BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7324.1316 (Published 01 December 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:1316

One way to tackle blindness caused by damaged retinal cells is under investigation by Japanese scientists. When they grew cells taken from the rat iris and induced expression of a gene that is critical to retinal development, the iris cells took on some characteristics of photoreceptor cells. If this works in humans, the gene transfer technique and subsequent re-implantation could do away with the rejection problems usually seen with foreign tissue transplantation (Nature Neuroscience 2001;4:1163-4).

So many people have headaches after lumbar puncture that it must be time to offer evidence based advice on how to avoid this happening. The debate has mostly revolved around the question of short or long bed rest, but according to a systematic review (Canadian Medical Association Journal 2001;165:1311-6) neither seems to make a difference to the incidence of headache. Minerva wonders if applying a blood patch to everyone undergoing a lumbar puncture might be more helpful.

Reading palms to tell fortunes has no basis in science, but apparently its value as a marker of early prenatal stress in children with intellectual disability has been proved. Sixty two children with idiopathic intellectual disability were compared with 72 healthy controls. More …

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