Intended for healthcare professionals

Minerva Minerva


BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 01 April 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:950

Alosetron, a serotonin antagonist developed to treat irritable bowel syndrome, looks promising in randomised trials against placebo but has yet to be tested against traditional treatments (Lancet 2000;355:1030-1). It's likely to work better for patients with problem diarrhoea than for other forms of irritable bowel syndrome. In the most recent trial, women taking alosetron were 10 times more likely to become constipated than placebo controls. A quarter of the treatment group dropped out.

Minerva has fond memories of the fruit fly Drosophila, having spent much of her adolescence breeding them in glass tanks. Now a team from the Salk Institute has sequenced the fly's entire genome (Science 2000;287:2196-204). Studying the fruit fly has been remarkably productive over the years, and is set to become more so now that the gene map, the largest so far, is complete. Two thirds of the genes known to cause human disease have equivalents in the Drosophila melanogaster genome.

How can we prevent serious sports injuries when surveillance of the problem is so poor? asks an injury expert from Canada who is exasperated by the federal government's lack of interest (Canadian Medical Association Journal 2000;162:792-3). There is talk of an epidemic of injuries in professional hockey players after a …

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