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5 August 2003 Annals of Internal Medicine Tip Sheet

Annals of Internal Medicine is published by the American College of Physicians, an organization of more than 115,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students. These highlights are not intended to substitute for articles as sources of information. For an embargoed fax of an article, call 1-800-523-1546, ext. 2656, or 215-351-2656.

Study of 40 Hong Kong Hospital Workers Who Acquired SARS

A study of 41 workers in a Hong Kong community hospital who were infected with SARS over a period of six weeks in 2003 found that 32 had direct contact with SARS patients (either known or unsuspected); two had contact with co-workers who subsequently developed SARS; three had contact with both patients and co-workers with SARS, and three maintenance workers had no direct patient contact. Health care assistants, who give patients personal care, had the highest crude attack rate, followed by physicians and nurses.

The initial SARS patients admitted to this community hospital were mostly assigned to general wards before SARS was confirmed. None of the hospital workers transmitted the disease to family members, primarily because once SARS was confirmed, they went into voluntary isolation. This is the first study of how SARS spreads among hospital workers. An accompanying editorial says the study provides good lessons for other hospitals and health institutions to minimize the spread of respiratory infections such as SARS.

(This early-release article is available online at at 5 p.m. EDT, Monday, August 5. It will appear in the Oct. 7, 2003, print edition of Annals.)

Many Older Men Will Suffer From Erectile Dysfunction, Study Finds

An analysis of data on 31,742 men aged 53 to 90, found finds that erectile dysfunction (ED) is common among older men and increases with age (Article, p. 161). Overall, one-third of the men reported erectile dysfunction in the previous three months. Seventy-four percent of men younger than 59 reported "good" or "very good" sexual function, but only 10 percent of men older than 80 reported good or very good sexual function. The data were collected in 2000 from a large, ongoing study of U.S. male health professionals.

But several modifiable health behaviors were associated with maintaining good erectile function, particularly physical activity and leanness. Factors associated with increased risk for ED included increasing age, smoking, obesity, other chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, medications, such as some antidepressants and beta-blockers, inactive lifestyle and watching more than 20 hours of television per week. This article is the subject of a video news release. Call for coordinates.

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