BMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7369.912 (Published 19 October 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:912

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Taking too many painkillers can lead to “medication overuse headaches.” A German study found that the average length of time of taking painkillers before these headaches start is shortest for the triptans (5-HT1 agonists) (1.7 years), longer for ergots (2.7 years), and longest for ordinary painkillers (4.8 years). Triptans caused migraine-type headaches, whereas ordinary analgesics caused tension-type headaches (Neurology 2002;59:1011-4)

Although acupuncture is rarely written about in books about evidence based medicine, one writer believes that it is unlikely that acupuncture would have been around for 2500 years if it was just quackery (Gut2002;51:617-9). New technology may help to unravel the mechanisms involved. Positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging, for example, each allow a view of what happens to the central nervous system when acupuncture needles are applied, and acupuncture points can now be linked with specific brain cortices.

Successful breast feeding often depends on how long it takes for proper lactation to get started. Working on the hypothesis that delayed lactation may be linked to stress, researchers measured cortisol levels in a group of pregnant Guatemalan women during the first stage of labour and again after delivery. Not surprisingly, primiparous women …

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