BMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7495.854 (Published 07 April 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:854

In 1991, the World Health Assembly set a target of eliminating leprosy as a public health problem by 2000. A review in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (2005;83: 230-5) assesses progress. Although the elimination programme has been successful in delivering highly effective antibiotic therapy worldwide, rates of detection of new cases in countries with the highest prevalence of endemic leprosy—Nepal, India, and Madagascar, for instance—have stayed much the same. Understanding how leprosy is transmitted remains a challenge.

Uterine leiomyomata, more usually known as fibroids, account for a large proportion of hysterectomies, but not much is known about what causes the tumours. The nurses' health study, a large prospective study of women's health in the United States that has been running since 1989, finds that risk rises with increasing diastolic blood pressure (American Journal of Epidemiology 2005;161: 628-38). There may be an analogy between the formation of atherosclerotic plaques and the pathogenesis of uterine leiomyomata since both involve abnormal behaviour of smooth muscle cells.

With spring in the air, people will be exploring the countryside, getting bitten by ticks and consulting their doctors with worries about Lyme disease. It may be hard to know what to tell them. A review in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases …

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