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GPs must not excise melanoma

Epilepsy link with psychotic illness

Patients with epilepsy are at a strongly increased risk of schizophrenia and similar psychotic illnesses, a Danish study reports.

Researchers analysed the association between epilepsy and schizophrenia in a cohort of 2.27 million people on Danish longitudinal registers.

People with a history of epilepsy were at a 2.48-fold increased risk of schizophrenia and 2.93-fold increased risk of schizophrenia-like psychosis.

The effect of epilepsy was the same in men and women and increased with age.

BMJ 2005 June 17 early online publication

Vitamin D and calcium ease PMS

A high intake of vitamin D and calcium may reduce the risk of premenstrual syndrome.

US researchers conducted a case-control study in women aged 27 to 44, including 1,057 who developed PMS over 10 years of follow-up and 1,968 who did not. Intake of vitamin D and calcium was measured in 1991, 1995 and 1999 by food frequency questionnaire.

Women in the highest quintile for vitamin D intake were 41 per cent less likely to develop PMS than those in the lowest quintile.

Those with a high intake of calcium were at 30 per cent lower risk of PMS than low calcium consumers.

Archives of Internal Medicine

2005;165:1246-1252

H. pylori linked to atrial fibrillation

There is a highly significant relationship between infection with Helicobacter pylori and development of atrial fibrillation, according to Italian research.

The case-control study included 59 consecutive patients with paroxysmal or persistent atrial fibrillation and 45 healthy controls.

The level of H. pylori antibodies averaged 97.2IU/ml in patients with atrial fibrillation but only 5.3IU/ml in controls. Levels of C-reactive protein were eight times higher in atrial fibrillation patients than controls.

Levels of H. pylori antibodies were significantly higher in paroxysmal than persistent atrial fibrillation.

Heart 2005;91:960-961

Flu vaccine protects against stroke

Influenza vaccination may protect against stroke, particularly in elderly men.

A German study analysed the frequency of flu vaccination in 370 patients who had suffered a stroke or transient ischaemic attack and 370 matched controls.

Just 19.2 per cent of stroke patients had recently received the flu vaccine, compared with 31.4 per cent of controls.

Statistical analysis confirmed that flu vaccination reduced the risk of stroke, with its effects particularly strong in men, people over the age of 65 and those with previous vascular diseases.

Stroke 2005 early online publication

Orlistat useful in obese adolescents

Orlistat can help promote weight loss in obese adolescents, a joint US/Canadian study concludes.

Researchers compared 539 patients aged

12-16 treated with 120mg orlistat three times daily for a year and 182 patients who were given a placebo over the same period.

Over the study, 26.5 per cent of patients taking orlistat had a 5 per cent or greater decrease in BMI, compared with 15.7 per cent of those on placebo. Waist circumference decreased by 1.33cm with orlistat but increased by 0.12cm with placebo.

JAMA 2005;293:2873-2883

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