Intended for healthcare professionals


Genie in a metformin bottle and other stories . . .

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 12 June 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3717

A genie comes out of a bottle of metformin pills. “O master, tell me what you most desire,” he says. “A cure for my type 2 diabetes, one that will make my β cells grow back forever,” says the man. “Master, let us call this betatrophin, and you shall make your own insulin again.” And the genie disappears for a few seconds and comes back with a mouse. “I asked for a cure for my diabetes, not a mouse,” says the man. The genie replies: “O master, you must be a little patient: so far betatrophin has only been found in the liver of this mouse. I shall put you to sleep for five years, and when you wake up I will bring you some betatrophin for humans.” Read more about this exciting story in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology (2013, doi:10.1016/S2213-8587(13)70032-9), but place no bets on genies and mice just yet.

What if we tried to practise medicine according to the best evidence, only to …

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