* We Think this was our first News Letter. It is not much, but it may of been the first. 😉
Science Synopsis 11 Jun 2007 Vitamin and Herb stores
By Ralph Turchiano
Public release date: 11-Jun-2007
Antibiotic use in infants linked to asthma
Infants lacking dog exposure have double asthma risk
(NORTHBROOK, IL, JUNE 11, 2007) – New research indicates that children who receive antibiotics before their first birthday are significantly more likely to develop asthma by age 7. The study, published in the June issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), reports that children receiving antibiotics in the first year of life were at greater risk for developing asthma by age 7 than those not receiving antibiotics. The risk for asthma doubled in children receiving antibiotics for nonrespiratory infections, as well as in children who received multiple antibiotic courses and who did not live with a dog during the first year.
“Antibiotics are prescribed mostly for respiratory tract infections, yet respiratory symptoms can be a sign of future asthma. This may make it difficult to attribute antibiotic use to asthma development,” said lead study author Anita Kozyrskyj, PhD, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB. “Our study reported on antibiotic use in children being treated for nonrespiratory tract infections, which distinguishes the effect of the antibiotic.”
By using a prescription database, Dr. Kozyrskyj and colleagues from the University of Manitoba and McGill University in Montreal were able to monitor the antibiotic use of 13,116 children from birth to age 7, specifically noting antibiotic use during the first year of life and presence of asthma at 7. The reason for antibiotic use was categorized by lower respiratory tract infection (bronchitis, pneumonia), upper respiratory tract infection (otitis media, sinusitis), and nonrespiratory tract infection (urinary infections, impetigo). Risk and protective factors also were noted, including gender, urban or rural location, neighborhood income, number of siblings at age 7, maternal history of asthma, and pets reported living in the home. Within the study group, 6 percent of children had current asthma at age 7, while 65 percent of children had received at least one antibiotic prescription during the first year of life. Of the prescriptions, 40 percent of children received antibiotics for otitis media, 28 percent for other upper respiratory tract infections, 19 percent for lower respiratory tract infections, and 7 percent for non-respiratory tract infections. Results showed that antibiotic use in the first year was significantly associated with greater odds of asthma at age 7. This likelihood increased with the number of antibiotic courses, with children receiving more than four courses of antibiotics having 1.5 times the risk of asthma compared with children not receiving antibiotics. When researchers compared the reason for antibiotic use, their analysis indicated that asthma at age 7 was almost twice as likely in children receiving an antibiotic for nonrespiratory tract infections compared with children who did not receive antibiotics
Public release date: 16-May-2007
New study: Pycnogenol reduces heart failure
A study to be published in an upcoming edition of the journal of Cardiovascular Toxicology reveals Pycnogenol natural pine bark extract from the French maritime pine tree, helps prevent damage that high blood pressure causes to the heart. The study demonstrates Pycnogenol counteracts the “wearing out” of the heart, which may aid the five million Americans living with heart failure. Previous studies have shown Pycnogenol supplementation to be associated with improved cardiovascular health, such as cholesterol reduction, blood pressure control and prevention of thrombosis.
“This study provides evidence that oral administration of Pycnogenol reversed cardiovascular remodeling induced by L-NAME by blocking nitric oxide production, which leads to hypertension and finally cardiomyopathy,”said Watson.
After a detailed investigation of the heart tissue, Watson found Pycnogenol supplementation to significantly enhance the connective collagen matrix of cardiac tissue. Whereas the chronic hypertension in mice led to a significant loss of connective collagen fibers, Pycnogenol significantly increased the collagen presence, resulting in stronger cardiac chambers
Pycnogenol is a natural plant extract originating from the bark of the maritime pine that grows along the coast of southwest France and is found to contain a unique combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids, which offer extensive natural health benefits. The extract has been widely studied for the past 35 years and has more than 220 published studies and review articles ensuring safety and efficacy as an ingredient. Today, Pycnogenol is available in more than 600 dietary supplements, multi-vitamins and health products worldwide.
