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Mercury may boost MI risk. (Clinical Capsules).

Mercury levels are directly linked to the risk of myocardial infarction-to an extent that could erase the cardioprotective effects of dietary fish, said Dr. Eliseo Guallar of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, and associates.

In an international case-control study, mercury levels in toenail clippings and adipose tissue were assessed in 684 European men within 24 hours of a first myocardial infarction and in 724 control subjects without MI. Mercury levels in the patients were 15% higher than those in controls, after adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors. A strong dose-response pattern was seen, with a 2.16 odds ratio for MI in patients in the highest quintile of mercury levels, compared with those in the lowest quintile (N. Engl. J. Med. 347[22]:1747-54, 2002).

"Fish intake is currently recommended to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and as part of a Mediterranean-type diet," the investigators noted. But epidemiologic data on "fish intake or fish-oil levels and coronary heart disease are contradictory, ranging from clearly inverse associations to virtually null associations and to positive associations."

The findings imply that a high fish intake is cardioprotective only when that fish is not heavily contaminated with mercury.
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Title Annotation:myocardial infarction, the medical term for a heart attack
Author:Moon, Mary Ann
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Feb 1, 2003
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