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In brief

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 22 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2174

Liver disease mortality rises in England: Deaths from liver disease in England rose by 25% in eight years from 9231 in 2001 to 11 575 in 2009, says a report from the National End of Life Care Intelligence Network. Alcohol related liver disease accounted for over a third (37%) of all these deaths. The age standardised mortality rate was highest in the north west (24 per 100 000 population) and lowest in the east of England (12.9 per 100 000).

Text messaging improves HIV drug adherence: A Cochrane review that included two Kenyan randomised controlled trials shows that sending weekly text messages to patients significantly reduced non-adherence to HIV treatment by 23% up to one year later, confirmed by lower blood concentrations of HIV (doi:10.1002/14651858.CD009756).

Cosmetic and dental surgery are top reasons for treatment abroad: Belgium and Hungary were the most popular destinations for people in the UK to travel overseas for treatment, with 16% of these patients going to each, followed by Poland (10%), the Czech Republic (9%), and Turkey (9%), according to a survey of more than 500 UK patients by the independent medical tourism advice site Cosmetic surgery was the top reason for treatment abroad (42% of respondents), followed by dental treatment (32%), surgery for obesity (9%), infertility treatment (4%), and orthopaedic surgery (4%).

Argentina decriminalises abortion after rape: Argentina’s Supreme Court has upheld a ruling to decriminalise abortions for women who have been raped. Abortion is illegal in Argentina, but a court in the southern region of Chubut allowed a 15 year old to get an abortion after she was raped by her stepfather in 2010. The original statute, written in 1922, includes a clause that abortion is legal only when the mother’s life or health is at risk or if she has been raped. However, some lower courts in Argentina have interpreted the clause to mean that abortion should be allowed for women who have been raped only if they were mentally challenged.

Japan makes record contribution to Global Fund: Japan will donate $340m (£214m; €260m) in 2012 to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the highest it has ever made. This new contribution is a big increase over Japan’s previous highest contribution of $246m in 2010. In 2011 Japan’s contribution was reduced to $114m after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeast Japan in March.

COPE publishes guidance on research misconduct: Institutions should have a research integrity officer, investigate allegations of research misconduct, and inform journals about proved cases, say new guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (, a forum for editors and publishers of peer reviewed journals. Journals should also tell institutions if they suspect misconduct, should cooperate with investigations, and should be prepared to issue retractions or corrections, depending on the findings.

Spanish haematologists call for a national leukaemia registry: The Spanish Society for Haematology and Haemotherapy has asked the Ministry of Health to support the creation of a national leukaemia registry as a way to improve access to innovative drugs. At the moment hospitals can run their own registries, but the data do not have to be shared. The Spanish Society of Clinical Oncology has also long requested a national cancer registry to improve access to drugs and to improve recording of cancer prevalence.

Tanzanian schools’ policy on children with HIV is criticised: Amnesty International has denounced stigmatisation in Tanzania after several schools forced HIV positive pupils to wear red ribbons. School authorities said that it was done at parents’ request to excuse sick children from strenuous activities. Amnesty responded: “The suggestion that forcing HIV positive children to wear red ribbons will protect them is ludicrous.”


Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2174

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