Minerva

Minerva

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7530.1484 (Published 15 December 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1484

Giving heroin users a dose of naloxone to carry around with them so that friends or bystanders can promptly administer it to them if necessary could save lives. A review of take-home naloxone, the drug used as an antidote to opiate overdose, reports that much of the evidence supporting naloxone distribution is anecdotal but promising and should be studied more rigorously. At present, about one third of people who take an overdose of heroin die. Take-home naloxone could change that (Addiction 2005; 100:1823-31).

Doctors who deal with uncertainty are, in effect, making clinical decisions when information is missing, thus dealing with ambiguity. Functional brain imaging shows that it's the amygdala and the orbitofrontal cortex (the emotional processing centres of the brain) that spring into action when the level of ambiguity rises. Most people are more comfortable with decisions where the risks are known than with ambiguous choices, but patients with orbitofrontal lesions don't show this usual preference, which confirms the importance of these centres of the brain in coping with uncertainty (Science 2005; 310:1680-3).

A GP is researching whether owners really do look like their dogs. She's collecting data about the weight and height of owners and their dogs by using anonymous questionnaires, with a view to ascertaining whether the body mass indices …

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