Minerva

Minerva

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7003.520 (Published 19 August 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:520

There was a lot of media interest in the “fat mice” story. Mice that are homozygous for a mutation in the ob gene eat too much and become obese; but if they are injected with the normal Ob protein they eat less, they become more active, and their metabolism speeds up. In experiments in the United States (Science 1995;269:475-6) obese mice given the protein lost 40% of their weight in a month. So it is not surprising that a biotechnology company in California has paid Rockefeller University $20 million for an exclusive licence to develop products based on the gene.

Soy foods provide a substantial proportion of the protein intake in many parts of the world, but they have proved unattractive to Western palates—probably because the early soy meat substitutes tasted so awful. A meta-analysis in the “New England Journal of Medicine” (1995;333:276-82) has, however, reinforced the health message: eating soy lowers the total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglyceride concentrations. This effect may be due to the soy oestrogens. Carnivore Minerva recalls that these same soy oestrogens have been suggested as a possible cause of the decline in sperm counts in Western populations.

Despite substantial advances in the investigation of patients with gastrointestinal bleeding there are some …

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