BMJ 2001; 322 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.322.7298.1374 (Published 02 June 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:1374

The media are often accused of whipping up medical scare stories, so Minerva was interested to read that sometimes they can be praised. According to the leading article on changing physician behaviour in the Archives of Disease in Childhood (2001;84:459-62), the widespread dissemination of accurate information in parenting magazines about resistant bacteria and the inappropriate use of oral antibiotics has led to fewer parents requesting a prescription for antibiotics for respiratory illnesses.

To avoid the problem of contaminated water supplies, researchers in Bangladesh taught mothers to use biodegradable two-compartment water purification sachets to make up safe therapeutic feeds for malnourished children (Lancet 2001;357:1587-8). The device contains a semipermeable cellophane membrane, and is hydrated by osmosis when placed in water. Sucrose takes about five hours to hydrate and can then be mixed with the dry components held in the waterproof upper section of the sachet.

After an acute myocardial infarct, balloon angioplasty is cheaper than stenting. But since stents result in better event-free survival and fewer readmissions, it may be a false economy to choose the cheaper option. A randomised controlled trial comparing …

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