Minerva

Minerva . . . and other stories

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k1835 (Published 03 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k1835

Probiotics

Dietary supplements containing live bacteria are widely advertised as improving health and wellbeing. Nonetheless, a systematic review finds little to suggest that elderly people derive any benefit from them, at least as far as infectious illness is concerned (Age Ageing doi:10.1093/ageing/afy006). In 15 trials involving nearly 6000 people, mean age 75 years, there were no statistically significant differences in the occurrence or duration of infections between those taking probiotics and those taking placebo.

White matter hyperintensities

Small areas of hyperintensity in the white matter are common on T2 weighted brain magnetic resonance imaging, especially in older people. Although their pathogenesis isn’t fully understood, several studies …

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