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  1. R Mark Beattie, Editor in Chief

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Non specific effects of immunisation

There is no doubt about the global impact of immunisation in terms of reduced disease prevalence, morbidity and lives saved. All clinicians recognise this with more than 2 million deaths saved every year worldwide. There is however continuing debate about side effects. Aaby et al report an increase in childhood mortality between 2-6 months following DTP immunisation at 2 months in girls. This data is from an observational study within a randomised trial (BCG at birth, Guinea Bissau). In the accompanying editorial Pollard discusses non specific side effects of vaccination speculating on causation and calls for randomised controlled trials to investigate these phenomena further and advocates these effects are seen in the context of the highly successful global immunisation programme. See pages 685 and 677

School children's backpacks and back pain

The issue of the weight of the school backpack is I am sure a familiar one to all parents and seems a continuing issue despite much of learning being electronic rather than text book based. Rodríguez-Oviedo and colleagues report a cross sectional study across eleven schools in Northern Spain (1403 children, age 12-17) and found …

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