Organic food not more nutritious
ORGANIC and conventional foods do not differ significantly in nutritional value, a systematic review published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has found. However, consumption of organic fruits and vegetables may reduce exposure to pesticide residues, but the differences in the risk of exceeding maximum allowed limits were small, the authors wrote. They found Escherichia coli contamination risk did not differ between organic and conventional produce, but the risk of exposure to bacteria resistant to three or more antibiotics was higher in conventional than in organic chicken and pork.
Hypertension causing heart failure in Africa
HYPERTENSION is emerging as a risk factor for heart failure in Africa, according to an article in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The authors said the Sub-Saharan Africa Survey of Heart Failure showed hypertension had emerged as the most common cause of heart failure, without severely reduced systolic function (average ejection fraction of 37%), in a cohort of people in the fifth to sixth decades of life. According to the authors, this pattern of disease has striking parallels with African American patients, and the trial clearly demonstrates that the treatment of hypertension is the best strategy to prevent heart failure in sub-Saharan Africa.
No malignancy link with biological therapy for RA
THE short-term use of biological response modifiers for rheumatoid arthritis is not significantly associated with increased risk of malignancy, according to a meta-analysis of more than 60 randomised controlled trials published in JAMA. Since 2005, there have been conflicting data associating tumour necrosis factor inhibitors with an increased risk of certain types of malignancies, according to the authors. However, the pooled results showed no statistically significant increased risk of any type of cancer with use of biological response modifiers for at least 6 months, compared with traditional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or with placebo, they said. More systematic reviews of observational studies were needed to establish risk in the longer term, the authors wrote.
Longer resuscitation will save lives
LONGER efforts to resuscitate patients who have a cardiac arrest in hospital may improve survival rates, a study published in The Lancet has found. Looking at more than 60 000 resuscitation attempts in US hospitals, the researchers found that hospitals with the longest attempts (25–28 minutes) had a higher likelihood of return of spontaneous circulation and survival to discharge than those with the shortest attempts (15–17 minutes). While they could not define an optimum duration for resuscitation attempts on the basis of the observational data, the researchers concluded that efforts to systematically increase the duration of resuscitation could improve survival in this high-risk population.
Plain packs pack a punch
PLAIN cigarette packaging reduces the appeal of smoking to young people compared with branded packs, according to an online survey of more than 600 young Brazilian women published in BMC Public Health. The women, aged between 16 and 26 years, rated the branded packs as significantly more appealing. They believed the cigarettes in the packs would taste better and be smoother on the throat than cigarettes in plain packs. The women also associated branded packs with a greater number of positive attributes, including style and sophistication. The researchers concluded that plain packaging and removal of descriptors may reduce the appeal of smoking for young people, and consequently reduce smoking susceptibility. They said their findings supported plain packaging regulations, such as those passed in Australia.
Posted 10 September 2012