Lancet 24 Mar 2007

In this proof-of-concept study, cervical vertebral discs were removed from cadavers and transplanted into matched patients with degenerative disease of the cervical spine. I put it this way round because for every suitable cadaver, there will always be lots of suitable patients: after all, a degenerating cervical spine is part of the human condition. The grafts took within three months and we haven’t a clue what happens after that.

The SANAD trial is a large British unblinded trial aimed at discovering which anticonvulsant is the best choice for first-line treatment of partial epilepsy. Current guidelines suggest carbamazepine but lamotrigine was superior in time to treatment failure in this comparison which also included gabapentin, oxcarbazine and topiramate.

The other arm of the SANAD study
looked at generalised or unclassified epilepsy, for which sodium valproate is currently the recommended first-line drug. This trial confirms that: valproate is better tolerated than topiramate and more effective than lamotrigine, which were the other drugs randomly allocated in this part of the study. It is called a “controlled trial