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15 May 2001 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 internal medicine physicians and medical students. 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 issue is available on the Internet at

Drug Cuts Heart Disease Risk in Elderly as Well as Younger Heart Patients

The cholesterol-lowering drug pravastatin reduced risk of death from heart and circulation problems in older patients as well as younger ones, a new analysis shows (Article, p. 931). All patients had heart disease at the beginning of the study, although some did not have high cholesterol levels. The benefits of treatment were actually higher for older people than for younger, probably because older people have greater risk for heart and circulation problems to begin with.

Interferon May Prevent Return of Hepatitis C-Associated Liver Cancer

Interferon-alpha, a protein used to treat the hepatitis C virus, may be useful in preventing the recurrence of liver cancer caused by the hepatitis C virus, a new study of 30 patients found (Brief Communication, p. 963). After surgery to remove the initial cancer, cancer returned in five of the 15 patients who received interferon-alpha and 12 of the 15 who did not.

Pushing the Envelope: Oscar Winners Live Longer than Oscar Nominees

A study of three groups of actors -- 762 actors who won Academy Awards (Oscars), a group who were nominated but did not win the award and another group of actors who were in award films but were not nominated -- found that the Oscar winners lived about four years longer than the others (Article, p. 955). An editorial notes that most studies of economic status and health have focused on the well-documented relationship between poverty and poor health (Editorial, p. 1001). The editorial writer suggests that feelings such as self-esteem, sense of control, mastery and optimism may play a role in the Oscar findings, but, "in terms of public policy, we are likely to continue to focus on the hazards of social status, such as poverty."

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