The BMJ Today: Patient data, sweetened drinks, and fruit juice

statins• Patient data from the clinical trials of statins

In July 2014, an expert panel convened by The BMJ called for anonymised individual patient data from the clinical trials of statins to be made available for independent scrutiny. One year later, Emma Parish and colleagues look at how things have moved on.

• Making patient data available

Sharing patient data was also discussed at the Sowerby eHealth Symposium held in London last week. Richard Smith blogs about how “Everybody seemed to agree that, last year’s attempt to make patient data available, was a disaster.” As Smith writes, a problem with sharing patient data “seems to be that the downside—somebody’s health records being made public—is horrible, concrete, and easy to understand, whereas the upside remains vague, aspirational, and largely opaque to the public.”

See also:

We must convince the public that researchers need access to medical records

fizzy_drinks• Sweetened drinks, juice, and type 2 diabetes

In their systematic review and meta-analysis, Fumiaki Imamura and colleagues write “Artificially sweetened beverages and fruit juice are candidate alternatives to sugar sweetened beverages, but their prospective associations with type 2 diabetes have not yet been well established.” So their research looked at whether habitual consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened beverages, or fruit juice is associated with the incidence of type 2 diabetes. Unsurprisingly, the results showed that the “habitual consumption of sugar sweetened beverages was associated with a greater incidence of type 2 diabetes, independently of adiposity.”

The prospects for artificially sweetened beverages and fruit juice as alternatives didn’t look good to the authors though. They found “artificially sweetened beverages and fruit juice also showed positive associations with incidence of type 2 diabetes,” although “the findings were likely to involve bias. None the less, both artificially sweetened beverages and fruit juice were unlikely to be healthy alternatives to sugar sweetened beverages for the prevention of type 2 diabetes.”

breast_examination• Nipple discharge

In their 10 minute consultation, Peter Lawrence Zaki Labib and colleagues describe what you should do if: “A 45 year old woman presents with unilateral bloodstained nipple discharge . . .”



Sally Carter, technical editor, The BMJ