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15 June 1999 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.

Physical Activity and Healthy Lungs Apparently Lower Risk for Stroke

Middle-aged men who were physically active and had good lung capacity had a lower risk for stroke than men who were not active or had limited lung function, a large, long-term prospective study found (Brief Communication, p. 987). The study of nearly 5,000 men between ages 45 and 85 found that regular, leisure-time physical activity was associated with a reduced risk for stroke, while diminished lung capacity increased risk for stroke.

Antioxidants Do Not Substantially Reduce Risk for Stroke, Study Finds

A study of some 43,738 men with no history of heart disease or diabetes found that vitamin E and vitamin C supplements and specific carotenoids, mainly taken in vitamin pills, did not reduce risk for stroke (Article, p. 963). Authors say the study participants, who were health professionals without heart disease or diabetes, were probably healthier than average men, so the antioxidants could still possibly benefit other groups. "Given the uncertainty about the beneficial effects of antioxidants," the authors say, "it is more appropriate from a public health point of view to emphasize the preventive benefits of diets rich in fruits and vegetables and to avoid claims for specific nutrients."

Gene Mutation and Iron Overload Linked but Genetic Testing Not Indicated

Most patients with hemochromatosis, or iron overload, had one of two recently identified mutations on gene HFE, a study shows (Article, p. 953). The researchers say that determining the genotype of patients with high transferrin levels, documented liver disease and suspected iron overload may be useful in diagnosing hemochromatosis. But an editorial says that, overall, existing evidence does not indicate patients with high transferrin levels should undergo genetic testing for this disorder, or that genetic testing in the general population is desirable (Editorial, p. 1018).

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