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Exposure to tobacco smoke in the home in childhood may not only cause respiratory problems as a child, it may cause symptoms in middle and late adult life. In Singapore (Thorax 2005;60:1052–8) 35 000 people who had never smoked (77% women) were interviewed between 1999 and 2004 when they were aged between 51 and 80 years. Many (65%) of them reported exposure to tobacco smoke in the home as a child; 48% of their fathers and 19% of their mothers had been smokers. Such exposure was associated with a doubling of the likelihood of chronic dry cough that was still present. It was not associated with either asthma or chronic bronchitis (chronic cough with sputum) but was associated with reported sputum production without cough. The association with adult symptoms increased with increasing childhood exposure (number of smokers in the home) independently of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke as an adult.

A new system for the classification of stillbirth has been developed and tested in Birmingham (BMJ 2005;331:1113–7). The system uses nine groups (fetus, umbilical cord, placenta, amniotic fluid, uterus, mother, intrapartum, trauma, and unexplained) each with subcategories …

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