Intended for healthcare professionals

Minerva Minerva


BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 19 February 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:524

Western Australian women with ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms are less likely to reach hospital, less likely to have an operation, and more likely to die than Western Australian men with the same condition (British Journal of Surgery 2000;87:191-4). These results, from an analysis of routine data collected in the decade up to 1994, add to the growing evidence from America and elsewhere that women with abdominal aneurysms—ruptured or not—do worse than men. Research protocols with a serious sex bias are partly to blame.

Another paper in the same journal reminds everyone that smoking is still the biggest avoidable risk factor for abdominal aortic aneurysms in both sexes (British Journal of Surgery 2000;87:195-200). The authors estimate that nearly a quarter of aneurysms are caused by smoking. The largest risk factor is unavoidable: about 70% of aneurysms are attributable to being male.

Keeping fit in old age can improve sleep, reduce cardiovascular risk, and alleviate depression, but can it prevent falls? The evidence is patchy, but if interventions are targeted at the right people, and sustained for long enough, they seem to work, conclude researchers from New Zealand (British Journal of Sports Medicine 2000;34:7-17). They critically reviewed 12 randomised trials, five of which reported benefits from strength and balance training, …

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