Latest Research

April 7, 2006

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

Avian Flu Vaccine Shows Positive Immune ResponseN Engl J Med. 2006;354:1343-51 [March 30, 2006]

A new vaccine against the H5N1 influenza virus caused no severe side effects in an early safety trial and stimulated neutralizing antibody production in over half of subjects receiving the highest doses, according to a report by researchers at the University of Rochester (NY) Medical Center.

No Clear Benefit of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Heart, MortalityBMJ. 2006 [Published online, March 24, 2006]

Most Often Cited Research Increasingly Industry FundedBMJ. 2006 [Published online, March 17, 2006]

The proportion of most often cited articles funded by industry has increased over time, say Greek investigators, equaling the proportion funded by government or public sources by 2001, with 65 of the 77 most often cited randomized trials receiving industry funding.

Atkins Diet Associated with Severe KetoacidosisLancet. 2006;367:958 [March 18, 2006]

As the Atkins Diet gains popularity worldwide, clinicians at the New York School of Medicine in New York City reported on a 40-year-old obese woman who strictly adhered to the Atkins diet for one month and ended up developing ketoacidosis and required hospitalization in the intensive care unit. Initial symptoms included shortness of breath, decreased appetite, and nausea and vomiting four to six times daily.

Smokers, Drinkers Get Colon Cancer Earlier Than OthersArch of Intern Med. 2006;166:629-634 [March 27, 2006]

Men who actively drink and smoke tend to develop colorectal cancer (CRC) almost eight years earlier than men who don't, and 1.9 years earlier than women who do, according to study findings from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. The researchers found that the onset of CRC in men who actively drink, smoke, or both smoke and drink occurs 5.2, 5.2 and 7.8 years earlier, respectively, than in those who don't. CRC surfaced 1.9 years earlier in men than women. Smoking, not drinking, had a greater effect on women.

Women Have Same Benefit from Low-Dose Aspirin as MenJAMA. 2006;295:1420-1427 [March 22/29, 2006]

Although clinical trials have suggested that aspirin may have lower cardioprotective effects in women than men, researchers at Johns Hopkins report that low-dose aspirin therapy produces a similar or greater reduction in platelet reactivity in women as it does in men, with a complete suppression of platelet aggregation in the direct COX-1 pathway.

Five Weeks Postpartum, Fatigue Still CommonAnn Fam Med. 2006;4:159-167 [March/April, 2006]

Five weeks after giving birth, employed women report persistent symptoms ranging from fatigue (64 percent) and breast discomfort (60 percent) to diminished interest in sex (52 percent), and such symptoms are more common in women who are breastfeeding or who have had a Caesarean, say researchers at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Risk of Knee Defects Higher in FemalesArch Intern Med. 2006;166:651-658 [March 27, 2006]

Women, as well as older and overweight people, are at higher risk of knee cartilage defects that may be a sign of early osteoarthritis, Australian researchers report.

Beta-Carotene May Protect Against Lung-Function DeclineThorax. 2006;61:320-326 [March 23, 2006]

Beta-carotene may protect against lung-function decline in the general population, and beta-carotene and vitamin E may be similarly protective in heavy smokers, according to French researchers who examined 1,194 subjects aged 20 to 44 in 1992, and followed up 864 subjects in 2000. The researchers found that the mean annual decrease in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) was 29.8 mL/year. The drop off was significantly slower in those in whom levels of beta-carotene were highest at baseline and in those in whom levels had increased between the two sample years. The steepest declines in FEV1 of more than 52 mL/year were seen in those smoking a pack or more of cigarettes a day who had low blood levels of beta-carotene and vitamin E.

Prepared jointly by the editors of Medical Economics and HealthDay's Physicians' Briefing ( http://www.physiciansbriefing.com).