Bmj Usa: Minerva


BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 19 November 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:E94

This article originally appeared in BMJ USA

In the women's health study, 25 665 women provided information about the use of hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms. Questioning (JAMA 2001;286: 2114–2119 showed an increased risk of dry eye or irritation in women taking hormone replacement therapy, with an odds ratio of 1.69 for those using estrogen alone and 1.29 for those using a progestogen as well. The report warns that the dry eye syndrome is difficult to control and urges clinicians to be watchful.

Reading palms to tell fortunes has no basis in science, but apparently its value as a marker of early prenatal stress in children with intellectual disability has been proved. Sixty two children with idiopathic intellectual disability were compared with 72 healthy controls. More arches, radial loops, abnormal palmar flexion creases, and simpler fingerprint patterns were found in the disabled children. The authors say this provides indirect evidence that some children experience a time-specific or time-limited exposure to stress factors in early uterine life (Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 2001;45:416–423).

Minerva has long been fascinated by the 1918 pandemic of influenza, which killed 20 million people (as compared …

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