Views And Reviews Minerva


BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 25 April 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1326

Calcification in the arteries of the breasts is found in 9-12% of mammograms of women over 50 years old. Follow up of women recruited to a Dutch trial of mammography between 1975 and 1977 (American Journal of Epidemiology 1998;147:333-41) found that those with calcification had a slightly increased overall mortality (hazard ratio 1.29 (95% confidence interval 1.06 to 1.58)). Further research will be needed to determine whether intervention could or should be offered to women with this finding.

Patients who have the chronic fatigue syndrome commonly complain of difficulties with concentration and memory, and some research in the United States (Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 1998;64:431-4) has now shown a relation between poor scores on neuropsychological tests and functional disability. An editorial commentary (64:430) makes the point that cognitive behavioural therapy has been shown to improve both the mental and functional impairment in patients with chronic fatigue.

Each time Minerva's eye lights on homocysteine in the title of a research paper she hopes to find out whether the link between high serum concentrations and heart disease is causal or not. Trials are apparently under way of lowering homocysteine concentrations by treatment with folic acid (Journal of Clinical Pathology 1998;51:183-8). Until these trials are completed the question will remain unanswered, and for …

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