Intended for healthcare professionals



BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 09 September 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:632

A novel technique for following the migration of cancer cells around the body is described in the latest issue of Nature Medicine (advance online publication doi:10.1038/nm1096). The researchers used “quantum dots” (fluorescent microscopic crystals, which are more stable than other fluorescent labels) in living mice to track tumour cells travelling through the blood-stream, into the lung. Apart from shedding light on what's actually happening, the technology could prove useful in the development of more effective cancer treatments.

Doctors still seem uncertain about how to break the news of a diagnosis of dementia, and their perception is that relatives handle the news well. Family caregivers, on the other hand, recount highly negative emotional responses to the disclosure. Structured interviews involving 52 caregivers and 39 doctors showed a wide gap between how caregivers would prefer disclosures to be made and what actually happens. Advice from the caregivers is to listen to the people closest to the patient: they know better than anyone that something is wrong (Gerontologist 2004;44: 500-7).

It's some people's greatest fear: to be fully aware of what's going on during an operation, and then to remember what's happened afterwards. In a prospective multicentre study from the United States, the incidence of awareness during anaesthesia was calculated as 0.13%, which amounts …

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