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Exercise cuts dementia

Exercising in mid-life appears to reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Swedish researchers followed up 1,449 people who had previously been surveyed on their physical activity in 1972, 1977, 1982 or 1987.

People who exercised at least twice a week in mid-life were at a 52 per cent reduced risk of dementia and a 62 per cent reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Lancet Neurology 4 October 2005 early online publication

Cutting down curbs risk

Smokers who cut down but do not stop, significantly reduce their risk of lung cancer, new research shows.

The Danish population-based cohort study followed up 11,151 men and 8,563 women, aged 20 to 93, who were twice physically examined and surveyed over lifestyle between 1964 and 1988.

Those smoking more than 15 cigarettes per day reduced their risk of lung cancer by 27 per cent when they cut down by half, relative to those who continued to smoke heavily.

JAMA 2005;28:1505-10

Paroxetine for hot flushes

Paroxetine is an effective treatment for hot flushes in women with or without prior breast cancer, a US crossover study concludes.

Researchers randomised 151 women suffering at least two hot flushes a day for a month or longer to paroxetine 10mg or 20mg for four weeks followed by placebo for four weeks, or vice versa.

Hot flush frequency fell by 40.6 per cent with paroxetine 10mg and 51.7 per cent with paroxetine 20mg, but by just 13.7 per cent with placebo.

Discontinuation rates were higher with high-dose paroxetine than low-dose.

Journal of Clinical Oncology 2005;23:6919-30

Less MS among COC users

Women who use oral contraceptives are at reduced risk of multiple sclerosis, a study reports.

US researchers analysed records of 106 patients with MS and 1,001 controls taken from the UK general practice research database.

The incidence of MS was 40 per cent lower in women who had used oral contraceptives in the previous three years than in non-users. But the risk of MS increased almost three-fold in the six months following pregnancy.

Archives of Neurology 2005;62:1362-5

NSAIDs and smokers

Long-term use of NSAIDs significantly reduces the risk of oral cancer in current or former smokers but increases deaths from heart disease, a new study finds.

Norwegian researchers compared medication use in 454 heavy smokers with oral cancer and 454 controls who also smoked heavily but did not have the disease.

Among long-term users of NSAIDs, risk of oral cancer was reduced by 53 per cent – the equivalent to quitting smoking.

But overall survival did not increase, as NSAID use more than doubled the risk of cardiovascular death.

The Lancet 7 October 2005 early online publication

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