MinervaBMJ 1996; 312 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.312.7039.1176 (Published 04 May 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1176
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Understanding of the cardiac causes of sudden death in young adults has improved substantially in the past decade, and at least some of these conditions can be treated (New England Journal of Medicine 1996;334:1039-44). The value of interventions is shown by the contrast between the annual rate of sudden death in unscreened young runners, which is 1 in 250000, and the rate in air force recruits, who have medical examinations, which is 1 in 75 million.
The gene that causes Werner's syndrome of premature aging has been located on the short arm of chromosome 8, and an article in “Science” (1996;272:193-4) says that gerontologists are excited by the findings. The protein encoded by the gene unwinds the paired DNA strands of the cell's genes, which is a prelude to such key activities as the repair, replication, and expression of genetic material. The accelerated aging of people with Werner's syndrome seems to be due to malfunction of the unwinding protein. Perhaps this line of research may lead to treatments that may slow aging—one of the dreams of mediaeval alchemists.
Research in the United States (JAMA 1996;275:1127-8) has shown that women who are obese (body mass index >29) are more likely to have infants with …