Pertussis, known as whooping cough, is one of the most commonly occurring vaccine-preventable diseases. Whooping cough, an extremely contagious illness, is characterized by severe coughing fits that can last for weeks. Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) reports that 21,000 Americans had whooping cough in 2010. Many of the whooping cough cases occurred among children and teens. This is the highest rise in cases since 2005 and among the worst in more than fifty years. “Since the 1980s, there’s been an increase in the number of cases of pertussis, especially among teens (10-19 years of age) and babies younger than 6 months of age,” states the CDC, in a CDC news release . “In 2010, several states reported an increase in cases and/or localized outbreaks of pertussis, including a state-wide epidemic in California.” Most American children have been vaccinated against whooping cough. However, vaccination rates are lower for teens and adults
The randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study, published in the European Heart Journal (2005, vol. 26, no. 21), investigated the effect of long-term multiple nutrient supplementation on left ventricular (LV) heart function, inflammatory cytokine levels, and quality-of-life (QoL) in elderly patients with CHF. British and German researchers administered daily either high-dose micronutrients including calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, selenium, vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B(6), folate, vitamin B(12), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, and Coenzyme Q10, or a placebo, to 30 elderly subjects with stable CHF, for 9 months. Quality of life questionnaires, blood samples, six-minute walk test, and cardiac magnetic resonance scanning to evaluate cardiac function were obtained from the participants at the beginning and end of the study. The researchers found that the nutrient supplement group had improved LV heart function and quality of life, compared to the placebo group. The placebo group reported a decrease in quality of life.
Previous studies suggest that a major cause of male infertility may be due to oxidative stress (free radical cell damage) . About 30 to 80 percent of male infertility is associated with harmful effects of free radicals (toxic byproducts of metabolic functions) on sperm. Antioxidants neutralize harmful free radicals and protect against inflammation and chronic disease. Now research reports that antioxidant supplementation by men may improve fertility. The review, published in T he Cochrane Library, examined the effectiveness of antioxidant supplementation in male partners of couples undergoing assisted reproduction techniques (ART). Researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand reviewed 34 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) including 2,876 couples undergoing ART such as in vitro fertilization. Most of the men had reduced sperm counts and motility
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies are non-traditional health services including acupuncture, homeopathy, massage therapy, chiropractic, diet and lifestyle changes, and herbal medicine. Now research reports that more Americans are using complementary and alternative medicine therapies. The greatest increase occurred among non-Hispanic whites and Asians. The CAM boom may be due to increased awareness and licensing of the therapies and rising conventional health care costs. The study, published in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, examined trends in complementary and alternative medicine therapies use. The researchers analyzed survey data from the 2002 and 2007 national Health Interview Survey.
A previous study found that diet soda may be associated with increased risk of metabolic syndrome, a condition linked to heart disease and diabetes. Now research reports that diet soda may be linked to heart problems, including a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Researchers don’t know yet what may be in diet sodas that leads to heart problems. However, experts recommend that people with risk factors for heart disease may want to skip diet sodas and drink water instead. The study, presented at the� American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles, examined the association between vascular events and soda intake. Researchers at Columbia University in New York and University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami, analyzed data of 2,564 participants over 40 years old enrolled in the Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS) from 1993 through 2001 and continue to be followed. Food frequency questionnaires and physical exams were obtained from the participants. The researchers asked participants how much soda and what kind of soda they drank
More than 60% of people will develop varicose veins, with women more likely than men. Varicose veins, a type of venous insufficiency, are swollen, damaged veins near the surface of the skin. Now research reports that pycnogenol can help treat and prevent varicose vein symptoms including swelling and leg pain. Pycnogenol, derived from French maritime pine bark (Pinus pinaster), contains potent flavonoids called proanthocyanidins (PCOs) that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.� The study, published in Phytomedicine, investigated the effect of pycnogenol in patients with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Italian researchers at Chieti-Pescara University, administered daily either 150 mg pycnogenol, elastic stockings (compression) alone or both pycnogenol and elastic stockings to 98 patients with CVI symptoms for 8 weeks.� THe researchers found that both pycnogenol groups had greater improvement in CVI symptoms including leg swelling and pain than the elastic stocking group. Furthermore, the combination pycnogenol and elastic stocking group had significantly better results than pycnogenol alone or elastic stockings alone. “No side-effects were observed; compliance and tolerability were very good,” the study authors write
A great number of studies have supported the fact that fat intake effects cardiovascular disease risk. Altering the diet from one high in saturated fats to more monounsaturated fats lowers lipid profiles. This is a protective effect. Most studies have not examined the effects of saturated versus monounsaturated fats on blood pressure. Researchers in Denmark examined the effect of diet on blood pressure in healthy subjects. Each participant was randomized to one of two groups. The first received a diet high in saturated fats, while the second received a diet high in monounsaturated fats.
Numerous studies have proven the health benefits of soy protein and soy isoflavones in women. It has shown to reduce lipid profiles in women, improve antioxidant status, protect bones, and modulate hormones. There is a relatively low amount of evidence supporting any of these health claims in men. A recent study from Canada examined the effects of soy protein and soy isoflavones on lipid profiles in young men. The study, published in the February issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found some positive effects in men. The study enrolled 35 men with an average age of 28 years. Researchers tested the effect of soy protein versus milk protein on lipid profiles as well as soy protein high in isoflavones versus low in isoflavones
Patients with increasingly common conditions such as high cholesterol, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes mellitus, high levels of homocysteine (a risk factor for cardiovascular disease), vascular inflammation and those who smoke, may all suffer from a common underlying problem. An identified pathway involving metabolism of arginine, a naturally occurring amino acid, may contribute to the damage done to the blood vessel walls by these chronic disorders and conditions. The injury that occurs in the blood vessels is what causes cardiovascular disease as well as other disease conditions like erectile dysfunction (impotence). Researchers theorized that supplementation with L-arginine could possibly reduce symptoms and improve function of the vascular system in patients with symptoms or conditions that are the result of vascular dysfunction. An article published in Alternative Medicine Review (2005;10(1):14-23) summarizes the research to date on the benefit of supplementation with L-arginine for individuals with vascular problems. Initially, studies in diseased animals demonstrated improvements in vascular system functioning.
The large-population study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (2006, vol 354, no 7), investigated the effect of calcium and vitamin D supplementation on hip fracture risk in healthy postmenopausal women. Researchers from the Ohio State University Medical Center administered 1000 milligrams of calcium carbonate with 400 IU of vitamin D3 daily or a placebo to 36,282 postmenopausal women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study, for 7 years. The researchers measured the participants’ bone mineral density and fractures were ascertained. The researchers found that hip bone density was 1 percent higher in the calcium and vitamin D group, as compared with the placebo group. Findings also revealed that the calcium and vitamin D group had a 12 percent reduction in hip fracture risk, compared to the placebo group. However, the calcium and vitamin D group had a 29 percent reduction in hip fracture risk, when data from participants who didn’t adhere to the medication regimen was removed from the analysis. “The findings provide evidence of a positive effect of calcium with vitamin D on bone health in older postmenopausal women,” the study authors conclude. REFERENCES: 1