Arch Intern Med 23 Oct 2006

In an early episode of Blackadder, our hero has to fend off the eager amorous attentions of a large hairy infanta from Spain, played by Miriam Margoyles. This study from Madrid shows that ladies of such physique are by no means rare in Spain: 28% of overweight and obese women there have polycystic ovarian syndrome, and half of these are hirsute. Life imitating art, again.

All arteries are different. Some, like those of the heart and leg, block frequently; others, as in the arm and gut, rather rarely. This study shows that mesenteric artery atheroma is actually common in elderly people but carries no additional risk for vascular events or death.

We chaps know that our testosterone levels are likely to fall with age, but does this really matter? Possibly, because we ourselves are more likely to fall if our male hormone levels are low. Men with the lowest quartile of testosterone had 40% more falls than those with the highest.

Don’t forget the JVP. The jugular venous pulse is one of the most reproducible clinical signs if one takes the trouble to look for it. This study was done in a critical care setting, showing that it correlated well with the central venous catheter pressure. But if you take off the coat and scarf and sit the patient back in good light, it’s also a reliable way of ruling in heart failure in primary care.

Say you are a male health professional with a reasonably healthy body mass index, a good diet, and adequate physical activity, can you still reduce your risk of myocardial infarction by drinking alcohol? Indeed you can. Cheers.