Bmj Usa: Minerva


BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 19 November 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:E79

This article originally appeared in BMJ USA

An effective antidote to the anthrax toxin could be timely. Scientists in the United States have created a polyvalent inhibitor of the toxin that protects rats for at least one week after they receive huge doses of anthrax toxin. By scouring peptide libraries, the researchers identified potential inhibitors of the toxin assembly process. Having found one that weakly inhibited toxin assembly, they then created a more effective compound by linking many copies of the peptide together (Nature Biotechnology 2001;19:958–961.

Soft drinks are often full of sugar, but cola drinks carry an additional health risk. A report in the (Internal Medicine Journal 2001; 31:317–318) describes a patient with chronic caffeine toxicity manifesting as hypokalaemic myopathy. The patient presented with a year's history of muscle weakness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and weight loss. She admitted drinking 8 litres of cola every day for the past two years, amounting to at least 1 g of caffeine daily. Toxicity can occur at levels as low as 500 mg a day.

Athletes who do not have asthma inhale β2 agonists in the belief that these drugs will enhance their performance. French researchers have …

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