diary of the week

1
1344 DIET AND HYPERTENSION THAT vegetarians have lower blood pressures than the general population is well recognised, but there is a strong possibility for most of the vegetarian groups studied, particularly religious groups such as the Seventh Day Adventists (SDAs), that other lifestyle factors may confound any effect of diet. A study reported in the new Journal of Hypertension sought to isolate the effects of diet by comparing vegetarian SDAs with another religious group, the Mormons, who have a similar religious commitment and attitude to the use of alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee, but eat an omnivorous diet similar to that of the general population. Mean blood pressures adjusted for age, height, and weight were significantly lower in both men and women in the SDA vegetarian group than in the Mormon omnivorous group and were not related to any of the postulated confounding factors (past or current use of alcohol, tobacco, tea, or coffee, physical activity, ethnic background, education, personality, or degree of religious observance). These results were supported by findings in a subgroup of SDAs who reported eating meat, fish, or poultry on average twice a week (range once a month to daily) and thus formed an intermediate dietary group. Mean blood pressures and Quetelet’s index in male omnivorous SDAs were similar to those in male omnivorous Mormons, whereas in women the values in the SDA omnivorous group were similar to those in the SDA vegetarian group. This difference may be related to the high physical activity reported by the female omnivorous group. The intermediate group differed from the two "extreme" groups in several respects other than diet-tea, coffee, and oral contraceptive use were more common and the degree of religious observance was lower. Thus in the comparison of the two dietary extremes, other factors are less likely to confound the relation between diet and blood pressure. Did this finding enable the researchers to determine which, if any, nutrients are important in the relation? 24 h diet records showed that the vegetarians ate more vegetable protein, wholegrain cereals, fruit, and polyunsaturated oils; their intake of total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol was lower and intake of dietary fibre, polyunsaturated fat, potassium, and magnesium higher, but the study was not able to identify which nutrients cause the blood pressure differences. THE METRE WE KNEW NOT for many years has it sufficed, when looking for a metre, to tramp the earth’s surface from Dunkirk to Barcelona or even to search out marks on a metal bar 102 cm long. Research workers planning to miss the October Conference Generale des Poids et Mesures will need to be aware of yet another proposed alteration in this fundamental unit of measurement, this time after only 23 years of dealing with the orange radiation from a krypton-86 lamp. The definition need never change again, perhaps, for all difficulties seem to have been neatly circumvented in a manner which has to it a touch of circularity. A metre is to be the distance light travels in a vacuum in one 299 792 458th part of one second. The accuracy with which length needs to be measured by some people has always exceeded that of the current definitions, and the krypton-86 metre in use since 1960 is no exception (even at 0-000004%). As B. W. Petley of the National Physical Laboratory explains,2 at the tiny fractions of length and of time that physicists sometimes have to handle today relativity if not philosophy takes over. Clinicians have often been heard to complain that with the standard metre you could never be sure if it measured left to right the same as it did from right to left. University of Sheffield Prof A. W. Rogers, foundation professor of human morphology in Flinders University, Australia, has been appointed to the Arthur Jackson chair of anatomy and cell biology. Dr A. Angel has been appointed to a personal chair in physiology. 