BMJ 12 May 2007 Vol 334

This is one of three important papers on aspirin to appear this week and it shows that whatever the merits of this drug in other contexts, it does not prevent cognitive decline in women over 65. This is another finding from the Women’s Health Study, which fortunately did not adopt an acronym based on Females United to Combat Cognitive Decline.

In the latest report from the Whitehall II study, we learn that, among civil servants, mental health improves from the age of 50 onwards, while physical health declines. The gap between the low grades and the high grades remains pretty constant. What a pity we don’t know whether this applies to the population generally: we need another Michael Marmot to take this on.

Chronic abdominal pain in children is a classic primary care dilemma and it’s good to see this Dutch review pointing out that only 2% of these children in the Netherlands get referred to secondary care, and yet most of our knowledge comes from secondary care studies. The best results come from cognitive behavioural or family therapy.