BMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7355.112 (Published 13 July 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:112

Increasing rates of caesarean sections are a matter of concern for many countries. In a survey of Swedish women in early pregnancy, 8.2% stated they would prefer to have a caesarean section (British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2002;109:618-23) A previous caesarean section, major worries about giving birth, and a negative birth experience were the most important factors contributing to their wish for a caesarean delivery. The authors say the study shows that, contrary to popular belief, wanting a caesarean is not associated with well educated urban women, keen on making their own decisions, who schedule childbirth into their well organised diaries and careers.

The bark of the aptly named aspidosperma tree has been used for centuries in South America to treat impotence and was introduced into Europe in the 19th century. Studies show that use of the bark extract can improve erectile dysfunction in 14% to 61% of users. Researchers in Germany (Journal of Urology 2002;168:160-3) have now solved the mystery of its effect. They found it was antagonistic to penile α2-adrenoceptors, and this was predominantly due to the bark's yohimbine content, which has moderate but well documented effects on erectile dysfunction.

Is there a link between empathy and academic ability? A study of medical students in Medical Education (2002;36:522-7) operationalised empathy into a 20 point scale …

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