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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Another GP co-op fears it will close

Med-style diet cuts elderly deaths

Adhering to a Mediterranean diet can significantly reduce mortality in the elderly, a large-scale, prospective study confirms.

The Europe-wide EPIC study followed up 75,000 men and women, aged 60 or over, for between seven and 11 years.

Researchers questioned the participants on their eating habits and calculated Mediterranean diet scores.

The greater the score the lower the overall mortality. A two-unit increase reduced mortality by a statistically significant 8 per cent.

BMJ 2005; April 8 early online publication

Vitamin E can prevent period pain

Vitamin E supplements can significantly reduce the severity and duration of period pain, researchers suggest.

An Iranian study randomised 278 girls aged 15 to 17 to 200 units daily of vitamin E or placebo. They used a visual analogue scale to assess the severity of period pain and also measured pain duration and blood loss.

After four months, pain severity on the VAS scale was 6 in patients on placebo but only 0.5 in those on supplements.

Vitamin E reduced the mean duration of pain from 14 hours to 4.2 and also significantly reduced the degree of blood loss.

British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2005; 112:466-9

Waistline and insuin resistance

Measuring waistline can accurately predict the risk of insulin resistance, according to a Swedish study. Researchers studied 2,746 healthy male

and female volunteers aged between 18

and 72, with body mass indexes from 18 to

60 and waist circumferences from 65cm to

150 cm.

Waist circumference was a strong independent risk factor for insulin resistance.

A circumference of greater than 1m was able to predict the risk of resistance in men and women with a sensitivity of between 94 and 98 per cent, and a specificity of 61 to 63 per cent respectively.

BMJ 2005, early online publication

Naltrexone reduces heavy drinking

Injectable naltrexone can significantly reduce heavy drinking in patients who are alcohol dependent, according to a US study.

Researchers randomised 624 patients to receive a monthly injection with 380mg long-acting naltrexone, 190mg long-acting naltrexone or placebo, accompanied by 12 sessions of low-intensity psychosocial intervention.

Compared with placebo, 380mg naltrexone reduced the number of days of heavy drinking

by 25 per cent and 190mg naltrexone by 17 per cent.

JAMA;293:1617-25

Refugees suffer more mental stress

Refugees living in western countries may be 10 times more likely than the population as a whole to suffer from serious mental disorders, a new study shows.

Researchers analysed data on 6,743 adult refugees living in seven western countries, including the UK.

Around 9 per cent of refugees suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and 5 per cent from major depression, while there was also evidence of substantial psychiatric morbidity. Five studies of childhood refugees found 11 per cent were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Lancet 2005;365:1309-14

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