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Vegetables reduce cholesterol

A diet high in vegetables and legumes can reduce cholesterol irrespective of fat content, a US study reveals.

Researchers randomised 120 patients aged 30 to 65 to a low-fat diet high in vegetables and legumes or a conventional low-fat diet identical in fat content.

Over four weeks of dieting, total cholesterol fell by an average of 0.46mmol/l in the intervention diet but only 0.24mmol/l in controls.

LDL cholesterol levels also fell significantly further in the intervention group.

Annals of Internal Medicine 2005;

142:725-733

Statin cuts CV events in diabetes

Atorvastatin can significantly reduce cardiovascular events in patients with diabetes who do not have a history of coronary heart disease or elevated cholesterol.

UK researchers analysed data on 2,532 patients with type 2 diabetes from the lipid-lowering arm of the ASCOT trial.

Some 9.2 per cent of patients taking atorvastatin suffered a major

cardiovascular event compared with 11.9 per cent of controls.

There were separate reductions in risk of stroke and coronary events, but these fell short of statistical significance.

Diabetes Care 2005;28:1151-1157

Test for NO diagnoses asthma

Measurement of exhaled nitric oxide is a rapid and effective diagnostic test for asthma, a new study reports.

Israeli researchers tested exhaled nitric oxide in 40 patients who had asthma and 45 who did not, with seven parts per billion used as the cut-off for a positive test.

Measuring exhaled nitric oxide identified asthmatic patients with a sensitivity of 82.5 per cent and a specificity of 88.9 per cent.

Results were comparable with conventional bronchial provocation tests using exercise, methacholine and adenosine-5'-monophosphate.

Thorax 2005;60:383-388

CHD patients at gallstone risk

Patients with coronary heart disease appear to be at increased risk of gallstone disease, according to Mexican researchers.

Their case-control study matched 119 patients who had gallstones visible by ultrasound with 354 controls.

The prevalence of CHD was 16 per cent among patients with gallstones but only 4.5 per cent among controls.

Obesity, high waist circumference and

high blood pressure were all related to gallstone risk.

American Journal of Gastroenterology 2005; 100:827-80

Obesity increases dementia risk

People who are overweight or obese in middle age are at significantly increased risk of dementia, new research reveals.

The US prospective cohort study followed up 10,276 men and women who underwent detailed health evaluations between 1964 and 1973 when aged 40-45.

In patients who had been obese in middle age, the risk of dementia was increased by

74 per cent.

In overweight patients, risk was increased by 35 per cent.

BMJ 2005 April 29 early online publication

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