Lancet 11 Aug 2007 Vol 370

This prospective observational study from Germany opens up the question of which method is best for breast cancer screening – conventional mammography or MRI? (Or neither – but that is another debate) MRI cannot detect microcalcification, which has hitherto been the best marker for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), thought by some to be the precursor of all invasive breast cancer. But this study shows that enhanced MRI can detect DCIS better than mammography by picking up neovascularisation rather than calcification (well explained in the editorial). Expect more studies and much more debate.

I have followed the progress of the Birmingham Atrial Fibrillation Treatment in the Aged (BAFTA) study from the start, because our practice participated. That warfarin is clearly superior to aspirin for stroke prevention in people aged 75 and over with AF comes as little surprise; but a bigger and very welcome surprise is that the warfarin group showed no increase in major bleeds.

Nutritional iron deficiency
is not the most engrossing topic for summer afternoon reading, but there’s no doubting its importance – it affects 2 billion people. Rusty iron knowledge can be remedied by iron ion revision in these pages; and the solution to the world problem may lie in getting more haem into plants by breeding or genetic engineering.