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BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 25 November 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2668

In 2004, tax on alcoholic drinks in Finland was substantially reduced, providing a natural experiment for investigating how the price of alcohol affects the occurrence of alcohol related diseases. Analysis of data from death certificates showed a rapid effect. In the two years after the tax cut, mortality from alcohol related diseases rose by 16% in men and 31% in women. The effects were largest in people who were unemployed and less privileged (Am J Epidemiol 2008;168:1110-8; doi:10.1093/aje/kwn216).

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography carries a high risk of pancreatitis, but it’s not clear why. Studies in rats suggest that the pH of the contrast medium is a factor. When injected into the pancreatic duct, contrast solution at acid pH caused oedema, an increase in serum amylase, and neutrophil infiltration. Solutions at neutral pH caused little damage (Gut 2008;57:1566-71, doi:10.1136/gut.2008.148551).

People who eat three meals a day and snack in between—which probably includes most of us—spend the majority of any 24 hour period in a …

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