Minerva

Minerva

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7313.642 (Published 15 September 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:642

Just as Minerva was getting to grips with the idea that association between hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer was stronger than she had originally learnt, a qualitative review of 45 relevant peer reviewed studies now suggests this is not the case. The data are inconsistent, say the reviewers, and inconsistency in the overall pattern of results means that causality can be in the eye of the beholder (Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2001;98:498-508). Meta-analysis supporters may refute this latest twist in the tale. Minerva simply remains confused.

Soy based foods are fast becoming a favourite among women looking for an alternative to conventional hormone replacement therapy. Their high oxalate content, however, may promote the formation of kidney stones in people prone to them. After oxalate has been absorbed from the diet, it can't be metabolised and is excreted by the kidney into urine. There the oxalate binds to calcium, forming an insoluble salt that can precipitate out to form stones (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2001;49:4262-6).

The Spanish flu of 1918 is thought to have derived from a recombination of haemagglutinin sequences from the pig and human flu genes, and its particular virulence can probably be put down to this recombinant gene. Similarly, the …

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