the results are good: a series of 140 patients over the age having operations for colorectal disease included 97 having resections for colorectal cancer with an immediate mortality of 3%. The report in the “Journal of the American College of Surgeons” (1996;183:46-50) gave the five year survival as 40%—but that must be considered in the context of the normal expectation of life for an 80 year old, which is 8.3 years.

The links between exposure to sunlight and malignant melanoma have puzzling aspects—quite a lot of melanomas occur on parts of the body rarely exposed to the sun. A report from Yale in the “International Journal of Cancer” (1996;67:636-46) found that a clear history of sunburn …

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