Intended for healthcare professionals

Minerva Minerva


BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 17 June 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:1680

Research in the United States has shown that congenital heart disease is less common in infants born to mothers who took multivitamins early in pregnancy (American Journal of Epidemiology 2000;151:878-84). No risk reduction was evident when the use of vitamins began after the first month of pregnancy. The message is that periconceptional behaviour is crucial to the health of the embryo.

In most animals, including humans, total energy expenditure declines with age, partly as a result of decreased exercise and partly because of changes in the lean:fat ratio. Cats are an exception (International Congress and Symposium Series 2000;244:15-6). A small study of 12 healthy neutered females showed no differences between 4 year olds and 12 year olds, confirming Minerva's belief that neutered cats behave as lazy slobs throughout their life spans.

The health professionals follow up study began in 1986 and used data from 51 529 maleUS dentists, pharmacists, and other professionals to evaluate the influence of lifestyleon heart disease and cancer. An incidental finding (American Journal of Public Health 2000;90:768-73) was that there is a dose related effect of smoking on suicide: heavy smokers were 4.5 times as likely to kill themselves as non-smokers.

Treatment with tamoxifen has been given much of the credit for a recent fall in mortality from …

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