Views And Reviews Minerva


BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 18 April 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1254

Minerva likes eponyms and so was pleased to read a commentary in Medicine (1998;77:1-2) justifying their use. They can't mislead about aetiology, they avoid long winded terms such as angiokeratoma diffusum hereditaria (Fabry disease) and terms upsetting to parents such as happy puppet syndrome (Angelman syndrome). What divides the two sides of the Atlantic is the British fondness for the apostrophe, even when it leads to error prone use such as Graves's disease.

The irritant atmosphere of indoor swimming pools is due to nitrogen trichloride, which is derived from the reaction between the chlorine used as a disinfectant and nitrogenated substances of human origin such as sweat and urine. Research in France (Occupational and Environmental Medicine 1998;55:258-63) has shown (not surprisingly) that lifeguards who spend their working days exposed to this atmosphere often complain of irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat but that they do not seem to develop permanent bronchial hyperresponsiveness.

More than 300 different mutant alleles have been described at the phenylalanine hydroxylase locus. These cause different degrees of reduction in the catalytic activity of the enzyme and thus different clinical severities of phenylketonuria (Journal of Medical Genetics 1998;35:301-4). Research in Portugal has established that the population there shows much the same …

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