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Old June 13th, 2002, 22:14
sysadmin sysadmin is offline
Join Date: 2001
Posts: 1,085
June 2 - June 8, 2002

Saturday, June 08, 2002

Probiotics Effective in Preventing Antibiotic Associated Diarrhea
This meta-analysis found that probiotics such as lactobacilli, when given in conjunction with antibiotics, reduce the rate of antibiotic-associated diarrhea by approximately 60%. That is, they helped prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Comment: this analysis found insufficient evidence that probiotics were effective in *treating* antibiotic-associated diarrhea, but state that this issue is worth looking into. [ article ]

Screening All Smokers For Emphysema Recommended
This study of 651 smokers concluded that performing pulmonary function tests on all smokers would be a feasible and reasonable way to screen for emphysema. Comment: 18% of the smokers (1 in 5) were found to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (defined as an FEV1 < 80% of predicted). [ article ]

US to Spend $900 Million USD in Global Fight Against Aids
The US will donate approximately $900 million US dollars to foreign nations this year to help them fight HIV and AIDS. Comment: this money is greatly needed by the countries most affected by AIDS, mainly located in Africa. [ article ]

Weight Gain Linked to Breast Cancer
Weight gain after age 20 has been found to be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, according to a Canadian study of 2470 women. This study also found that obesity after menopause was also associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Comment: another good reason to have a diet high in vegetables. [ article ]

Honey Not Effective in Treating Hayfever
This double-blind study of 36 people with hayfever found that local honey, pateurized honey, and fake honey made from corn syrup all were equally effective in controlling symptoms. Comment: despite the fokelore, locally grown, unpasteurized, unfiltered honey was no better than a corn syrup honey during the 30 week study period. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2002;88(2):198.

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

Experts Recommend Voluntary Smallpox Vaccination
Experts speaking at a forum hosted by the Cato Institute recommended voluntary smallpox vaccination by US citizens. The "ring vaccination" method currently being endorsed by the CDC recommends vaccination based on geographical proximity to the initial person infected with smallpox, forming a ring of immunity around the infection. The experts say that in our mobile society, basing vaccination on geographical proximity probably won't work. Although this method worked in the distant past, at that time mass transportation, interstate highways, and air travel wasn't present. These factors, according to the experts, make the "ring vaccination" strategy no longer viable. [ article ]

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Cholesterol Medications May Also Lower Fracture Risk
This study from the Archives of Internal Medicine looked at 1370 women and found that those taking a statin medication to lower their cholesterol also experienced fewer fractures. Comment: this finding shows an association, but not a causal relationship. For example, those taking the cholesterol medication may simply have been more health conscious, and taken measures at home to reduce fractures such as adequate lighting and safe floors. [ article ]

Eczema Responds to Short Course Therapy
This study of 174 children with atopic eczema found that a short course (3 days) of a potent topical steroid was as effective as a longer term treatment (7 days) with a mild topical steroid. The topical steroids used were betamethasone valerate 0.1% (potent) and hydrocortisone 1% (mild). [ article ]

Ramipril Recommended to Prevent Stroke in High Risk Patients
This editorial from the British Medical Journal recommends that all high risk patients (for a stroke) should receive the ace inhibitor ramipril, regardless of their blood pressure. The editorial primarily addresses the results of the paper by Jackie Bosch et al, Use of ramipril in preventing stroke: double blind randomised trial
. Comment: most important is blood pressure control and aspirin treatment. This research paper and editorial suggest that adding ramipril has an additive benefit in preventing stroke. [ article ]

Swiss Legalize First Trimester Abortion
Switzerland has voted to decriminalize abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Comment: this is much different than US law, which allows abortion at any time during pregnancy, even third trimester abortions- which abort fetuses that could live outside of the womb. [ article ]

Breast Cancer Diagnosis "Within Minutes"
Computer specialists and medical doctors are developing a hand-held scanner device that will allow general practitioners and other primary care providers to quickly and easily screen for breast cancer. The technique uses Doppler imaging, and is still under development. [ article ]

Rectal Bleeding Best Evaluated With Colonoscopy
This analysis found that rectal bleeding in anyone 35 years or older is best treated with colonoscopy. A strategy of evaluating patients with a barium enema and flexible sigmoidoscopy also produced the greatest life expectancy. Rectal bleeding was defined as blood in the toilet bowl, on the tissue paper, or mixed with stool. Comment: this analysis found that colonoscopy was the most cost-effective work-up strategy in those 35 years or older. In younger patients, flexible sigmoidoscopy was recommended. This is a surprising finding in that it found that the most aggressive work-up (colonoscopy) was the most cost-effective. Ann Intern Med January 15, 2002;136:99.

