Vital signs

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Jewels point to stress

The amount - and quality - of jewellery a woman wears can indicate how stressed and anxious she is, according to a GP study reported in Doctor. It found that women who wore large numbers of rings - not expensive ones, but "cheap, gold items" spread across the fingers - were more than six times more likely to suffer anxiety, depression, headaches, tiredness and irritable bowel syndrome as a control group. They were twice as likely to suffer stress-related conditions such as insomnia, abdominal bloating and premenstrual tension.

The authors also note in Doctor that ring-laden women tended towards neurotic behaviour where their GP was concerned - attending the surgery twice as often, requesting 12 times the number of home visits and cancelling three times as many appointments.

Breast implants

Silicone breast implants are unlikely to represent a serious danger to health, say researchers from Harvard University. In a study of nearly 400,000 women health professionals published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, they found that those with breast implants ran a small increased risk of developing connective tissue disease. The results of the trial have been long awaited in the US, where silicone implants were banned except in clinical trials after reports of associated illnesses.

Fever and child fits

Fits in a feverish child can be terrifying for parents - yet they generally have no adverse neurological effects, according to Danish researchers. In a study of 300 children who had febrile convulsions, they found that at 14 their intellectual performance and IQ was the same as others who had never had a fit. Children who have had a fit do not need a tranquilliser whenever they have a fever, they argue in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Larger women at risk

Thin, light women really do live longer, a survey of 115,000 nurses aged 35-55 has shown. The 16-year study, conducted at Harvard Medical School, Boston and reported in the Therapist, found that women who had gained more than 22lbs since the age of 18 were two to three times more likely to die of heart disease in middle age. Women who put on 40lbs were seven times more likely to die prematurely.

Premature baby test

A chemical test on trial in a Bristol hospital may be able to detect a potentially fatal condition in premature babies, according to a report in Doctor. Called Triagnostic, the test is enabling doctors at St Michael's Hospital to analyse protein deficiencies in the amniotic fluid on delivery. This helps doctors to identify premature babies who might have respiratory distress syndrome - a common cause of death among this group. .

Pill switch slip

Two women who switched from third to second generation contraceptive pills after the Committee on Safety of Medicines warning last autumn have become pregnant despite following instructions correctly, says the Marie Stopes International Family Planning Charity The charity's doctors suspect that the change in levels of progesterone temporarily reduced contraceptive cover, according to a report in Pulse.

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