Child abuse: speak up without fear
Bronchial infections risk in COPD
Bronchial infection significantly increases the risk of exacerbations in COPD, according to a Spanish study. Researchers studied 337 people, 181 of whom had stable COPD and 86 exacerbated COPD, while the rest were healthy. They analysed bronchial secretions for presence of potentially pathogenic bacteria.
Infections were detected in 54 per cent of patients with exacerbated COPD and 29 per cent of those with stable COPD, with Haemophilus influenzae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa both common. Patients with high microbial loads were at over three-fold risk of exacerbation.
Archives of Internal Medicine
Day care can cut risk of leukaemia
Attending day care in the first year of life could reduce a child's risk of leukaemia, a UK study finds. Researchers conducted a case-control study of 3,140 children with cancer, including 1,286 with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, and 6,305 controls.
They used day care and social activity as proxies for potential exposure to infection. Social activity and day care attendance both reduced the risk of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. The greatest effect was in infants who attended day care regularly in the first three months of life, who had a 52 per cent reduction in risk.
BMJ 2005 April 22 early online publication
Respiratory drugs up cardiac risks
Oral steroids and theophylline are the respiratory drugs most likely to increase the risk of cardiac arrhythmias, a new study suggests.
Spanish researchers used data from the UK general practice research database in a case-control study of 710 patients with a rhythm disorder and 5,000 matched controls.
Short-term use of oral steroids increased the risk of atrial fibrillation 2.7-fold. Short-term use of theophylline increased the risk of atrial fibrillation 1.8-fold and the risk of supraventricular tachycardia four-fold. Long-term use of oral steroids increased the risk of supraventricular tachycardia 2.1-fold.
Epidemiology 2005, 16(3): 360-366
Folate reduces risk of prostate Ca
Dietary folate may protect men from prostate cancer, a new study suggests. Italian researchers analysed food-frequency questionnaires completed by 1,291 patients diagnosed with prostate cancer and 1,451 patients admitted to hospital with non-neoplastic diseases.
Men with the highest consumption of folate were 34 per cent less likely than those with the lowest consumption to develop prostate cancer. Men with high intake of folate and low alcohol consumption were at 54 per cent lower risk than those with low folate and high alcohol consumption.
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention 2005;14:944-948
Lifestyle curbs metabolic syndrome
Lifestyle intervention and metformin each reduce the development of the metabolic syndrome, a new study shows.
US researchers randomised 3,234 patients with impaired glucose tolerance to treatment with placebo, intensive lifestyle modification or metformin. They followed up the patients for three years for presence of the metabolic syndrome. In life-table analyses, incidence of the metabolic syndrome fell by 41 per cent in the lifestyle group and 17 per cent in the metformin group, compared with placebo.
Annals of Internal Medicine
2005, 142(8): 611-619