NEJM 4 Jan 2007

Gene signatures in cancer cells are beginning to tell us which patients are most likely to survive. This sophisticated Taiwanese laboratory study identifies a five-gene signature which predicts good outcome in non-small-cell lung cancer. Good discussion in the accompanying editorial.

A couple of years ago in Minnesota, there was an outbreak of multidrug resistant Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium. The source turned out to be pet hamsters (and one mouse) bought from a certain pet shop which, like many, feeds antibiotics to its rodents. When you next visit family or friends in Minnesota, do not volunteer to clean out the hamster cage, and regard tame mice with suspicion.

The ergot-derived dopamine agonists pergolide and cabergoline are quite widely used to treat Parkinson’s disease and occasionally restless legs syndrome. This study uses the UK GP Research Database to explore a possible connection between these drugs and cardiac valve regurgitation. The association is definite, and judging from the Italian echocardiographic study which follows on p.39, affects about a quarter of those taking these drugs.

A nice summary of all you need to know about primary PCI for S-T elevation myocardial infarction, with a video clip too on the website.

Whipple first described his disease in 1907, and there have only been 1,000 cases reported since. As it’s a very odd bacterial disease which affects the gut, lungs, joints, heart and CNS, it’s quite possible that we miss it now and again, which would be a pity, since Tropheryma whipplei responds to antibiotics; otherwise, the patient dies.