Vital signs

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Post-coital coronary

The risk of a heart attack doubles in the two-hour "hazard zone" after sex - but that risk is still only a two in a million chance, according to a study of 1,774 patients published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It says heart attack patients are often afraid of resuming sex despite the low risk but that a patient's sex life can go back to normal four weeks after a heart attack.

Sonic the toothbrush

A new toothbrush which emits sonic vibrations and cleans at the speed of sound, with 31,000 brush strokes per minute, can reverse gingivitis, according to its manufacturers. Sonicare, the "Concorde" of toothbrushes, combiones high frequency brushing with gentle sonic vibration which research has shown can break up colonies of harmful oral bacteria. Priced pounds 129.50, it is currently only available from dentists (or call 01737 765400 for a direct sale).

Growing pains

Missed meals and irregular sleep are a common cause of migraine in children which often goes undiagnosed, according to the Childhood Migraine Booklet. It says that migraine in minors often manifests itself as abdominal pain or vomiting. For a copy, send an SAE (A5) to Childhood Migraine Booklet, PO Box 30, Blacknest Road, Blacknest, Nr Alton, Hants GU34 4PX.

Fishy business

Fish-oil supplements, already thought to protect against heart disease, can also ease menstrual pain, according to researchers from Ohio writing in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. In a study of 42 teenagers with dysmenorrhea, those who took supplements of omega-3 fatty acids had reduced symptoms compared to those who took a placebo.

Cancer care

A new guide for cancer sufferers, from diagnosis to palliative care, has just been published. The Cancer Care and Information Handbook also includes information on alternative treatments. Send 50p in stamps to the Cancer Support Centre, PO Box 17, 20-22 York Road, London SW11 3QE.

Close to the bone

A new non-invasive machine takes less than five minutes to screen for osteoporosis, or brittle bone disease. Ultrasound waves are passed through the heel bone, chosen because it is weight-bearing and on the same axis as the hip, to assess bone quality.

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