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Raging hormones miss the target

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 10 July 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:132
  1. Howard Jacobs, emeritus professor of reproductive endocrinology
  1. Royal Free and UCL School of Medicine, Middlesex Hospital, London

    Raging hormones, BBC Radio 4, Tuesdays at 9.30am, 15 June to 13 July

    Iaccept that you need a catchy title for a series like this, but hormones don't actually rage—they circulate, very gently. On the other hand, and here I speak from experience, endocrinologists often rage. Their patients sometimes rage as well, but the hormones that cause the commonest type of endocrine rage—premenstrual tension—don't feature in this series at all. Such considerations made me wonder how interesting a molecule based, rather than an illness based or physiology based, series would be—not very, I'm afraid.

    It was primarily the missed opportunities that spoiled the series for me. The first programme introduced listeners to the idea that adrenaline underlies the “flight or fight” response to danger. However, some intriguing research into postsurgical pain revealed that blood adrenaline concentrations were highest in the patients who were psychologically most relaxed and who felt the least pain—a paradoxical finding to be sure. The ad hoc …

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