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In a prospective community cohort study in Finland (New England Journal of Medicine1998;338:1715–22) 220 children with epilepsy were followed up for 30 years. Forty four died, most of whom (39) had continued to have seizures which, in 33, were remote symptomatic (resulting from chronic brain injury). Of the survivors, 64% had been seizure free for five years or more and almost half (47%) had stopped antiepileptic drug treatment. They were, however, more likely than people without epilepsy to be unemployed, unmarried, and childless, even in the absence of neurological impairment.

Data from the British Births Survey (now called the Child Health and Education Study) of children born in one week in April 1970 (New England Journal of Medicine1998;338:1723–8) have confirmed the benign nature of febrile convulsions. Neither simple nor complex nor repeated febrile convulsions were followed by detectable impairment of school progress, intelligence, or behaviour at the age of 10.

Flucloxacillin treatment of children with eczema andStaphylococcus aureus colonisation (but not infection) produces no clinical benefit and promotes the emergence of methicillin resistant organisms (British Journal of Dermatology 1998;138:1022–9). Four weeks of treatment reduced colonisation but the staphylococci tended …

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