Public release date: 8-Jun-2007
Boosting key milk nutrients may protect against cancer
New study suggests calcium and vitamin D may reduce cancer risk in women by at least 60 percent
The four-year clinical trial included more than one thousand women over the age of 55 in one of three supplement groups: 1) calcium (1400-1500mg) plus vitamin D (1100 IU vitamin D) 2) calcium only (1400-1500 mg) or 3) a placebo. The researchers found that the risk of developing cancer was 60 percent lower for those who took calcium and vitamin D and 47 percent lower for those taking calcium alone, compared to the placebo.
Fifty women developed nonskin cancer through the course of the four-year study, including breast, colon, lung and other cancers. When researchers excluded the 13 cancers diagnosed during first year of the study, determining these cancers were likely present at the study onset, the protective effect of calcium and vitamin D was even greater, with a 77 percent lower risk for cancer for those taking calcium plus vitamin D compared to the placebo.
1) Lappe JM, Travers-Gustafson D, Davies KM, Recker RR, Heaney RP. Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007;85:1586-1591.
Public release date: 7-Jun-2007
CAM-oriented primary care providers result in cost savings, high patient satisfaction
Researchers found that over the course of the seven-year study, patients visiting chiropractors and other CAM-oriented PCPs had 60 percent fewer hospitalizations, 62 percent fewer outpatient surgical cases, and 85 percent lower pharmaceutical costs when compared with total network HMO utilization rates and costs. The chiropractors and other CAM doctors treated and managed cases ranging from upper respiratory tract infections and allergies to headaches, orthopedic and other medical conditions
Public release date: 11-Jun-2007
Studies link insurance coverage to more advanced cancers
Two new studies find the uninsured and people with certain types of public health insurance are more likely to be diagnosed with more advanced cancer compared to those with private insurance. The studies, published in the July 15, 2007 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, find availability and type of health insurance predict disease severity in patients presenting with cancer of the oral cavity and breast in the United States.
In their study of breast cancer and insurance status, Dr. Halpern and co-investigators found that uninsured and Medicaid insured patients were almost two and a half times more likely to be diagnosed with advanced disease than those with private insurance. In addition, they found African American and Hispanic patients were significantly more likely than white patients to be diagnosed at a more advanced stage. The authors say several factors probably contribute to the increased risk of disease among the uninsured and Medicaid populations, including fewer sources of regular medical care in general and less use of regular mammography in particular.
* Ralphs note -( or the hospital’s can be abusing the Medicaid system.)
Jun 8, 7:53 PM ET 2007
Experts say many in Britain malnourished
Many nutrition experts believe the number of malnourished Britons is closer to 4 million, about 6 percent of the population, than the government’s estimate of 2 million.
There are no statistics on how many obese people may be malnourished, but doctors say they are seeing patients who are both overweight and malnourished. According to government statistics, 75 percent of Britons are overweight; more than one-fifth are obese.
Usually, people with vitamin deficiencies have skin problems, a swollen thyroid or bleeding gums. In severe cases, malnourished people might also experience hair loss, muscle wasting, a swollen abdomen, anemia or rickets.
Part of the blame goes to the rise of processed and fast foods, most of which contain only small amounts of healthy nutrients. The national diet is in such trouble that earlier this month, the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency recommended that folic acid be added to the nation’s flour; a lack of it in the diet of pregnant women has been linked to birth defects.
Ralph notes (or part of the blame can be the establishment telling people that vitamins are not necessary, but twinkies are ok.)
Public release date: 4-Jun-2007
Drug company funding of drug trials greatly influences outcome
In head-to-head trials of two drugs, the one deemed better appears to depend largely on who is funding the study, according to an analysis of nearly 200 statin-drug comparisons carried out between 1999 and 2005.
UCSF researchers examined 192 published results of trials comparing one cholesterol-lowering statin drug to another, or to a non-statin drug.
