Sport product claims lack evidence
RESEARCH cited by companies to back claims of enhanced performance and recovery for a wide range of sports products such as drinks, supplements, clothing and footwear is not of sufficient quality to inform the public, according to a systematic assessment of company websites and advertising. published in the BMJ Open. The researchers found half of all websites for these products provided no evidence for their claims, and of those that did, half of the evidence was not suitable for critical appraisal. They said the multibillion dollar sports products industry needed to improve the quality and reporting of the research on its products, and suggested a move towards using evidence from systematic reviews to inform the public.

Little impact from breast screening
SCREENING has had little to no impact on declining mortality from breast cancer in Sweden, according to research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The researchers studied the time trends of breast cancer mortality in women aged 40 years and older based on the year in which breast cancer screening started. Gradual phasing in of screening in the various counties in Sweden provided a good basis for comparison. Breast cancer mortality rates declined by 0.98% from 1972 to 2009, but the decrease was similar regardless of when screening was introduced. They said the Swedish breast cancer mortality statistics were consistent with studies elsewhere showing limited or no impact of screening on mortality from breast cancer.

Public reporting downs C. difficile
MANDATORY public reporting by hospitals of Clostridium difficile infection rates has been associated with a big fall in infection rates in Canada, according to a study published in PLoS Medicine. The researchers found that public reporting was associated with a 26.7% reduction in C. difficile cases. They said future research was required to discern the direct mechanism by which this occurred. The effect was specific to C. difficile, with rates of community-acquired gastrointestinal infections and urinary tract infections unchanged.

Job stress boosts CVD risk in women
WOMEN with high strain and active jobs are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) according to a 10-year prospective study published in PLoS One. The researchers examined the relationship between job strain, job insecurity and incident CVD among 22 086 health care professionals participating in the US-based Women’s Health Study. Both job strain and job insecurity were significantly related to CVD risk factors. The authors concluded that given the increase in the number of women in the workforce, the data emphasised the importance of addressing job strain in CVD prevention efforts among working women.

New biomarkers for Alzheimer’s
AUSTRALIAN researchers have identified new plasma biomarkers for the diagnosis of Alzheimer disease. The study, published in the Archives of Neurology, included 207 participants with Alzheimer disease from the Australian Imaging Biomarker and Lifestyle study. It identified an 18-biomarker signature panel that distinguished individuals with Alzheimer disease from cognitively healthy control subjects “with high sensitivity and specificity”. “We showed that including demographic and clinical information (educational level and BMI) together with these blood-based biomarkers and adjusting for age, sex, and APOE genotype strengthens the accuracy of disease prediction”, the researchers said.

Posted 23 July 2012

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