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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs on spot in terror blast

Vitamin E supplements are of little benefit for preventing cardiovascular events or cancer, a major preventive trial concludes.

The Women's Health study found 600 IU of natural-source vitamin E daily had no effect on cardiovascular events, cancer or total mortality.

The only apparent effect of vitamin E was a significant 24 per cent reduction in cardiovascular deaths.

The researchers, whose work appeared in JAMA this week, said the data did not support recommending vitamin E to prevent CVD or cancer in healthy women.

A second JAMA paper on the Women's Health study found 100mg of aspirin every other day did not lower the risk of total cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer or other site-specific cancers.

The researchers did find a suggestion of a protective effect in lung cancer.

Dr Nancy Cook, a Women's Health study researcher at Harvard Medical School's division of preventive medicine, said: 'For aspirin and cancer, the results are somewhat surprising, given the estimated protective effect seen in observational studies. These results suggest low-dose aspirin should not be recommended for cancer prevention.'

In the study, 39,876 healthy women aged 45 and over were randomly assigned to receive vitamin E or placebo, and aspirin or placebo.

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