MinervaBMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7169.1398 (Published 14 November 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1398
The first pass metabolism of alcohol is accelerated by delaying gastric emptying, according to a report in Gut (1998;43:612-9). In several separate experiments, sporting volunteers were given alcohol orally, intravenously, and with or without metaclopramide and N-butyl scopolamine. Analysis of blood alcohol levels showed that N-butyl scopolamine slowed gastric emptying and enhanced first pass metabolism by a mechanism that probably involves both the stomach and the liver.
Scientists have sequenced the entire genome of Chlamydia trachomatis, the agent of trachoma and one of the commonest sexually transmitted diseases in the developed world (Science 1998;282:754-9). Investigators had hoped that the genome, which contains just over a million base pairs, would tell them the secrets of the bacteria's intracellular survival, allowing them to propagate large quantities in the laboratory for therapeutic research. The fact that it didn't was one of a catalogue of surprises accompanying the discovery.
Low serum albumin concentration is a sign of poor nutrition and a non-specific marker for systemic disease. A study of 144 elderly patients admitted to two community hospitals in Ohio, USA, found that it is also linked to prolonged hospital stay for a wide range of illnesses (Southern Medical Journal1998;91:851-4). Patients with serum concentrations below 34 g/1 on admission were …