Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Why Don't U.S. Docs Recommend Fish Oil to Heart Attack Patients?

Heart attack patients in most countries go home with a prescription for fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids. Not so in the U.S. The fact that heart patients receive such different treatments in sophisticated hospitals around the world highlights the central role that drug companies play in disseminating medical information, experts told The New York Times.

In a large number of studies, prescription fish oil has been shown to improve survival after heart attacks and to reduce fatal heart rhythms. In the largest study of fish oil — conducted more than a decade ago — Italian researchers gave 11,000 patients one gram of prescription fish oil a day after heart attacks. After three years, the study found that the number of deaths was reduced by 20 percent and that the number of sudden deaths by 40 percent, compared with a control group. It seems natural for Italy to be at the forefront of the fish oil trend and home to the largest clinical trials. Scientists have long noted that Mediterranean diets are healthy for the heart and theorized that the high content of broiled and baked fish might be partly responsible.


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