Latest Research

February 3, 2006

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

Exercise May Delay Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease Onset

Ann Intern Med. 2006;144:73-81 [Jan. 17, 2006]

Patients over 65 who exercised at least three times a week were significantly less likely to develop dementias (incidence rate, 13 per 1,000 person-years) than those who exercised less frequently (19.7 per person-years), report researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle researchers.

Circulation. 2006;113:374-379

Investigators at the Maine Medical Center in Portland found that the utilization rates of cardiac stress testing, cardiac catheterization and revascularization procedures nearly doubled from 1993 to 2001, but hospitalizations for acute MI remained stable. The authors suggest that the increases, "although conferring benefit for some, may expose others to risk and cost without benefit."

Radiation Therapy Improves Endometrial Cancer Survival

JAMA. 2006;295:389-397 [Jan. 25, 2006]

The largest population analysis to date shows that adjuvant radiation therapy significantly improved overall and relative survival in patients with stage I endometrial cancer (stage 1C/ grades 1, 3 and 4).

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Unlikely to Cut Cancer Risk

JAMA. 2006;295:403-415

An analysis by RAND Health investigators of 40 years of research and nearly as many studies shows that of 65 estimates of a link between omega-3 fatty acid consumption and 11 different types of cancers across 20 cohorts from seven countries, only eight were statistically significant and results of many cancers were contradictory.

Aspirin Therapy Reduces Cardiovascular Events

JAMA. 2006;295:306-313 [Jan. 18, 2006]

In a database search of prospective, randomized trials of aspirin therapy in patients without cardiovascular disease, investigators at Duke University found a 17% reduction in strokes associated with aspirin therapy in women. Among men, there was a 32% reduction in MIs. The researchers estimate that aspirin therapy for an average of 6.4 years would prevent three cardiovascular events per 1,000 women and four per 1,000 men.

Light Smoking More Dangerous for Blacks, Native Hawaiians

N Eng J Med. 2006;354:333-42 [Jan. 26, 2006]

Blacks and Native Hawaiians who smoke fewer than 20 cigarettes a day have a significantly higher risk of lung cancer than people in other racial and ethnic groups who smoke the same amount, according to researchers at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The researchers found no significant racial or ethnic differences among those who smoked more than 30 cigarettes a day. The authors suggest further research into differences in the metabolism of nicotine and tobacco carcinogens to help explain differences between populations in the susceptibility to smoking-related lung cancer.

Inhaled Saline Improves Lung Function in Cystic Fibrosis

N Engl J Med. 2006;354:229-240 and 354:241-250 [Jan. 19, 2006]

Inhaled hypertonic saline may be a safe, inexpensive and effective way to improve lung function in cystic fibrosis patients, according to studies done in Australia and the US. In both studies patients showed significantly higher forced expiratory volume (FEV1).

White Blood Cell Count Linked To Cancer Mortality Later On

Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:188-194 [Jan. 23, 2006]

Patients with a high WBC count at the time of the study were 1.73 times more likely to have died of cancer on follow-up seven years later, say researchers at the National University of Singapore. Those with a high WBC count who didn't use aspirin had a 2.4-fold increased cancer mortality risk.