Soy Isoflavones Help Relieve Menopausal Symptoms
This study of 82 women aged 45 to 55 years old found that soy isoflavones effectively relieved menopausal symptoms. Furthermore, the soy lowered th women's LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. The isoflavones were given as a 100 mg oral pill. Comment: this is good news given the recent findings that hormone replacement therapy may not be that great. Still, research into soy isoflavones is very preliminary. Obstet Gynecol March 2002;99:389-94.

Monday, June 03, 2002

Diet Worse Now Than During Post-WWII Rationing
Pediatricians in the United Kindom are warning that the current diet of junk food is worse for kids than the diet given children during the post-war rationing. The main offenders are white bread, chips, and sweets. [ article ]

Seaweed May Help Prevent Surgical Infections
A study from Australia found that chemicals in algae can hlep kill bacteria, including methacillin resistent strep A (MRSA). This is an important finding since MRSA is resistant to multiple antibiotics. [ article ]

Magnesium Sulfate Effective in Treating Pre-eclampsia
This study of 10 110 women confirmed that magnesium sulfate is effective in the treatment of pre-eclampsia, effectively reducing maternal mortality by approximately 45%.[ article ]

Repeat Cesarean Section Safer Than Trial of Labor
This review of 313 238 singleton births in Scotland between 1992 and 1997 found that both perinatal death and maternal death rates were increased in women who underwent a trial of labor after having a previous cesarean section with a previous child. It was safer to perform a planned c-section. Comment: the absolute risk still remains very small, however, a repeat c-section was safer than a trial of labor. [ article ]

Obesity Continuing to Increase
This survey from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System randomly selected adults aged 18 and up in 49 US states. The survey found that obesity increased in all states during the study period from 1991 to 2000. [ article ]

Is Celebrex Really Better Than Ibuprofen?
This editorial in the British Medical Journal argues that due to a poor study design, there is insufficient proof that the selective COX-2 inhibitors celecoxib and rofecoxib are any better at decreasing gastrointestinal bleeding than traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The major trial that made the claims of improved safety of the selective COX-2 inhibitors was funded by Pharmacia, the manufacturer of Celebrex. Comment: this editorial highlights the dangers of poor peer-review. The study showing superiority of the selective COX-2 inhibitors was published in JAMA, and widely publicized. This led to an explosion in prescribing the much more expensive medications (in part due to malpractice concerns). Thus, a poorly done study has led to the needless expense of a newer, but no more effective class of medications according to this editorial. [ article ]

TV Watching Increases Eating Disorders
This study from the British Journal of Psychiatry found that television watching increases eating disorders among girls. [ article ]

Knowing the Facts Most Effective at Preventing Alcohol and Drug Abuse
A study presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Prevention Research concludes that giving kids the facts on how to prevent drug abuse is the best way to decrease drug abuse. Scare tactics aren't as effective. [ article ]

Skin Cancer Risks Being Ignored
This survey of 10 079 teens found that only a third of the mostly white kids routinely used sunscreen, 10% used tanning beds, and most had suffered at least one sunburn the previous summer. Comment: regular use of sunscreen in childhood is estimated to reduce the risk of skin cancer significantly, perhaps as much as 75%. [ article ]

Restrictive Laws Fail to Decrease Teen Smoking
This study published in the journal Pediatrics found that laws limiting the sale of cigarettes to teenagers have not decreased the teen smoking rate. The authors conclude that therefore these laws should be abandoned. Comment: this research refutes the holy grail that restrictive laws lead to decreased drug abuse. It is interesting to note that nations that have decriminalized marijuana use do not have higher rates of use than the US does. This suggests that the laws in the US simply lead to more imprisonment but not less usage. This study found that the restrictive tobacco laws simply have increased law-breaking, and not had the desired effect of decreasing smoking. Probably a better way to decrease teen smoking is to increase the excise tax on cigarettes. [ article ]

Bedroom TV's Increase Childhood Obesity
A TV set in the bedroom can be hazardous to a child's health. This study of over 2700 low income parents with preschool aged children found that nearly 40% of the kids had a TV set in their bedroom, increasing their risk of obesity by nearly a third. Comment: this is an incredible finding-- 40% of low income parents chose to put television sets in their child's bedroom. [ article ]

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