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Annals of Internal Medicine, tip sheet, April 2, 2002

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.

Study links blood protein to heart disease risk

C-reactive protein (CRP) is an indicator of inflammation. Blood levels of CRP increase in heart disease but not cancer, according to a study of 643 women (Brief Communication, p. 529). The authors found that higher levels of CRP were present in women who developed coronary heart disease than in women who developed cancer or didn't develop either during nearly five years of close observation. An accompanying editorial agrees that levels of CRP are an indicator of increased cardiovascular risk in people with no signs of heart disease (Editorial, p. 550). However, the authors caution that CRP is present in the blood during many infectious and inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis. Elevated levels of CRP indicate that a person may have a disease that deserves medical attention.

High-fat meal increased triglyceride levels and reduced blood flow

The small blood vessels in the heart normally increase in size in response to exercise and certain medications. This response enables the heart to function more effectively during stress. The authors of this study found that a high-fat meal, which increased the blood levels of triglycerides (a form of fat), reduced the ability of the small vessels to increase in size in 15 healthy men. Five of the men ate a low-fat meal and did not experience a reduction in the ability of the vessels to increase in size. The study did not prove that the high-fat meals and increased triglyceride levels caused the decrease in the capacity of th
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Contact: Penny Fuller
pfuller@mail.acponline.org
215-351-2656
American College of Physicians
1-Apr-2002


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