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19 June 2007 Annals of Internal Medicine Tip Sheet

Annals of Internal Medicine Annals of Internal Medicine is published by the American College of Physicians. These highlights are not intended to substitute for articles as sources of information. For an embargoed copy of an article, call 1-800-523-1546, ext. 2656, or 215-351-2656.

New Study: Women with Diabetes Left Behind in Overall Drop in Death Rates in the U.S.

Death Rates for Men with Diabetes Fell Steeply in 29 Year Period of the NHANES Studies, but Rates for Women with Diabetes Did Not Change

(NOTE: This article and accompanying editorial appear early online at the Web site of Annals of Internal Medicine, www/ on Monday, June 18 after 5 p.m. ET. They will appear in the August 21 print edition of the journal. The article is the subject of a video news release. Call for coordinates. A separate news release will be issued.)

Substance in Soy Products Increased Bone Density Compared to Placebo

In a randomized placebo-controlled trial involving 389 women with osteopenia, those who took 54 mg/d of genistein, a phytoestrogen derived from soy products, had greater bone mineral density and improved markers of bone metabolism after two years than women who took a pill containing only calcium and vitamin D (Article, p.839). Osteopenia (diminished amount of bone but not as severe as osteoporosis) is common among women after menopause. The most serious consequences of low bone density are bone fractures. Those who took the genistein pills did not have increased endometrial thickness, a problem with some hormone treatments for low bone density. The genistein group had more gastrointestinal side effects than the control group.

Meta-Analysis Showed that Acupuncture Has No Meaningful Short-term Benefits in Pain or Function Compared to Sham Control Trials

(Review, p. 868)

Different Ways to Describe the Benefits of Treatments Influence Patients’ Willingness to Accept the Treatments. With Editorial

(Article, p. 848; Editorial, p. 891)

2 Views on Stopping Randomized Trials Early Because of Apparent Benefit

The authors of one article on this subject say that stopping randomized trials early because of apparent benefit raises “serious ethical problems” because truncated trials systematically overestimate treatment effects. This problem is especially severe when the number of outcome events is small, the writers say (Perspective, p. 878). The author of the other article disagrees, saying that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is not to get an accurate assessment of the risk and benefits associated with a given treatment. It is “to decide which treatment is more efficacious, with statistical control over how often false-positives and false-negatives are made” (Review, p. 882). This writer says that randomized controlled trials and data monitoring committees “must balance many competing and worthwhile medical, statistical, ethical and social goals.”

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