Dec
01
2002

Folic Acid In Cereal Reduces Abnormalities Of The Brain and Spine In The Unborn Child

In 1998 the Canadian government approved the mandatory addition of folic acid in cereal products as studies in the past had shown that pregnant women did not always take their prenatal folic acid supplements to prevent neural tube defects (abnormalities in brain and spine formation).

A total of 336,963 children of women who were either pregnant before or after the 1998 folic acid fortification program was institued, were screened for open neural tube defects. The result was that prior to the legislation there were 113 cases per 100,000 pregnancies. After 1998 there were only 58 per 100,000 pregnancies found.

Dr. Joel G. Ray from the Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Center in Toronto who was the lead researcher stated that a food fortification program with folic acid in addition to the regular prenatal folic acid tablet supplementation is essential. To a large extent this will prevent these devastating congenital malformations that cause disabilities or death.

Folic Acid In Cereal Reduces Abnormalities Of The Brain In The Unborn Child

Folic Acid In Cereal Reduces Abnormalities Of The Brain In The Unborn Child

Based on: Lancet 2002;360:2047-2048.

Comments: It is also important for women to know that folic acid tablets need to be taken already before, around and after conception to be most effective with regard to preventing brain and spinal malformations. The nervous tissue is one of the fastest growing tissues in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Any deficiency of cell differentiation, for which folic acid is an essential ingredient, has devastating longterm consequences for the child.

Last edited December 10, 2012

Dec
01
2002

Study Shows Echinacea Not Effective For The Common Cold

A study shows echinacea not effective for the common cold. 148 college students participated in this experiment at the University of Wisconsin. The researchers wanted to see whether Echinacea was more effective than placebo (“fake pills” with no herb in it). The Annals of Internal Medicine (Ann Intern Med 2002;
137:939-946,1001-1002) published this study recently.

How they did the experiment

The students were given 1 Gram capsules of a mixture of Echinacea herbs that can he bought in health food stores. With the onset of the common cold the students were given 1 capsule 6 times daily for the first day and three times daily from the second to the 10th day. The researchers examined all the students in the placebo group and the Echinacea group for symptoms, duration of the cold and the severity of the cold. The mean duration for both groups was 6 days. None of the criteria in measuring the severity of the cold symptoms were different in both groups. Dr. Barrett, the lead investigator concluded that there was no measurable difference between the two groups, but added that the findings of this trial should not be “the last word” on Echinacea. More studies need to investigate this matter.

Study Shows Echinacea Not Effective For The Common Cold

Study Shows Echinacea Not Effective For The Common Cold

Conclusion

Here is the problems with the study.  The investigators assumed that a placebo pill would not have an effect. However, countless other studies have shown that a placebo often has a 15% to 20% effect. On the other hand it is difficult to have another control for this by not taking any pill. It would be obvious to the subject in the trial that they are the negative control. A negative placebo effect would kick in. So, don’t stop taking Echinacea yet, if you have been taking this normally to treat a common cold. But those of you never took it in the past, you may want to wait first. See what other studies will say in future regarding Echinacea.

Last edited September 16, 2018

Nov
01
2002

WAVE Trial Failed To Show Benefits Of Estrogen (Premarine) And Vitamins

Dr. David D. Waters of the University of California at San Francisco reported in Chicago at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Session 2002 about the WAVE trial. This stands for “Women’s Angiographic Vitamin and Estrogen” trial.

The results of this study were simultaneously published in the Journal of the American Medical Association(JAMA 2002;288:2432-2440). It was a “carefully designed randomized study” where 423 women with established blood vessel damage to their hearts (established by angiography) were put on a therapy and then followed for an average of 2.8 years. Essentially the question was whether or not estrogen (Premarine) and vitamins (Vit.E and C) would have a protective effect on the blood vessels. Surprisingly the worst outcome was in the group with estrogen replacement and vitamins. The placebo group (=no estrogen, only vitamins) had the lowest death rate. The authors felt that the beneficial effect of estrogen (speak “Premarine”) on heart vessels could not been verified in this study. The take home message to the physicians at the conference was that they should concentrate on lowering the known risk factors: weight reduction, blood pressure control, cholesterol lowering and increasing exercise. Estrogen should be given in low doses (Premarine 0.625mg per day) only to those women who are symptomatic with hot flashes, but not to every postmenopausal woman.

