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A new study found that men with high blood pressure can have one or two drinks a day without increasing risk for heart attack or stroke (Article, p. 10). It is known that moderate consumption of alcohol lowers risk of heart disease. But, since alcohol can increase blood pressure, would the same be true for men who have high blood pressure, itself a risk factor for heart disease? The prospective cohort study of nearly 12,000 men with hypertension found that men who drank moderately had reduced risk of heart attacks. Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as one to two drinks a day. A glass of beer, a glass of wine or a shot of liquor count as one drink. Note: This article is the subject of a video news release. Call for coordinates.
An accompanying editorial discusses measurement error in nutritional epidemiology studies (Editorial, p. 65). Current limitations of procedures and reference instruments mean that “we cannot assume that corrected estimates of diet-disease associations in any single study are definitive.”
In a three-year study, 728 older men and women with high blood homocysteine levels and no hearing loss were given either daily oral folic acid or a placebo supplement (Article p. 1.) Daily folic acid supplementation slowed decline in hearing of low frequencies by 0.7dB after three years. Folic acid did not affect hearing thresholds of the high frequencies. However, the participants lived in the Netherlands, which at the time did not allow folic acid fortification of food, so participants’ baseline folate levels were about half those found in the U.S. population. Authors say, “Considering that the folate status of older adults is generally low in countries without folic acid fortification programs, our findings suggest a possible way to diminish the public health burden of hearing loss in those countries.” (An accompanying editorial begins on page 63.)
“In the Clinic” will appear in the first issue each month and will focus on a single, common clinical condition relevant to internal medicine practice (Editorial, p. 70). The first topic will be Type 2 diabetes. Material will be drawn from American College of Physicians (ACP) content such as PIER (Physicians’ Information and Education Resource), designed to provide clinical information at the point of care; MKSAP (Medical Knowledge Self-Assessment Program); and outside resources, such as practice guidelines and accepted quality-of-care measures. The new section is funded solely by the American College of Physicians.