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Minerva

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7484.204 (Published 20 January 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:204

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Catching and treating congenital hypothyroidism early is thought to produce a favourable outcome, but a study in Pediatrics (2005;115: e52-7)shows that even when there are similarities in genes and environment, children treated for congenital hypothyroidism don't do as well as their siblings. In long term follow up, affected and nonaffected children were tested at the same time and given the same tests. In the past, critics have pointed to disparities in testing as being the cause of any differences found.

The development of physical alcohol dependence is partly related to the effect of alcohol on NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors in the brain. US scientists found that long term administration of alcohol followed by alcohol withdrawal caused increased production of a protein called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) within the brains of mice. tPA interacts with a specific unit of the NMDA receptor, and this link is thought to promote alcohol dependence. Targeting this interaction with therapeutic agents might protect against some of the effects of alcohol misuse (www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0406454102).

Doctors are notoriously bad at taking time off work when they're sick, but this behaviour could lead to serious personal cost. Another analysis of the Whitehall II study reports an association between “sickness presenteeism” and serious coronary …

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