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Statins cost-effective in many more patients

Risk of fracture varies with race

The risk of fracture in women with low bone mineral density appears to vary by race, a US study reveals. The prospective cohort study examined fracture risk in 7,334 white women and 636 black women.

A one standard deviation decrease in femoral neck bone mineral density was associated with a 49 per cent increase in fracture risk in white women and a 37 per cent increase in black women.

The differential effect of low bone mineral density was independent of other risk factors and may necessitate race-specific definitions of osteoporosis, the researchers said.

JAMA 2005;293(17):2102-218o

Combined HRT worst for DVT risk

Women using combined HRT may be at higher risk of developing deep vein thrombosis than those using oestrogen-only therapy, a Canadian study suggests.

Researchers studied 1,168 postmenopausal women with suspected DVT and identified 95 cases of idiopathic DVT and 610 controls without DVT or DVT risk factors.

Combined HRT more than doubled risk of DVT, while oestrogen-only HRT was associated with a non-statistically significant 22 per cent increase in risk.

Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis 2005;3:943-948

Vaccines not linked to hay fever

The DTP and MMR vaccines do not increase the risk of hay fever, a large-scale study of UK primary care records concludes.

Researchers studied 7,098 children born between 1989 and 1993, comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

Children immunised with DTP and MMR were at a similar risk of hay fever to those who remained unvaccinated.

Delays in vaccination appeared to reduce hay fever risk, but the researchers suggested illnesses that caused delays in vaccination could also protect against atopy.

Archives of Disease in Childhood 2005;90:567-573

Statin slows Alzheimer progression

Atorvastatin could slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, a new South African study suggests.

Researchers randomised 67 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease to 80mg atorvastatin daily or placebo. They assessed the rate of cognitive decline using the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale (cognitive subscale) and the Clinical Global Impression of Change Scale. Patients taking atorvastatin showed significant improvement in the assessment scale after six months and the global impression scale after 12 months.

Archives of Neurology 2005;62:753-757

Obesity may cause atrial fibrillation

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of atrial fibrillation, a Danish study finds.

Researchers followed 47,589 patients, none of whom had cancer or had been hospitalised for obesity, diabetes or cardiovascular disease, for 5.7 years. They identified 553 cases of hospital-diagnosed atrial fibrillation or flutter.

Overweight men were 75 per cent more likely than those of normal weight to develop atrial fibrillation and women 39 per cent more likely. Obesity doubled the risk of atrial fibrillation or flutter in men and women.

American Journal of Medicine 2005;118:

489-495

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