1. Rouse IL, Armstrong BK, Beilin LJ. The relationship of blood pressure to diet and lifestyle in two religious populations. J Hypertension 1983; 1: 65-71. Published by Gower Medical Publishing Ltd, Middlesex House, 34-42 Cleveland Street, London W1P 5FB 2. Petley BW. New definition of the metre. Nature 1983; 303: 373-76 Working Group on Primary Care for Cancer Patients The Department of Health and Social Security has established a working group to review the organisation of primary health care services for cancer patients as part of its examination of the provisions for cancer care. Professionals with an interest in cancer diagnosis, acute and follow-up management, and liaison with patients’ families, hospital staff, and voluntary agencies are invited to write to Miss V. A. Lewis, DHSS, Room 1225, Hannibal House, Elephant and Castle, London SE 1. Dr R. W. Brotherwood, a senior medical officer in the Department of Health and Social Security, is to succeed Dr Michael Essex-Lopresti as deputy secretary of the Council for Postgraduate Medical Education in England and Wales. Dr Wilfred Sircus, consultant physician in the University of Edinburgh gastrointestinal unit at the Western General Hospital, has been elected president of the World Organisation of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Societies. A one-day conference on Are We Winning or Losing? Recent Trends in Coronary Mortality and their Implications for the UK will take place at the Central Middlesex Hospital, London, on Thursday, June 30. Applications should be made to Beryl Frost, The Coronary Prevention Group, Central Middlesex Hospital, London NW10 7NS. A 2-day multidisciplinary conference on Psychiatric Treatment in the Puerperium will be held in Manchester on Sept 22-23. Further information may be obtained from Dr F. Margison, Department of Psychiatry, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Swinton Grove, Manchester M13 OEU. The annual British Sociological Association medical sociology conference with the theme Critical Psychiatry and an Understanding of Mental Illness will take place at the University of York on Sept 23-25. Further information may be obtained from Malcom Colledge, Medical Sociology Conference, School of Behavioural Science, Newcastle-upon-Tyne Polytechnic, Northumberland Building, Northumberland Road, Newcastle- upon-Tyne NEl 8ST. The Society for Radiological Protection will be holding a meeting on Neutron Exposure and Radiological Protection-Some Limitations on Oct 18 at the Ctty Conference Centre, London. Further information maybe obtained from Prof J. H. Martin, Department of Medical Biophysics, Blackness Laboratory, University of Dundee, Dundee DD 4HN. Diary of the Week JUNE 12 TO 18 H Monday, 13th INSTITUTE OF DERMATOLOGY, St John’s Hospital for Diseases of the Skin, Lisle Street, Leicester Square, London WC2H 7BJ. 4.45 PM Dr T. Ryan: Peripheral Vascular Diseases of Interest to Dermatologists Wednesday, 15th INSTITUTE OF ORTHOPAEDICS, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, 234 Great Portland Street, London WIN 6AD. 6 PM Dr T. C. B. Stamp. Metabolic Backache. 7 PM Mr M. A. Edgar: Spinal Stenosis WELLCOME INSTITUTE FOR THE HISTORY OF MEDICINE, 183 Euston Road. London NW12BP. 5.30 PM Mr Jonathan Barry: Mr Dyer’s Diary-Medicine and Religion in Brtstol the 18th Century. NORTHWICK PARK HOSPITAL AND CLINICAL RESEARCH CENTRE, Watford Road, Harrow, Middlesex HA1 3UJ. I PM Dr E. B. Raftery: New Drugs for Arrhythmias. Thursday, 16th ST MARY’S HOSPITAL MEDICAL SCHOOL, Norfolk Place, London V’2 IPG 5.30 PM Ms J. Adams: Ultrasound and Gynacology. ROYAL SOCIETY OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, Manson House. 26 Portland Place, London WIN 4EY. 6.20 PM Prof George Nelson: Trouble with Tryps or How I Became a Helminthologist ROYAL MARSDEN HOSPITAL, William Marsden Lecture Theatre, Postgraduatc Centre (D Block), Downs Road, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5PT 5.30 PM ProfM. J. Peckham: Hodgkin’s Disease. Friday, 17th ROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEONS OF ENGLAND, Lincoln’s Inn Fields. London WC2A 3PN. 2.15 PM Mr P. R. Barton: The Achievement of Facial Harmony (Charles Tome. lecture). INSTITUTE OF DERMATOLOGY 4.45 PM Dr R. J. Hay: Revisional Mycology Lecture.