Their findings found that two links stood out. If the reported results favored the test drug, the trial was about 20 times more likely to be funded by the maker of the statin rather than the comparison drug company. Even more striking, they say, if the conclusions or interpretation of the drug trial – which reflect the impressions of the trial investigators — favored the test drug, the trial was about 35 times more likely to be funded by the maker of that drug rather than the comparison drug.
The analysis found that about half of the trials were funded by industry, and about a third did not disclose any funding source. Among those declaring industry funding, about one fifth explained the role of the sponsor, such as data analysis, or writing and preparing the manuscript. Trials with no disclosed funding sources were less likely to have conclusions favoring the test drug, compared to trials with industry funding, the researchers report.
The researchers note that a number of factors can result in the drug trial results favoring the trial drug’s sponsor. Drug companies could selectively fund trials on drugs that are likely to produce a statistically significant result, the researchers explain. This can be accomplished, they say, by selecting non-equivalent doses of drugs for testing. Also, sponsors may choose not to report results that don’t favor the drugs they sell. Or, they may report positive results in more than one journal, skewing the number of positive articles about their drug.
In addition, almost half of the trials lacked adequate blinding – assuring that study scientists don’t know which drug the patients were taking until the end of the trial. Blinding is considered of paramount importance in clinical trials. The researchers found that those studies with adequate blinding were less likely to report results favoring the test drug. This finding was independent of who funded the study – in other words, funding source was a stronger predictor of outcome than blinding, but both had independent effects on outcome.
The most important weakness found in most of the trials was a lack of clinical measures of outcome, such as heart attacks or mortality — considered better indicators in trial design than less direct measures such as lipid levels.
“The lack of true clinical outcome measures in these direct head-to-head comparisons of drugs is disappointing because the studies don’t give us the best information we need to choose one statin over another,” Bero says.
*Co-authors of the study are Peter Bacchetti, PhD, professor of epidemiology, and Kirby Lee, PharmD, assistant professor of clinical pharmacy, both of UCSF; and Fieke Oostvogel, University of Leiden, Netherlands.
Public release date: 8-Jan-2007
Published study shows benefits of Diachrome for people with type 2 diabetes.
Additional research presented at the 19th World Diabetes Congress Meeting supports the efficacy and safety of chromium picolinate in diabetes management
The 30-day study examined thirty-six overweight or obese poorly controlled patients with type 2 diabetes taking Diachrome who were already receiving oral anti-diabetic drug(s). The results also showed a significantly greater reduction in the total area under the curve for glucose (AUCg) during the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) for the treatment group (mean change -9.7%) compared with the placebo group (mean change +5.1%). Mean fructosamine levels, a measure of the average blood glucose level during a period of three weeks, were also significantly reduced in the treatment group (-1.3 mmol/L) compared to the placebo group (0.7 mmol/L).
Another study released this month at the 19th World Diabetes Congress meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, demonstrated that supplementing with chromium picolinate, an active ingredient in Diachrome, led to significant improvements in blood sugar levels of people with type 2 diabetes over a six-year period. In addition to existing treatments, 1056 patients with diabetes ages 20 to 90 years old were observed among nine sites before and during supplementation with 500 mcg daily of chromium as chromium picolinate for one to six years. A significant decrease in fasting glucose levels of 4.67 mmol/L and postprandial glucose levels of 5.77 mmol/L was seen in patients taking chromium picolinate. The study showed that blood glucose levels continued to improve each year throughout the six years of the study.
Chromax® chromium picolinate, found in Diachrome and used in these studies, has been recognized as safe by many of the world’s leading government and academic research institutions, including the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the Institute of Medicine and the UK’s Food Standards Agency. In addition, biotin has been deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration and is also Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for use in foods and supplements.
