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Bmj Usa: Minerva


BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 19 November 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:E36

This article originally appeared in BMJ USA

Colon cancers seem to be occurring further up the colon (from the left side to the right side), beyond the reach of a flexible sigmoidoscope (Gut 2001;48:449–450. Studies from the United States, several European countries, and now Northern Ireland (pp 522–525) report a shift from left to right over the past decade or so. The findings may be the result of more sophisticated investigations picking up a greater proportion of proximal cancers, writes one commentator. Even so, the shift could spell the end for cheap and easy screening tools that fail to check the entire colon.

Minerva's long memory includes some of the many studies published during the past 40 years linking increased cardiovascular mortality and living in an environment with soft natural water supplies. This association has recently been identified in the Puy de Dome in France, where the water is very soft (Environmental Research 2000;54:219–227. Yet with all those years of research it remains unclear whether soft water is bad for us (perhaps because inorganic pollutants dissolve more easily) or …

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