Latest Research

January 20, 2006

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

Prostate Screening Does Not Reduce MortalityArch Intern Med. 2006;166:38-43 [Jan. 9, 2006]

Screening healthy men for prostate cancer is not effective in reducing mortality and guidelines should not endorse routine screening as a way to reduce mortality in asymptomatic men, say investigators from the Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System. After examining data from 71,661 men, they found that having had the prostate-specific antigen test either alone or in combination with a digital rectal examination was not associated with a reduction in mortality.

Fish Oil Supplements May Help Exercise-Induced AsthmaCHEST. 2006;129:39-49 [Jan. 2006]

Combination Drug Therapy Prevents ICD ShocksJAMA. 2006;295:165-171 [Jan. 11, 2006]

Amiodarone in combination with a beta-blocker effectively prevents shocks that can occur from an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, according to a study of 412 patients in six countries. The risk of shock in the amiodarone plus beta-blocker group was 73% lower compared to the beta-blocker alone group, and 57% lower compared to the sotalol alone group.

Midlife Obesity Increases Later Risk of Heart Disease, DiabetesJAMA. 2006;295:190-198 [Jan. 11, 2006]

Obesity in midlife, even in the absence of other risk factors, increases the risk for hospitalization or death from coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease or diabetes after age 65, according to researchers at Northwestern University.

Statins Have Neutral Effect on Cancer RiskJAMA. 2006;295:74-80 [Jan. 4, 2006]

Statin use does not reduce the risk of any type of cancer or affect cancer-related mortality, according to a meta-analysis of 26 studies involving nearly 87,000 subjects conducted by investigators at the University of Connecticut.

Travel to Developing Regions Linked to Specific DiseasesN Engl J Med. 2006;354:119-30 [Jan. 12, 2006]

The likelihood of contracting certain diseases in some travel destinations could guide diagnostic and therapeutic choices, according to investigators at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who found significant regional differences in morbidity in 16 out of 21 broad disease categories. For instance, malaria was among the most frequent causes of systemic febrile illness among travelers from every region, but travelers from all regions except sub-Saharan Africa and Central America had confirmed or probable dengue more frequently than malaria.

Maternal Vitamin D Linked to Child's Bone Mass Later OnLancet. 2006;367:36-43 [Jan. 7, 2006]

Supplementing pregnant women's diets with vitamin D could yield long-lasting reductions in osteoporotic fractures in their children, according to researchers in the U K., who measured vitamin D status in pregnant women and followed up with their children. They found that vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy is associated with reduced whole-body and lumbar-spine bone-mineral content in children at age 9.

Regular Walking Linked to Slower PAD Functional DeclineAnn Intern Med. 2006;144:10-20 [Jan. 3, 2006]

Among people with peripheral arterial disease, a self-directed walking program three times a week is associated with significantly less functional decline in the subsequent year, say researchers at Northwestern University. They caution that since theirs is a small observational study, a causal relationship can't be drawn between exercise and PAD outcome.

Medication Adherence Suboptimal in Heart PatientsCirculation. 2006;113 [Jan. 17, 2006]