Intended for healthcare professionals

Minerva Minerva


BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 08 January 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:128

Early one November morning in southeast Queensland, a father found his baby son motionless and covered in vomit. He had puncture marks on the back of his right hand and a large black funnel web spider in his bed clothes (Medical Journal of Australia 1999;171:651-3). Four other people in the area have been poisoned by funnel web spiders since 1992. All recovered, but experts warn local hospitals to be ready for an increased incidence of bites as urban centres grow into the spiders' natural territory. The message is, keep antivenom in stock, or know where to find it fast.

The National Lottery recently awarded £166 000 to Bag Books, creators of multisensory story kits for children with severe learning difficulties. The “books,” which are three dimensional, incorporate sound, smell, and texture as well as visual stimuli. The lottery money guarantees production for another three years. For more information, or to order a book, email or telephone 020 7385 4021.

Doctors trying to decide whether it is safe to perform a lumbar puncture should trust their gut feeling, say researchers from the United States who studied the value of computed tomography in over 100 patients needing an urgent lumbar puncture (Archives of Internal Medicine 1999;159:2681-5). …

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