BMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7373.1182 (Published 16 November 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:1182

Spiders inspire legendary levels of fear and anxiety, but an Australian prospective follow up study of 750 people who attended emergency departments with definite spider bites found only 6% hadimportant clinical effects. Of these 6% of bites, most caused persistent pain, but no early allergic reactions or necrotic ulcers were recorded, and secondary infection occurred in just seven bites. Widow spiders were the worst culprits, and rapid identification of the type of spider would increase the opportunity of giving antivenom (Quarterly Journal of Medicine2002;95:723-31).

Here's the latest search for another use of statins: this time they are being tested as a treatment for multiple sclerosis. American scientists used mouse models to show that atorvastatin prevented disease relapse and lowered levels of inflammation in the nervous system. They say the drug seems to shift the body's production of destructive T cells, causing it to produce anti-inflammatory T cells (Nature 2002;420: 78-84)

A UK national programme launched in October encourages the reporting of all clinical errors andsignificant events in order to learn from them. The US healthcare system has recently come under similar …

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