Bmj Usa: Minerva


BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 19 November 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:E205

Wernicke's encephalopathy is difficult to diagnose because the classic triad of confusion, ataxia, and ophthalmoplegia occurs in only 10% of patients, and inebriated people are often confused and ataxic. A report on managing Wernicke's encephalopathy in emergency departments says that homeless alcoholic patients are most at risk; it's these patients whose charts end up at the back of the queue. When they wake up, they often leave the hospital without a full assessment and without being given B vitamins. The report says that intravenous multivitamins should be considered early, even if patients are still drunk (Alcohol and Alcoholism 2002;37:513–521).

Aloe vera is known for its effects on wound healing, particularly for thermal burns. A review in the European Journal of Herbal Medicine (2002;6:28–32) indicates that aloe vera applied topically is beneficial in treating skin damage induced by radiation, particularly if applied immediately after irradiation. But there's no evidence for its use when taken orally.

Condom use seems to be improving in many countries. But even if people are persuaded to use condoms, it's still a …

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