WAVE Trial Failed To Show Benefits Of Estrogen (Premarine) And Vitamins

WAVE Trial Failed To Show Benefits Of Estrogen (Premarine) And Vitamins

NOTE : This group of postmenopausal women is a selection of women more likely suffering from hyperinsulinism with a higher rate of cardiovascular disease (and also arthritis and possibly a higher risk for cancer as well). The most logical therapy for these women is to work on weight loss, to increase exercise and to change their diet to a zone diet as this is known to lower cholesterol. Hoping to cure these women with estrogen or vitamin manipulation alone does not make “medical common sense” to me. Also, those women who had not had a hysterectomy were not dealt with as a separate group, although they were put on medroxyprogesterone acetate (Prempro). This is called a “confounding bias” and should have been openly discussed, which it was not. This means the WAVE trial made waves, but it was not a properly designed randomized study.

You may want to read these useful related links to chapters of my free Internet based Nethealthbook: For links to arteriosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes see this link: http://nethealthbook.com/cardiovascular-disease/heart-disease/atherosclerosis-the-missing-link-between-strokes-and-heart-attacks/
For a link to hyperinsulinism follow this link:
http://www.nethealthbook.com/articles/hormonalproblems_diabetesmellitus.php

Last edited October 25, 2014

Nov
01
2002

Heart Attack And Stroke Risk Measured With C-Reactive Protein

An old blood test that has been popular in assessing how aggressive rheumatic illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus are, is now considered as the newest test to assess the risk of heart attacks. Up to now subfractions of cholesterol, in particular the LDL cholesterol level, has been used to assess the risk for a heart attack, but this according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine (Nov. 14, 2002) by Dr. Paul Ridker should be supplemented by a blood test checking for the C-reactive protein. What is interesting about the C-reactive protein is that it originates from certain lining cells in blood vessels of liver tissue when inflammatory substances circulate in the body. Other research has shown in the past that arteriosclerosis is in part due to an inflammatory process in the lining of the blood vessels that leads to the production of the C-reactive protein. Unfortunately other chronic illnesses and infections also lead to an elevation of the C-reactive protein as does the common cold or the flu. However, when 28,000 women of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study were followed for 8 years it turned out that the C-reactive protein was a more reliable predictor for who would eventually suffer from a stroke or a heart attack than the traditional LDL cholesterol. The investigators felt that the LDL cholesterol is predictive for who is more likely to develop fatty deposits (atheromatous plaques). On the other hand the C-reactive protein appears to be more predictive for who is at a high risk for rupture of these atheromatous plaques. The bottom line is prevention by eating a diet with less fatty meats, by eating more fruit and vegetables and by engaging in an exercise program.

Heart Attack And Stroke Risk Measured With C-Reactive Protein

Heart Attack And Stroke Risk Measured With C-Reactive Protein

Some patients need their cholesterol reduced with medication such as the statins. You may want to browse through these useful related links to chapters of my free Internet based Nethealthbook: For more details regarding the use of the C-reative protein test in rheumatoid arthritis see this link: http://www.nethealthbook.com/articles/rheumatologicaldisease_rheumatoidarthritis.php Regarding arteriosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes follow this link: http://www.nethealthbook.com/articles/cardiovasculardisease_heartdisease.php

Last edited December 10, 2012

Nov
01
2002

New Research Shows That Coffee Drinking Is Healthy

Forget what somebody may have whispered into your ear in the past,namely that coffee drinking would be bad for you. Dr. Rob M. van Dam and Dr.Edith J. M. Feskens from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven, theNetherlands, have recently completed a prospective study with a large number of participants.

The results were published in the Lancet 2002;360:1477-1478. The goal of the study was to see whether coffee consumption would have a positive or negative effect on the development of diabetes (type 2 or mature onset diabetes). Approximately 17,000 men and women were followed along over a period of time and 306 new cases of diabetes were detected. The average consumption of coffee was 5 cups per day. There was a striking difference between those who drank 7 cups of coffee per day and those who drank 2 cups or less per day: With 7 cups per day there was a 50 % LESSER risk of developing diabetes. The authors pointed out that it is known that some of the active ingredients in coffee are: the bioflavonoids, chlorogenic acid, the minerals magnesium and potassium, and vitamin B3.

New Research Shows That Coffee Drinking Is Healthy

New Research Shows That Coffee Drinking Is Healthy

Chlorogenic acid and magnesium have been known in the past to have a stabilizing effect on glucose metabolism thus preventing diabetes.The authors were surprised though about the magnitude of the diabetes protective effect. They suggested that
other authors should do further studies to confirm their findings and to attempt to pinpoint the mechanism of action. In the meantime they cautioned that it would be premature to recommend to increase coffee consumption for everybody.

