Intended for healthcare professionals

Minerva Minerva


BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 13 May 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:1350

Overweight women should be targeted for cancer screening, say researchers at Harvard after their analysis of national survey data showed that overweight and obese women were less likely to attend for mammograms or Papanicolaou smears (Annals of Internal Medicine 2000;132:697-704). These women are known to have higher than average death rates from breast and cervical cancer. Non-attendance at screening may be part of the explanation.

Dutch researchers must have had little trouble recruiting middle aged male volunteers to drink four glasses of red wine, beer, or Dutch gin with their dinner for nine weeks (Lancet 2000;355:1522). Their crossover trial showed a clear link between increased serum homocysteine concentration and red wine or gin, but not beer. The changes were enough to cause a 10-20% increase in cardiovascular risk, which is odd when you consider the protective effects of moderate drinking on cardiovascular disease.

It must have been much harder to recruit volunteers willing to be buried alive in snow to test a new piece of survival equipment for avalanche victims (JAMA 2000;283:2266-71). The artificial air pocket and one way valve system allowed volunteers to stay under the snow for at least …

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