Latest Research

February 17, 2006

A summary of the "must-read" articles from the journals in that pile on your desk.

ECG Abnormalities Predict Heart Disease in WomenCirculation. 2006;113:473-480

The strongest predictors of coronary heart disease events in postmenopausal women, say researchers at Wake Forest University, were wide QRS/T angle (hazard ratio 1.90) and ECG-demonstrated myocardial infarction, or ECG-MI, (1.62); prolonged QT was also a strong predictor. The strongest predictors of mortality were wide QRS/T angle (2.70), ECG-MI (2.41), and high QRS nondipolar voltage (2.18).

Renal Function Predicts Heart Failure OutcomeCirculation. 2006;113:671-678 [Feb. 7, 2006]

Intensive Insulin Therapy Cuts Morbidity in ICUN Engl J Med. 2006;354:449-461 [Feb. 2, 2006]

Belgian researchers found that intensive insulin therapy (80-110 mg/dL) lowered blood glucose levels of patients in a medical ICU and significantly reduced morbidity, including new injuries to the kidneys. It did not effect in-hospital mortality, except in those in the ICU for three or more days.

Saw Palmetto Ineffective For Benign Prostatic HyperplasiaN Engl J Med. 2006;354:557-566 [Feb. 9, 2006]

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found no significant difference between the herb saw palmetto and placebo when evaluating changes in scores on the American Urological Association Symptom Index (AUASI), maximal urinary flow rate, prostate size, residual urinary volume after voiding, quality of life, or serum prostate-specific antigen levels.

SSRI Use in Late Pregnancy May Place Infants at RiskN Engl J Med. 2006;354:579-87 [Feb. 9, 2006]

Women who take selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) after the 20th week of gestation may have an increased risk of giving birth to an infant with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), according to researchers at the University of California, San Diego. They found no association between an increased risk of PPHN and the use of SSRIs earlier in pregnancy, nor non-SSRI antidepressant drugs at any time during pregnancy.

Stem-Cell Transplant May Help Lupus PatientsJAMA. 2006;295:527-535 [Feb. 1, 2006]

High-dose cyclophosphamide followed by autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) can significantly improve symptoms of treatment-refractory systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), although the treatment carries a high risk of infection, say researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Low-Fat Diet Does Not Notably Cut Heart DiseaseJAMA. 2006;295:655-666 [Feb. 8, 2006]

A low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables does not significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke or cardiovascular disease (CVD) in postmenopausal women, say Maryland investigators studying data over 8.1 years from the Women's Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial. Of those who reduced total fat intake and increased intakes of vegetables, fruits, and grains, 0.63 percent developed CHD, 0.28 percent developed stroke, and 0.86 percent developed CVD. In the comparison group, 0.65 percent developed CHD, 0.27 percent developed stroke, and 0.88 percent developed CVD.

Low-Fat Diet Doesn't Cut Breast Cancer Risk, EitherJAMA. 2006;295:629-642 and 643-654 [Feb. 8, 2006]

Two groups of investigators in Seattle analyzed data for another group of postmenopausal women and found that a low-fat, high-fiber diet does not reduce the risk of invasive breast cancer or of colorectal cancer.