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BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 19 June 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1708

There are no cats in the Antarctic, but there are still plenty of cat allergens, investigators have found. (Lancet 1999;353:1942). The allergens arrived at Scott base, on the edge of Antarctica, on clothing worn by staff, many of whom kept cats at home. Cat allergens survived the cold dry atmosphere better than house dust mite allergens, although both were detectable in mattresses and in sweaters worn by new staff. Levels of cat allergens were high enough to provoke symptoms in allergic individuals.

Cancer prevention experts have estimated that about 8 million Californian teenagers experimented with smoking between 1988 and 1998 because tobacco advertisements told them to (Tobacco Control 1999;8:37-44). They go on to name and shame Camel and Marlboro as the brands most popular with teenagers and estimate that their manufacturers' promotional campaigns from that period will generate about 3 million new smokers in the state. Over 800 000 of them will eventually die of their habit.

East German couples wanting a baby may have to try harder for longer than couples in southern Italy or northern Sweden (Human Reproduction1999;14:1250-4). Data on fecundity—the biological ability to achieve pregnancy—from seven centres in five developed countries shows there …

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