Useful related link to a chapter of my free Internet based Nethealthbook: http://nethealthbook.com/health-nutrition-and-fitness/

Last edited October 25, 2014

Oct
01
2002

Harp Music After Heart Or Chest Surgery Reduces Pain By Seventy Percent

Believe it or not: Harp music following serious chest or heart surgery in 17 patients leads to pain relief according to Aragon and colleagues. They reported this mid September 2002 (Altern Ther Health Med 2002;8:p.52-60) and they were measuring blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate as well as pain and anxiety by psychological assessments to measure the effect on pain perception after listening to 20 minutes of harp music. The pain reduction was about 70% at the end of a 20 minute session and lasted at least 10 minutes (when the 20 minute and 30 minute point from the beginning of the harp music session were compared). This experiment documents the relaxation response, which is known from hypnotherapy as well and can also be brought on by meditation, yoga or prayer. The authors suggest that music therapy following surgeries could be utilized to promote healing and to reduce complications. Other health care settings where such a therapy might be useful would be in the treatment of anxiety disorders, where a reduction in anti-anxiety drugs under psychiatric guidance may be achievable.

Harp Music After Heart Or Chest Surgery Reduces Pain By Seventy Percent

Harp Music After Heart Or Chest Surgery Reduces Pain By Seventy Percent

Self hypnosis tapes can play an integral part of the mental readiness for an exercise program or a weight loss program as this site explains: On self hypnosis (nethealthbook.com)

Last edited October 25, 2014

Oct
01
2002

Smog From City Roads Reduces Your Life Expectancy 2-Fold

Our ancestors already knew the benefits of fresh air and the fact that your grandmother likely knew: country living is healthier than city living. Let me qualify this somewhat: A recent study from the Netherlands showed that smog in cities has a detrimental effect on a person’s health (based on Lancet 2002;360:p.1203-1209). Dr. Gerard Hoek and his team from the Utrecht University revisited a group of about 5000 patients 15 years after the completion of a lung cancer study that was done in 1986 on these patients.

The authors looked up the addresses and classified two groups based on where these patients lived in 1986, either beside a busy congested road in the city or in a rural country area. 11% of the patient population had died of lung or heart disease during this period of time. When all of the other factors were kept constant and only the area where they lived was different, these authors found a significant 2-fold difference, which was attributed to chronic exposure to air pollution from traffic. The main reasons for this difference, they stated, was due to chronic exposure to black smoke and nitrogen dioxide from the exhaust fumes of cars. This study showed that air pollution by itself can double the death rate over a longer time period such as 15 years. In other words: It matters what you breathe! Useful related links to chapters of my free Internet based Nethealthbook:

Smog From City Roads Reduces Your Life Expectancy 2-Fold

Smog From City Roads Reduces Your Life Expectancy 2-Fold

Cardiovascular Disease:
http://www.nethealthbook.com/articles/cardiovasculardisease_heartdisease.php

Lung Cancer: http://www.nethealthbook.com/articles/cancer_lungcancer.php

Last edited December 10, 2012

Oct
01
2002

More Exercise Leads To More Health

Based on an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 2002;288:p.1994-2000) Dr. Mihaela Tanasescu and his group from Loma Linda University in California have followed more than 44,000 health care professionals every 2 years for 12 years.

He asked the question whether a difference could be found between light, moderate or heavy exercise in the prevention of heart attacks.

Here is what they found: 1700 new cases of heart attacks as a result from hardening of arteries were mostly found in those who did NOT exercise or were in the LIGHT aerobic category. The more the persons exercised, the more pronounced the heart protective effect was. For instance, the group of men who engaged in a heavy exercise program had developed 17% less heart disease than the group with the light exercise program. Contrary to the marathon runner studies that had reported a detrimental effect at the high end, this study did not find this effect.

Also, this study is one of the first to show that weight training and other muscle strengthening activities also reduced strokes and heart attacks. Up to now the medical community was of the opinion that body building type muscle training might not prevent strokes or heart attacks.

More Exercise Leads To More Health

More Exercise Leads To More Health

The authors concluded that a combination of aerobic exercises(brisk walking, running, sports etc.) with muscle strengthening exercises(body building, stretching exercises, weight lifting etc.) will give the most beneficial heart protecting health effect. Try these useful related links to chapters of my free Internet based Nethealthbook:

Hardening of the arteries:
http://www.nethealthbook.com/articles/cardiovasculardisease_heartdisease.php

Fitness:
http://nethealthbook.com/health-nutrition-and-fitness/fitness/

Last edited October 25, 2014