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Tufts paper assesses effect of episodic sexual/physical activity on cardiac events
Date:3/23/2011

d physical activity, three studies investigated sexual activity, and one study investigated both exposures. Since many prior reports included a relatively small number of individuals who had had heart attacks, they used a statistical approach that combined the data from these previous studies. "This method can be a powerful way to arrive at a more confident answer about a particular clinical question when prior studies have been limited by small numbers," writes Dr. Paulus.

Each author independently extracted descriptive and quantitative information from the studies identified through MEDLINE, EMBASE and Web of Science. Data collection was limited to case-crossover studies as this design was developed specifically to address the problem of identifying triggers of acute events. Case-control and cohort studies were not included as they are not particularly suitable for identifying triggers of acute events. The individual studies tended to include more males than females, and patients in their 50's and 60's.

This research concluded that episodic physical activity and sexual activity are associated with an increase in the risk of heart attacks for a short window of time during and shortly after the activity. This association was less pronounced among persons with high levels of habitual physical activity. The authors make particular note that this study should not de-emphasize the importance of regular physical activity. Dr. Dahabreh writes, "Our findings should not be misinterpreted as indicating a net harm of physical or sexual activity; instead they demonstrate that these exposures are associated with a temporary short-term increase in the risk of acute cardiac events."

Dr. Paulus comments, "This project would not have been possible without the Tufts CTSI funded Clinical and Translational Science Graduate Program, as well as Tufts CTSI support for interaction between epidemiologists and meta-analysis experts. While our disciplines are n
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Contact: Marc Belanger
617-636-9845
Tufts University, Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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