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A faulty production line

Advice on diabetes strips could save GPs thousands

Moderate alcohol may slow bone loss

Moderate alcohol consumption could help protect women from osteoporosis, a new study suggests.

Researchers at St Thomas' Hospital in London examined the effect of alcohol in 46 pairs of identical twins, where one twin drank moderately and the other very little.

After interpair analysis, researchers found that bone mineral densities were significantly higher in moderate drinkers than their minimally drinking twins. In the hip densities were 0.982 and 0.964 respectively, while in the spine they were 1.020 and 1.011.

Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2004; July 1 early online publication

Side-effects are key in OA drug choice

Patients with osteoarthritis are prepared to take less effective medicines to avoid side-effects, according to a new study.

US researchers gave 100 patients with knee osteoarthritis a range of information about risks and benefits of different drugs and asked them to choose which they would prefer to take.

Only 7 per cent chose cox-2 inhibitors and 2 per cent NSAIDs, compared with 44 per cent who picked capsaicin. When a smaller ulcer risk for NSAIDs was given, the proportion choosing them rose to 9 per cent.

Archives of Internal Medicine 2004;164:1299-1304

Multivitamins may increase child atopy

Children who take multivitamins may be at increased risk of food allergies and asthma. Researchers in the US tracked more than 8,000 children from birth, assessing incidence of allergic disease and whether the children were given multivitamins.

Use of vitamins in the first six months was associated with increased risk of food allergies in formula-fed infants and asthma in black infants (odds ratios 1.63 and 1.27), while use after three years raised risk of food allergies in breast-fed and formula-fed children.

Pediatrics 2004;114:27-32

Back pain common in pregnancy

Low back pain in pregnancy is a common problem that causes considerable distress, according to a new study.

US researchers conducted a survey of 950 women in order to estimate the prevalence of pain and its effect on their

quality of life.

Of the women, 68.5 per cent said they experienced pain during their current pregnancy, with 58 per cent suffering sleep disturbances as a result and 57 per cent reporting disturbances to their everyday living.

Obstetrics and Gynecology 2004;104:65-70

GPs find e-results reliable and useful

Schemes to allow GPs to access laboratory results by computer are rapid, reliable and useful to doctors, according to new


Researchers analysed patterns of uptake and use in

72 practices in Tayside, Scotland, in the first 18 months after

introduction of a pilot scheme.

Initial use varied between practices from no hits to 160 hits per month, but the access rate gradually conformed to a more standard 20 hits a month, irrespective of initial use, suggesting GPs find the system useful.

Journal of Informatics in Primary Care 2004;12:35-9

Aldosterone linked with hypertension

High levels of aldosterone within the physiological range

predispose patients to hypertension.

Researchers measured the baseline serum aldersterone levels in 1,688 nonhypertensive patients and followed them up four years later.

Patients in the highest quartile for aldersterone were 61 per cent more likely than patients in the lowest quartile to develop hypertension and 60 per cent more likely to experience an

elevation in blood pressure.

New England Journal of Medicine 2004;351:33-41

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