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Children who wear hyoscine skin patches to control drooling may develop eye problems and need ophthalmological assessment and provision of appropriate glasses. In Glasgow (Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 2007; 49: 426-8) five patients aged 8-18 years with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and severe learning difficulties were assessed. They all wore hyoscine patches. They had large pupils that constricted poorly to light and little accommodative response. Three of them showed evidence of photophobia. All five were given glasses designed to provide a focused image at 1 metre (considered the primary sphere of interest) and the photophobic patients were provided with photochromic lenses. On follow up, parents and teachers reported improvements; the children reached out for objects and looked at toys and books more readily and the photophobia was less evident.

There should be greater investment in large-scale banking of umbilical cord blood and both cord-blood banks and bone-marrow donor registries should be searched simultaneously whenever a child needs a haemopoietic stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor. These are the conclusions of a non-randomised study (Lancet 2007;369:1947–54; see also Comment, ibid: 1906–8) using data from the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research and the National Cord Blood Program of the New York Blood Center. The study included 785 children aged …

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