NEJM 2 Nov 2006

The National Epirubicin Adjuvant Trial (NEAT) was conducted in the Nation of England, while a very similar trial, BR9601, was conducted in Scotland. Both show that this agent reduces rates of death or recurrence when given for early breast cancer before the standard cocktail of cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and fluouracil.

The Nation of Poland rarely gets a look in at the NEJM, but this Warsaw-based study reports on 50,148 citizens of the ancient kingdom who underwent colonoscopy between the ages of 40 and 66. The main message is that the cancers found in men tended to be more advanced.

Left Ventricular Assist Devices were developed as a bridge to heart transplantation, but can they be a bridge to recovery from heart failure? This study shows that they can be in non-ischaemic cardiomyopathy without myocarditis. Fifteen patients who had severe heart failure due to this group of conditions had LVADs fitted and 10 had successful explantation later, generally with complete recovery of cardiac function. But there are many questions about drug regimes and patient selection to be answered before this potentially life-saving but very expensive treatment can enter mainstream practice – see the accompanying editorial.

A group of American dentists and obstetricians were chewing over the known association between periodontal infection and premature birth and wondered if they could reduce such occurrences by screening and treating pregnant women for periodontitis. Mothers, babies and dentists would all stand to benefit. But alas no: like so many interventions aimed at reducing “risk factors