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At the heart of general practice since 1960

The future of the profession lies firmly in the hands of men – a Pulse special investigation

Heavy drinking link to AF

Heavy alcohol consumption significantly increases men's risk of atrial fibrillation, a Danish study shows.

Researchers assessed alcohol intake in 16,415 men and women by questionnaire and related consumption to records of atrial fibrillation.

Men who consumed more than 35 drinks a week were at a 45 per cent increased risk of atrial fibrillation, although more moderate consumption did not increase risk.

Women's alcohol consumption was not sufficiently heavy to demonstrate an association.

Circulation 2005;112:1736-42

Success with stammering

Children with stammers can be effectively treated before reaching school age, an Australian study reports.

Researchers studied 54 children aged between three and six who stammered at least 2 per cent of their syllables.

Half received a form of treatment called the Lidcombe programme over a period of nine months, while the other half were not treated.

Levels of stammering fell by 77 per cent in those who received treatment compared with 43 per cent in controls.

BMJ 2005;331:659-61

ß-agonists and heart rate

Long-acting ß-agonists do not have adverse effects on heart rate variability, a Turkish study shows.

Researchers studied 39 asthmatic adults with no history of cardiovascular disease. They monitored heart rate variability five to 10 minutes before patients inhaled either salmeterol or formoterol and for 30 minutes after inhalation.

There was no significant difference in patients'

heart rate variability before and after they inhaled the drugs, nor any significant difference in effect between the two drugs.

Chest 2005; 128: 1136-9

Pre-eclampsia dangers

Men and women born after a pregnancy

complicated with pre-eclampsia are at increased risk of having, or fathering, a pre-eclamptic pregnancy themselves.

Norwegian researchers studied data from the medical birth registry of Norway, looking at generational links between 438,597 mother-offspring units and 286,945 father-offspring units.

Women were at a three-fold increased risk of pre-eclampsia if born after a pre-eclamptic pregnancy themselves. Men born after pre-eclamptic pregnancy were at a 90 per cent increased risk of fathering one.

BMJ 2005:Sept 16 early online publication

Wider risks with HbA1c

Levels of HbA1c are related to risk of coronary heart disease even in patients who do not have diabetes, US researchers find.

Their study assessed the relationship between HbA1c and CHD over eight to 10 years in 1,626 adults with diabetes and 1,321 adults without the disease.

Patients without diabetes with the highest HbA1c were 41 per cent more likely to develop CHD than those with the lowest, although this fell short of statistical significance. But HbA1c levels above 4.6 per cent were significantly related to CHD risk.

Archives of Internal Medicine 2005;165:1910-6

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