Minerva Minerva


BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7323.1260 (Published 24 November 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:1260

Women born during the second world war in Norway had a strong positive association between their adult height and the risk of breast cancer. Women in the top third of height had more than twice the risk seen in the lowest third (British Journal of Cancer 2001;85:959-61). The diet in Norway during the war was greatly restricted and variable, and this probably accounted for the clear association. No such link was seen in women born before or after the war.

The Department of Health has recently recommended that Britain should join many other countries in fortifying flour with folic acid. The government is still thinking about it. A study of 379 English adolescents has shown that 7% of girls and 10% of boys failed to reach the lower reference nutrient intake for total folate (British Journal of Nutrition 2001;86:529-34). Fortification of flour with 2400 micrograms of folic acid per kilogram of flour would reduce the incidence of neural tube defects by 41%, but four times that amount of folate would need to be added to the flour to protect 97.5% of girls against a pregnancy complicated by a neural tube defect.

The end is in sight for polio: only 2320 cases were reported worldwide in 2000 (Tropical …

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