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BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 13 May 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:E299

Pharmaceutical companies often spend enormous sums to develop thousands of potential names for their products. The companies hope to develop “memorable, positive, and promising” names that are “distinctive enough to avoid confusion and serious medication errors,” the Baltimore Sun reports (March 1, 2004). The Food and Drug Administration rejects about 33% of the 200-300 names submitted to it each year.

Might chronic inflammation be a factor in the development of breast cancer? That is one explanation for an association between long term use of antibiotics and breast cancer reported inJAMA (2004;291: 827-835). A link was found between breast cancer and several different categories of antibiotics, suggesting that treatment for chronic or repeated infections might be the trigger for the cancer. That hypothesis is reinforced by the known anti-cancer effect of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Survivors of meningitis may have impairment of their vestibular apparatus, and this may make swimming dangerous for them. Two case reports in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (2004;97: 76-77)describe adults who nearly drowned owing totheir inability to right themselves in the water. Patients who have become deaf after recovery …

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