Wrinkle warning

Men who smoke are more than twice as likely to have facial wrinkles as non-smokers, while women smokers are more than three times as likely to be wrinkled as their non-smoking counterparts, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Wrinkling may be due to the drying action of smoke or damage to vascular and connective tissue, the study suggests.

CFC-free inhalers

The world's first chlorofluorocarbon-free asthma inhaler is now available on prescription. The inhaler, Airomir, replaces CFCs as a propellant with a substance which scientists say will not affect the ozone layer. Trials have shown that CFC-free inhalers are just as safe and effective as conventional ones, although for patients they will look, feel and taste different. For a factsheet, contact the National Asthma Campaign.

Ease of delivery

Queen Victoria was an early advocate of pain relief during labour, according to her letters unearthed in the archives at Windsor Castle.

The Queen, who had nine children, intensely disliked giving birth but her requests to be given chloroform during her sixth and seventh labours were turned down. She was finally allowed chloroform during her last two labours, describing its effect as "delightful beyond measure".

White coat myth

Children do not feel intimidated by the doctor's white coat despite the widespread belief that removing it puts them at ease, says a report in the Lancet. It argues that for children, as with adults, the white coat gives a doctor permission to make physical contact in a way that would otherwise be unacceptable.