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15 February 2000 Annals of Internal Medicine Tip Sheet

Annals of Internal Medicine is published by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM), an organization of more than 115,000 physicians trained in internal medicine. The following 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. Full content of the Feb. 15, 2000, Annals issue will be available on the Internet at on February 15, 2000.

Thyroid Condition Is Major Heart Disease Risk for Elderly Women

Subclinical hypothyroidism is a strong indicator of risk for hardening of the arteries and heart attacks in elderly women, a new study finds (Article, p. 270). Subclinical hypothyroidism, a condition prevalent in older women with no observable symptoms, is characterized by elevated levels of a hormone in the blood that can be detected by a blood test. In this study of 1,149 elderly women, from data collected from 1990 to 1996 in Rotterdam, Netherlands, 10.8 percent of the participants had subclinical hypothyroidism and also had a greater age-adjusted prevalence of aortic atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction. This risk percentage falls in the range of known major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, the authors say.

Low-Birthweight Babies and Babies of Underweight Mothers Have High Risk for a Diabetic Condition

(Article, p. 253.) * * *

Olestra May Cause False Positives on Tests for a Digestive Disease

A small study found that eating olestra increased fat in the feces to the level of patients with a condition called steatorrhea, characterized by excessive, undigested fat in the feces (Brief Communication, p. 279). Three different tests confirmed the high levels of fecal fat after participants ate 40 grams of olestra per day. Authors say the false positive test could lead physicians to prescribe further, unnecessary tests to find the cause of the excess fat.

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