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STEROIDS NOT HELPFUL FOR CHILDREN’S WHEEZING
Children admitted to hospital with viral wheezing (background episodic wheeze triggered by viral colds) do not benefit from oral steroids, according to a new study. Children admitted to the Leicester Children’s Asthma Centre with serious wheezing were randomised to receive either placebo or prednisolone. There was no significant difference in the two groups for subsequent levels of respiratory symptoms or hospitalisation. (Lancet 2003; 362: 1433-38).
THE DRUGS DON’T WORK
Allen Roses, a
GlaxoSmithKline senior executive, told a scientific conference in
In a study of the medical records of 289 patients in an urban primary care clinic during four 1-month periods, a total of 433 physical symptoms were recorded. Of these, only 52% were explicable in terms of a medical diagnosis. A further 10% were ascribed psychiatric cause, leaving around 38% unexplained. At a one-year follow-up, around a quarter of all reported symptoms persisted, especially in the case of headache and back pain. (Psychosomatics 44:471-478, December 2003).
RISKS OF HOSPITAL CARE
A recent study of data
from 7.45 million patients discharged from 994 acute-care hospitals across 28
DIET & IBS
Two dietary factors may
be implicated in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) according to new research. The
first is fructose, which is found in honey and a variety of fruits; e.g.
grapes, dates, nuts, apple and pear juice etc.). Of 80 patients with IBS, 30
were found to be fructose intolerant. 14 of these, who learnt and then
maintained a fructose-free diet, experienced a significant reduction in
symptoms one year later. 12 who were taught the diet but did not maintain it,
experienced no improvement. In a second study, it was found that patients with
IBS or dyspepsia reported eating more monosaturated fats than people without
such symptoms, suggesting a possible link. (
SCHIZOPHRENIA & OLDER FATHERS
The risk of schizophrenia is higher in children of older men. The records of over 50,000 Swedish army conscripts revealed that the risk of developing schizophrenia increased by 30% for every 10-year increase in paternal age. (Br J Psychiatry 2003 183: 405-408).
DON’T MICROWAVE THAT BROCCOLI
Broccoli is rich in
antioxidant chemicals but it appears that different cooking methods have a
dramatic effect on whether they remain in cooked broccoli. Microwaving resulted
in the loss of 97% of flavonoids, 74% of sinapic acid derivatives and 87% of
caffeoyl-quinic acid derivatives. Boiling resulted in a loss of 66% of
flavonoids, and high pressure boiling in the loss of 47% of caffeoyl-quinic
acid derivatives. Steaming however, had minimal effects, in terms of loss, on
both flavonoid and hydroxycinnamoyl derivative contents. The same researchers
also found that broccoli heads lose 50-80% of their vital nutrient content
between harvest and point of sale. (Journal of the Science of Food and
Agriculture, vol. 83, issue 14, pages: 1511-1516). Researchers from
CUPPING BANNED IN
treatment known as hejama (cupping) is officially banned in Egypt and doctors
who use it face being called before the disciplinary council of Egypt’s
Doctors’ Syndicate and even having their license to practice suspended. One
practitioner has had his clinic closed and his equipment confiscated. Despite
official disapproval, the treatment is popular in
ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION & HEART ATTACK
Erectile dysfunction is associated with a 3.5 times higher risk of heart attack, according to the findings from a 20- year study of more than 2,000 American men. The researchers propose that patients reporting erectile dysfunction should therefore always be assessed for cardiovascular risk. (American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2003).
EXERCISE WHILE YOU ARE STILL YOUNG
A new study has emphasised the importance of establishing fitness while still young. Analysis of data from the long-term CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) study which began in 1985 when participants were aged 18-30 has found that those who were the least fit originally (based on a treadmill test) were twice as likely as those who were fittest to have developed diabetes, hypertension, and metabolic syndrome by the years 2000-2001. Those who had improved their fitness when retested 7 years after the study began were found to have somewhat lowered their risk.(JAMA. 2003;290:3092-3100).
SELF-HELP FOR ACUTE BACK PAIN
Patients with acute lower back pain (less than 90 days duration) who were taught back-strengthening exercises and coping mechanisms for negative emotions such as depression and frustration, reported less disability and fear of movement and reinjury, better mental functioning, and greater physical activity than similar patients receiving standard medical care. All participants were low-income adults living in inner cities. (Arch Intern Med. 2003;163:2632-2638).
STRESS & SURGERY
Suffering from stress
prior to receiving surgery can result in greater post-surgical pain, slower
wound healing and more prolonged recovery, according to a
A telephone questionnaire of nearly 19,000 people in five European countries found that 7.6% of respondees experienced morning headaches (1.3% daily, 4.4% often and 1.9% sometimes). Headaches were more common in women and in the 45-64 years age group. The morning headaches were most significantly associated with anxiety and depression, and also with sleep-related breathing disorders, hypertension, musculoskeletal diseases, use of anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) medication and heavy alcohol consumption. (Arch Intern Med. 2004;164:97-102.)
SILVER CARS, SILVER LINING
A New Zealand study into 571 car crashes (where one or more occupants was admitted to hospital or died) found that silver cars were 50% less likely to be involved in crashes than white cars – previously identified in studies to be themselves less likely to be involved in crashes. Brown cars presented a significantly greater risk, and the risk was also greater with black and green cars. The risk for yellow, grey, red and blue cars was about the same as white cars. Allowance was made in the analysis for factors such as age of driver, sex, educational level, ethnicity, alcohol consumption (in previous six hours), use of recreational drugs, seat-belt use, average time spent driving each week, vehicle speed, vehicle age, engine size, registration, warrant of fitness and vehicle insurance, driving licence status, road type, weather, and prevalent light conditions (day, night, twilight). (BMJ 2003;327:1455-1456).
HOMOEOPATHY FOR ARSENIC POISONING
Arsenic in groundwater
and its accumulation in plants and animals is serious and widespread in large
parts of West Bengal, India and adjoining areas of
In around one third of