BMJ 2004; 329 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7462.E317 (Published 12 August 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:E317

Despite repeated beatings about the head, 82 amateur boxers participating in multiple bouts during a seven day tournament showed no evidence of cognitive dysfunction immediately afterwards. Their serial performance in tests of simple reaction times, choice reaction times, and working memory tests after three bouts was equal to that of boxers who had taken part in one and two bouts, and that of non-boxing control participants. Boxers whose bouts had been stopped by the referee proved the exception (Neurology 2004;62: 1497-1502).

Smoking can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but only 15-20% of smokers get it. A study in Chest (2004;125: 1706-1713) shows that bronchial cells from smokers who have obstructive disease produce a greater inflammatory response to stimulation with an irritant (tumor necrosis factor alpha) than smokers without airflow limitation. This suggests that some smokers respond much less to irritants in cigarettes.

Groundwater contamination by arsenic has doubled the lifetime risk of death from liver, bladder, and lung cancers in Bangladesh. Millions of hand pumped wells installed since the 1970s were supposed to protect 95% of the …

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