* Predicting death from heart problems is less of an exact science than previously thought. Scientists have found that, for as many as 30 per cent of those who die from sudden cardiac death (SCD), no specific causal heart abnormality could be found. This was gleaned from studying the medical records and hearts of 270 patients who died of SCD. Furthermore, in half of those patients with structurally normal hearts, there was no prior indication of heart disease (Circulation, 2000; 102: 649-54).
* Regular coffee drinkers may face a higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis in later life, say Finnish researchers studying nearly 26,000 individuals over 15 years. Those who drank four or more cups of coffee daily were twice as likely as occasional drinkers to test positive for arthritis. Anyone gulping down 11 or more cups a day was almost 15 times as likely to develop the disease (Ann Rheum Dis, 2000; 59: 631-5).