Reviews Minerva


BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 19 May 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:1256

Contrary to expectation, scientists investigating 27 amenorrhoeic women with anorexia found that giving them oestrogen did not protect against accumulation of truncal fat during spontaneous weight gain (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2001;73:865-9). Critics say that this is another example of an otherwise useful drug failing in anorexia, possibly due to interference from the state of starvation and low body weight.

We'd all like to believe that the cardioprotective properties of alcohol are keeping us alive longer. So Minerva was disappointed when she read in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (2001;55:383-8) that current consumption only marginally reduces mortality, and only in the age group heading for retirement. Overall, mortality is about 2% lower in England and Wales in people who drink alcohol than in those who don't, and the gains are seen only in women over 65 (0.9% fewer deaths) and men over 55 (2.8% fewer deaths).

Staff in eye clinics often warn people whose pupils have been dilated not to drive home. There is little scientific evidence, though, for an adverse effect on the ability to drive safely, and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists has never issued guidelines. Formal testing of visual function in 12 men treated …

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