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More pressure on vaccine uptake

CBT effective in chronic fatigue

Cognitive behaviour therapy seems to be effective for chronic fatigue syndrome in adolescents. Dutch researchers conducted a randomised controlled trial of 71 chronic fatigue sufferers, comparing the effectiveness of five months of cognitive behaviour therapy with an equivalent period on a waiting list.

Fatigue severity fell from 53 to 30 in the intervention group but from 52 to 44 in the waiting list controls. The percentage attending school increased from 46 to 75 among those undergoing therapy and from 56 to 67 in controls.

BMJ 2005; early online publication

Faecal DNA spots more colorectal Ca

Faecal DNA testing may be a more effective way to detect colorectal cancers than faecal occult blood testing. US researchers conducted DNA tests, the haemoccult II test and colonoscopy in 4,404 asymptomatic subjects aged 50 or older.

The DNA test picked up 16 out of 31 invasive cancers compared with only four of 31 by haemoccult II, and 29 of 71 adenomas with high-grade dysplasia compared with 10 of 71. The DNA test also seemed to be more sensitive for detecting early-stage cancers.

New England Journal of Medicine 2004; 351: 2704-14

Exercise prevents type 2 diabetes

Exercise could prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in high-risk individuals. Of 487 people with impaired glucose tolerance participating in the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study, 107 cases of diabetes occurred during the 4.1-year follow-up period.

Individuals who most increased moderate to vigorous leisure-time physical activity or strenuous, structured leisure-time physical activity were 63-65 per cent less likely to develop diabetes than those who did not.

Diabetes 2005, 54:158-165

Starch linked to prostate cancer

A high-starch diet may increase men's risk of developing prostate cancer. An Italian study analysed dietary records from 1,294 men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1991 and 2002 and 1,451 controls.

Men who ingested more than 1.4g a day of starch were more than one-and-a-half times more likely to develop prostate cancer than those with low starch intakes. But there was an inverse relationship between prostate cancer risk and intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Annals of Oncology 2005; 16: 152-57

Acupuncture effective in knee OA

Acupuncture is an effective therapy in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, a US National Institutes of Health randomised controlled trial reports.

Patients who received a 26-week course of acupuncture alongside standard therapy showed a 40 per cent decrease in pain and almost 40 per cent improvement in knee function compared with patients who received self-help guidance or 'sham acupuncture'.

After eight weeks patients on acupuncture showed improvements in function. Pain levels fell after 14 weeks.

Annals of Internal Medicine 2004; 141: 901-910

Black hypertension 'not genetic'

Differences in incidence of hypertension between black and white populations are likely to be the result of lifestyle factors, not genetics, a new study suggests.

A US team analysed standardised surveys of blood pressure from black populations in the US, Jamaica and Nigeria and white populations in the US, Canada and Europe.

In populations of African origin, incidence of hypertension ranged from 14 to 44 per cent, compared with 27 to 55 per cent in white populations. The incidence of hypertension in black populations increased with the transition to an industrialised lifestyle.

BMC Medicine, 2005, 3:1

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