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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs gauge drinking by own habits

GP ultrasound means shorter wait

Diagnostic ultrasound services in primary care are associated with shorter waiting times than services provided by NHS trusts, a UK study has suggested.

The survey of 393 patients found the mean weight for an ultrasound appointment in primary care was 17.44 days compared with 44.53 days for secondary care.

Access to secondary care after an abnormal scan was no different between the two


Journal of Public Health 2005;

27: 176-81

High risk in elderly with anticoagulants

The incidence of bleeding and thromboembolic events increases sharply with age in patients

on oral anticoagulation therapy, according to

a Netherlands study.

The study of 4,202 patients treated at an anticoagulation clinic found the incidence

rate of major haemorrhage increased from

1.5 per 100 patient-years in those younger than 60 to 4.2 per 100 patient-years in those older than 80.

The incidence of major thromboembolism rose from 1.0 per 100 patient-years for

patients younger than 60 years to 2.4 per

100 patient-years for patients older than


Archives of Internal Medicine 2005;

165: 1527-32

Statins do not reduce dementia risk

Statin use is not associated with a reduced risk of dementia, results from a US study have suggested.

The cohort study followed 2,798 patients

over the age of 65 who were enrolled in the Cardiovascular Health Study between 1991 and 1994.

Patients on statins had no reduction in their risk of developing dementia from any cause, including Alzheimer's disease, compared with those who had never used statins.

The study contradicts earlier research suggesting statins may protect against dementia.

Archives of Neurology 2005;

62: 873-82

Warning of severe asthma attacks

Patients with asthma who have multiple exacerbations ­ more than two a year ­ are at increased risk of a severe asthma attack, despite more intensive anti-inflammatory treatment, according to a Japanese study.

Asthma-related hospitalisations ran at 71.9 per cent in patients with multiple exacerbations compared with 23.4 per cent in asthma patients who only had one exacerbation.

Asthma patients with multiple exacerbations were also more likely to have persistent irreversible airflow limitation and NSAID intolerance.

Respiratory Medicine, published online

July 5, 2005

Patients prefer direct access

Patients prefer direct access to health care providers to the traditional model where GPs

act as gatekeepers, according to a European survey.

The survey, which included interviews with patients from the UK, found countries with more providers directly accessible to patients showed higher patient satisfaction.

Under a gatekeeping system, patients reported GPs had less incentive to please the patients than in a direct access model where specialists competed for patients with other providers.

Health Policy, published online

June 30, 2005

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