Minerva

Minerva

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d5921 (Published 21 September 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d5921

The modern concept of autism dates from the mid 20th century, although autistic-type behaviours have been apparent for centuries. Descriptions of unusual individuals who were regarded as “changelings” or “feral children” include characteristics similar to those currently diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder, and more recent descriptions of “visitors from outer space” also include autistic-type behaviours. The metaphors of changeling, feral child, and extraterrestrial all identify someone who is wholly “other”, and introduce a stigmatising label that creates distance and barriers to comprehension (Hektoen International—A Journal of Medical Humanities 2011;3, www.hektoeninternational.org).

Folate receptors are highly expressed in ovarian cancer cells, and scientists took advantage of this by coupling folate to a fluorescent label and then administering it to a small group of women undergoing surgery for ovarian cancer. Surgeons were able to visualise the cancer cells in real time during the operation, determining tumour stage and the extent of spread and dispersion (Nature Medicine 2011, doi:10.1038/nm.2472).

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