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GPs most negative about NHS reforms

Statins appear to sharply decrease mortality in patients taking them at the onset of ischaemic stroke.

The US Northern Manhattan study assessed clinical progression in 650 patients who had suffered an ischaemic stroke.

Some 8.8 per cent of patients had been taking a lipid-lowering agent, in 91 per cent of cases a statin.

Just 6.3 per cent of patients on lipid-lowering agents suffered clinical worsening in hospital and 1.8 per cent died within 90 days, compared with 18.2 per cent and 10.2 per cent respectively of those not on the drugs.

Neurology 2005;65:252-8

Folate lowers alcohol cancer risk

An adequate dietary intake of folate may protect against the increased risk of breast cancer associated with alcohol consumption.

An Australian study examined 17,447 women from the UK and Australia aged 40-69 at the

time of recruitment, who were followed up until December 31, 2003.

Women who consumed 40g/day of alcohol but only 200µg/day of folate had a doubled risk of breast cancer, whereas in women with the same alcohol consumption but an intake of 400µg/day of folate, there was no increase in breast cancer risk.

BMJ 2005 August 8 early online publication

CBT cuts repeated suicide attempts

Cognitive behaviour therapy is an effective method for preventing further suicide attempts in adults who have recently attempted


Researchers carried out a randomised controlled trial of 120 participants to determine the effectiveness of a 10-session cognitive behaviour therapy intervention designed to prevent repeat suicide attempts.

Participants in the cognitive therapy group were 50 per cent less likely to reattempt suicide then participants in the usual care group.

Their self-reported severity of depression

was also significantly lower at six, 12 and 18 months.

JAMA 2005;294:563-70

Obesity link to oesophageal disease

Obesity appears to significantly increase the

risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease,

erosive oesophagitis and oesophageal adenocarcinoma.

The risk for these disorders seems to be positively correlated with weight.

Researchers analysed nine studies

examining the association of body mass index with oesophageal disease, six of which found statistically significant associations.

The risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease was increased by 43 per cent in people with a BMI of 25 to 30 and 94 per cent in those with a BMI of over 30.

Annals of Internal Medicine 2005;143:199-211

Fine combing better than lice lotion

Fine-combing wet hair is more effective than lotions for the treatment of head lice, a UK study suggests.

Researchers found the cure rate achieved by fine combing was four times as great as with over-the-counter pediculicides.

Their study randomised 56 children aged two to 15 to fine combing using a kit called Bug Buster and 70 to treatment with an organophosphate or pyrethroid pediculicide.

Some 57 per cent of children were free of head lice two-four days after the end of Bug Buster treatment, compared with only 13 per cent a similar period after completing a course of pediculicide.

BMJ August 5 early online publication

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