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Page 1: Diary of the Week

1344

DIET AND HYPERTENSION

THAT vegetarians have lower blood pressures than the generalpopulation is well recognised, but there is a strong possibility formost of the vegetarian groups studied, particularly religious groupssuch as the Seventh Day Adventists (SDAs), that other lifestylefactors may confound any effect of diet. A study reported in thenew Journal of Hypertension sought to isolate the effects of diet bycomparing vegetarian SDAs with another religious group, theMormons, who have a similar religious commitment and attitude tothe use of alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee, but eat an omnivorousdiet similar to that of the general population. Mean blood pressuresadjusted for age, height, and weight were significantly lower in bothmen and women in the SDA vegetarian group than in the Mormonomnivorous group and were not related to any of the postulatedconfounding factors (past or current use of alcohol, tobacco, tea, orcoffee, physical activity, ethnic background, education, personality,or degree of religious observance). These results were supported byfindings in a subgroup of SDAs who reported eating meat, fish, orpoultry on average twice a week (range once a month to daily) andthus formed an intermediate dietary group. Mean blood pressuresand Quetelet’s index in male omnivorous SDAs were similar tothose in male omnivorous Mormons, whereas in women the valuesin the SDA omnivorous group were similar to those in the SDAvegetarian group. This difference may be related to the highphysical activity reported by the female omnivorous group. Theintermediate group differed from the two "extreme" groups inseveral respects other than diet-tea, coffee, and oral contraceptiveuse were more common and the degree of religious observance waslower. Thus in the comparison of the two dietary extremes, otherfactors are less likely to confound the relation between diet andblood pressure. Did this finding enable the researchers to determinewhich, if any, nutrients are important in the relation? 24 h dietrecords showed that the vegetarians ate more vegetable protein,wholegrain cereals, fruit, and polyunsaturated oils; their intake oftotal fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol was lower and intake ofdietary fibre, polyunsaturated fat, potassium, and magnesiumhigher, but the study was not able to identify which nutrients causethe blood pressure differences.

THE METRE WE KNEW

NOT for many years has it sufficed, when looking for a metre, totramp the earth’s surface from Dunkirk to Barcelona or even tosearch out marks on a metal bar 102 cm long. Research workersplanning to miss the October Conference Generale des Poids etMesures will need to be aware of yet another proposed alteration inthis fundamental unit of measurement, this time after only 23 yearsof dealing with the orange radiation from a krypton-86 lamp. Thedefinition need never change again, perhaps, for all difficulties seemto have been neatly circumvented in a manner which has to it atouch of circularity. A metre is to be the distance light travels in avacuum in one 299 792 458th part of one second. The accuracywith which length needs to be measured by some people has alwaysexceeded that of the current definitions, and the krypton-86 metrein use since 1960 is no exception (even at 0-000004%). As B. W.Petley of the National Physical Laboratory explains,2 at the tinyfractions of length and of time that physicists sometimes have tohandle today relativity if not philosophy takes over. Clinicians haveoften been heard to complain that with the standard metre you couldnever be sure if it measured left to right the same as it did from rightto left.

University of Sheffield

Prof A. W. Rogers, foundation professor of human morphologyin Flinders University, Australia, has been appointed to the ArthurJackson chair of anatomy and cell biology. Dr A. Angel has beenappointed to a personal chair in physiology.

1. Rouse IL, Armstrong BK, Beilin LJ. The relationship of blood pressure to diet andlifestyle in two religious populations. J Hypertension 1983; 1: 65-71. Published byGower Medical Publishing Ltd, Middlesex House, 34-42 Cleveland Street,London W1P 5FB

2. Petley BW. New definition of the metre. Nature 1983; 303: 373-76

Working Group on Primary Care for Cancer Patients

The Department of Health and Social Security has established aworking group to review the organisation of primary health careservices for cancer patients as part of its examination of the

provisions for cancer care. Professionals with an interest in cancerdiagnosis, acute and follow-up management, and liaison with

patients’ families, hospital staff, and voluntary agencies are invitedto write to Miss V. A. Lewis, DHSS, Room 1225, Hannibal House,Elephant and Castle, London SE 1.

