Intended for healthcare professionals



BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 14 July 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a783

Do surgical patients want to know about their life expectancy or probability of survival? Urologists from one British centre investigated this question by presenting a series of hypothetical case scenarios to 120 patients. After the presentation, 58% of patients wanted to know both their life expectancy and survival probability and 36% wished to know neither. They preferred a combination of numerical and pictorial formats, rather than either format alone or a verbal format only. The use of “survival curves” was popular. The results were not significantly affected by sex or educational background (BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2008;8:24; doi: 10.1186/1472-6947-8-24).

Mathematical modelling shows that vaginal microbicides being developed to prevent HIV infection in women could increase antiviral resistance and may actually offer more protection to men (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2008;105:9835-40; doi: 10.1073/pnas.0711813105). The speed that resistance develops seems to be related to …

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