Intended for healthcare professionals

Minerva Minerva


BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 22 April 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:1154

The ketogenic diet, popular between the wars as a treatment for refractory epilepsy in children, has come back into vogue over the past decade. There's plenty of anecdotal evidence that a diet made up of 90% fat reduces seizure rates; it is reviewed by two doctors from Chicago, who conclude that the ketogenic diet probably works ( It's hard to say whether it works better than established alternatives, however—controlled trials were never done.

Conclusive evidence that vitamin C reduces blood pressure and improves serum lipid profiles is frustratingly elusive. The latest study, a randomised crossover trial in healthy older adults, finds that 500 mg a day has a small effect on systolic blood pressure and a similarly small effect on high density lipoprotein cholesterol, but only in women (Journal of Hypertension 2000;18:411-5). Even so, the researchers are hopeful that if everyone ate more oranges these modest effects would translate into lower population rates of vascular disease.

Invading a dog's territory, intervening in a dogfight, or taking a dog's favourite toy can all end in a bite to the hand, warns a hand surgeon who saw 24 cases in the year up to March 1999 (Journal of Hand Surgery 2000;25B:26-8). Pushing something through an unknown letterbox can also be hazardous. Two people lost the end of a …

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