Dr R. W. Brotherwood, a senior medical officer in the Department of Healthand Social Security, is to succeed Dr Michael Essex-Lopresti as deputysecretary of the Council for Postgraduate Medical Education inEngland and Wales.Dr Wilfred Sircus, consultant physician in the University of Edinburgh

gastrointestinal unit at the Western General Hospital, has been electedpresident of the World Organisation of Gastrointestinal EndoscopySocieties.

A one-day conference on Are We Winning or Losing? Recent Trends inCoronary Mortality and their Implications for the UK will take place atthe Central Middlesex Hospital, London, on Thursday, June 30. Applicationsshould be made to Beryl Frost, The Coronary Prevention Group, CentralMiddlesex Hospital, London NW10 7NS.A 2-day multidisciplinary conference on Psychiatric Treatment in the

Puerperium will be held in Manchester on Sept 22-23. Further informationmay be obtained from Dr F. Margison, Department of Psychiatry, ManchesterRoyal Infirmary, Swinton Grove, Manchester M13 OEU.The annual British Sociological Association medical sociology conference

with the theme Critical Psychiatry and an Understanding of MentalIllness will take place at the University of York on Sept 23-25. Furtherinformation may be obtained from Malcom Colledge, Medical SociologyConference, School of Behavioural Science, Newcastle-upon-TynePolytechnic, Northumberland Building, Northumberland Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NEl 8ST.

The Society for Radiological Protection will be holding a meeting onNeutron Exposure and Radiological Protection-Some Limitationson Oct 18 at the Ctty Conference Centre, London. Further information maybeobtained from Prof J. H. Martin, Department of Medical Biophysics,Blackness Laboratory, University of Dundee, Dundee DD 4HN.

Diary of the WeekJUNE 12 TO 18 H

Monday, 13thINSTITUTE OF DERMATOLOGY, St John’s Hospital for Diseases of the Skin,

Lisle Street, Leicester Square, London WC2H 7BJ.4.45 PM Dr T. Ryan: Peripheral Vascular Diseases of Interest to Dermatologists

Wednesday, 15thINSTITUTE OF ORTHOPAEDICS, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, 234

Great Portland Street, London WIN 6AD.6 PM Dr T. C. B. Stamp. Metabolic Backache.7 PM Mr M. A. Edgar: Spinal Stenosis

WELLCOME INSTITUTE FOR THE HISTORY OF MEDICINE, 183 Euston Road.. London NW12BP.

5.30 PM Mr Jonathan Barry: Mr Dyer’s Diary-Medicine and Religion in Brtstol the18th Century.

NORTHWICK PARK HOSPITAL AND CLINICAL RESEARCH CENTRE,Watford Road, Harrow, Middlesex HA1 3UJ.

I PM Dr E. B. Raftery: New Drugs for Arrhythmias.

Thursday, 16thST MARY’S HOSPITAL MEDICAL SCHOOL, Norfolk Place, London V’2 IPG

5.30 PM Ms J. Adams: Ultrasound and Gynacology.ROYAL SOCIETY OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, Manson House.

26 Portland Place, London WIN 4EY.6.20 PM Prof George Nelson: Trouble with Tryps or How I Became a Helminthologist

ROYAL MARSDEN HOSPITAL, William Marsden Lecture Theatre, PostgraduatcCentre (D Block), Downs Road, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5PT

5.30 PM ProfM. J. Peckham: Hodgkin’s Disease.

Friday, 17thROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEONS OF ENGLAND, Lincoln’s Inn Fields. London

WC2A 3PN.2.15 PM Mr P. R. Barton: The Achievement of Facial Harmony (Charles Tome.

lecture).INSTITUTE OF DERMATOLOGY

4.45 PM Dr R. J. Hay: Revisional Mycology Lecture.