Minerva Minerva

Minerva

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7271.1298 (Published 18 November 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:1298

Australians took three times more antidepressants in 1998 than in 1990, a rapid increase matched only by Sweden in a comparison of seven developed countries (Medical Journal of Australia 2000;173:458-61). An analysis of prescription data and community health surveys suggests that Australians have now caught up with Americans, and overtaken the British, in their use of antidepressants. A new awareness of depression and a willingness to treat it are probably behind this rise.

The Scottish Office Clinical Research and Audit Group predicted in 1990 that the number of children taking growth hormone would double over the next 10 years. It didn't. Use of growth hormone peaked in 1994 and fell steadily to an all time low of 296 children by 1999 (Health Bulletin 2000;60:457-65). Equivocal results from effectiveness trials stopped the indiscriminate prescribing that officials feared, particularly in children with familial or idiopathic shortness.

Greeks are famous for their longevity, which is widely attributed to a good diet. Eating in Greek restaurants, however, is unlikely to prolong your life. A US newsletter reports that a Greek salad contains as much saturated fat as a cheeseburger, while doner kebabs (Minerva's favourite) are loaded with as much red meat as a 16 oz …

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