Public release date: 4-Jun-2007
Hot flashes may be welcome sign in women with breast cancer, study says
CHICAGO, June 4, 2007 — Women on tamoxifen therapy who reported having hot flashes were less likely to develop recurrent breast cancer than those who did not report hot flashes, according to a study from the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Moreover, hot flashes were a stronger predictor of outcome than age, hormone receptor status or even how advanced the breast cancer was at diagnosis
Cancer recurrence among women who reported hot flashes was about 12.9 percent, compared with 21 percent for women not reporting hot flashes. These data were consistent across all years of follow-up, regardless of age or menopausal status.
“This study provides the first evidence that hot flashes may be an indicator of a better prognosis in women with early stage breast cancer,” said the study’s senior author, John P. Pierce, Ph.D, director of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center. “Our data support the possibility of a significant association between hot flashes and disease outcome.”
Public release date: 2-Jun-2007
Herb shows potential to reduce cancer-related fatigue
North Central Cancer Treatment Group reports on pilot ginseng study
CHICAGO — North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG) researchers, based at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., have generated preliminary data suggesting that a form of American ginseng provides greater improvements in fatigue and vitality in patients who receive the highest doses tested, compared to lower doses or no treatment.
The results of their scientifically rigorous pilot study, the first to evaluate the Wisconsin species of American ginseng as a possible therapy for cancer-related fatigue, are being presented June 3 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology
The investigators enrolled 282 patients in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial, averaging 71 patients per each of four arms, with between 39 and 48 patients in each arm completing the eight weeks of treatment. Treatment arms consisted of placebo, and three different daily doses of Wisconsin ginseng — 750, 1,000 and 2,000 milligrams.
Of the four treatment arms, patients receiving the placebo and the lowest dose of ginseng reported very little improvement in fatigue or other areas of physical or psychological well-being. The patients receiving the larger doses showed improvements in overall energy levels, reporting higher vitality levels and less interference with activity from fatigue. They also reported an improvement in overall mental, physical, spiritual and emotional well-being.
Public release date: 2-Jun-2007
Flaxseed stunts the growth of prostate tumors
DURHAM, N.C. — Flaxseed, an edible seed that is rich in omega 3-fatty acids and fiber-related compounds known as lignans, is effective in halting prostate tumor growth, according to a study led by Duke University Medical Center researchers. The seed, which is similar to a sesame seed, may be able to interrupt the chain of events that leads cells to divide irregularly and become cancerous.
“Our previous studies in animals and in humans had shown a correlation between flaxseed supplementation and slowed tumor growth, but the participants in those studies had taken flaxseed in conjunction with a low-fat diet,” said Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., a researcher in Duke’s School of Nursing and lead investigator on the study. “For this study, we demonstrated that it is flaxseed that primarily offers the protective benefit.”
The researchers will present their results on Saturday, June 2, during a news briefing at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, in Chicago. The multisite study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, also involved researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In the study, the researchers examined the effects of flaxseed supplementation on men who were scheduled to undergo prostatectomy — surgery for the treatment of prostate cancer. The men took 30 grams of flaxseed daily for an average of 30 days prior to surgery. Once the men’s tumors were removed, the researchers looked at tumor cells under a microscope, and were able to determine how quickly the cancer cells had multiplied.
12 Jun 2007
Folic Acid Supplements Cut Stroke Risk
Folic acid supplementation may reduce the risk of stroke by 18 percent or more, but it’s not clear whether it boosts outcomes for other cardiovascular conditions, researchers say.
For the new research, a U.S. team reviewed eight studies of folic acid supplementation, which lowers concentrations of homocysteine in the blood. High homocysteine levels are believed to increase the risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and deep vein thrombosis.
Professor Xiaobin Wang, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues found that folic acid supplementation reduced the risk of stroke by an average of 18 percent.
Even greater risk reduction were noted when treatment lasted more than 36 months (29 percent lower risk); when homocysteine levels were reduced by more than 20 percent (23 percent lower risk); or if a patient had no previous history of stroke (25 percent lower risk).
n regions that did not already have supplementation via fortified foods, the introduction of folic acid supplementation reduced stroke risk by 25 percent.
*The review appears in the June 2 issue of The Lancet medical journal.