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BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 14 October 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:926

High homocysteine concentrations are significantly associated with coronary artery disease, and they are mediated by genetic mutations. When people with genotypes associated with high homocysteine concentrations adopted a Mediterranean diet—which is high in retinoids, folic acid, and fibre and seems to help prevent coronary artery disease—their homocysteine concentrations were reduced (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2004;80: 849-54). This finding should interest policy makers.

The links between dietary salt and cardiovascular disease have puzzled environmental physicians for a long time. Arguments have been especially fierce in the Netherlands, where a further study has been conducted (Journal of Internal Medicine 2004;256: 324-30). This showed that the higher the intake of salt the greater the amount of albumin in the urine. Since albuminuria is a known risk factor for heart disease and hypertension, these findings help piece together the jigsaw. The relation seems to be true for children as well as adults.

When a child is admitted to hospital because of wheezing the explanation may be “a virus” or a worsening of an atopic illness. Better diagnostic tests are now allowing clinicians to make reliable diagnoses in these circumstances. A report in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (2004;114: 239-47) draws a distinction between babies under the age of 3, who …

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