Research Briefs: 05 October 2007

MRI risk for kidney patients
A skin condition caused by exposure to a contrast agent used in MRI scans has been linked to a 2.4-fold increased mortality risk in patients with advanced kidney disease. A US study of 186 haemodialysis patients found that nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) was 10 times more common in patients exposed to gadolinium - a chemical used in an MRI contrast agent (Arthritis Rheum October 2007)

Amount, not type of alcohol predicts breast risk
Women who drink more than three units of alcohol a day increase their breast cancer risk by 30 per cent, a large US study has found. Data from 70,033 women showed that alcohol intake was directly linked to breast cancer risk. Women drinking one to two units a day had a 10 per cent increased risk (Eur Cancer Supp 2007. 5 (4): 161).

C difficile more deadly in IBD patients
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are twice as likely to die of a Clostridium difficile infection, according to a US study. The analysis of hospital data from nearly 125,000 patients showed that mortality in patients with C difficile was more than double that of patients with C difficile alone (Gut 2007 online first).

Killer bacteria in outer space
Pathogenic bacteria are three-times more virulent in outer space than when on Earth, claim US researchers. Flasks of Salmonella typhimurium were sent on a shuttle mission that orbited the earth for 12 days. After the flight, analysis of the bacteria showed the bacteria were three times more likely to kill mice, than bacteria grown on earth (P Nat Acad Sci Online).

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