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Ca linked to child passive smoking

Passive smoking in childhood may increase the risk of developing lung cancer in later life, according to European researchers.

The prospective cohort study asked 123,479 non-smokers aged 35-74 about their exposure to smoke during childhood. During seven years of follow-up, 97 people developed lung cancer.

Participants who had been exposed to tobacco smoke as children were more than three times as likely to develop lung cancer as those unexposed. There was a significant positive correlation between the extent of smoke exposure and the size of the increased risk.

BMJ 2005 early online publication January 28

Sibling contact cuts MS risk

Children who have contact with infant siblings up to the age of six have less risk of developing multiple sclerosis than those without contact, an Australian study finds.

Researchers conducted a case-control study in Tasmania based on 136 confirmed cases of MS and 272 community controls.

Exposure to a younger sibling for one to three infant-years reduced the risk of MS by 43 per cent, and exposure for three to five infant-years reduced risk by 60 per cent.

The researchers said the effect could be caused by altered patterns of infection and immune response.

JAMA 2005; 293:463-469

Fibre can reduce blood pressure

Intake of dietary fibre could reduce the incidence of hypertension, a study suggests. Dutch researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 24 randomised, placebo-controlled trials on the effect of fibre supplements on blood pressure.

Fibre supplementation at an average dose of 11.5g per day lowered systolic blood pressure by 1.13mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.26mmHg. The fall in systolic blood pressure remained after multivariate analysis. Falls in blood pressure tended to be greatest in people over 40.

Archives of Internal Medicine

2005;165:150-156

PPIs don't affect ulcer mortality

Treating ulcer bleeding with proton pump inhibitors reduces rebleeding and the need for surgery but has no effect on overall mortality, a study finds.

Researchers from the UK and US undertook a meta-analysis of 21 randomised controlled trials comprising 2,915 patients.

Proton pump inhibitors reduced rebleeding rates by 54 per cent and the need for surgical intervention by 41 per cent, but overall mortality remained the same. The results held true when the analysis was restricted to the 10 trials of highest methodological quality.

BMJ 2005 early online publication January 31

Limit testing to 10 HPV types

Screening for more than around 10 types of human papillomavirus appears to decrease specificity without increasing sensitivity.

A US team analysed data from two prospective trials involving 6,223 and 3,363 women in order to explore the trade-off when testing for up to 40 types of HPV.

In the first study, sensitivity increased for the first 13 types tested, to a high of 90 per cent, but did not improve with further testing. In the second study, sensitivity increased for the first seven types tested, reaching 81 per cent. Specificity declined with additional HPV testing.

Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2005;97:147-50

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