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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Preventing, treating common cold: Nothing to sneeze at — ScienceDaily

Preventing, treating common cold: Nothing to sneeze at — ScienceDaily.

 

From the 30 January article

 

What works?

Prevention

  • Clean hands: a review of 67 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) indicated that handwashing, a traditional public health approach, as well as alcohol disinfectants and gloves, is likely effective.
  • Zinc may work for children (and possibly adults) — at least 2 RCTs indicated that children who took 10 or 15 mg of zinc sulfate daily had lower rates of colds and fewer absences from school due to colds. The authors suggest that zinc may also work for adults.
  • Probiotics: there is some evidence that probiotics may help prevent colds, although the types and combinations of organisms varied in the studies as did the formulations (pills, liquids, etc.), making comparison difficult.

Treatment

  • Antihistamines combined with decongestants and/or pain medications appear to be somewhat or moderately effective in treating colds in older children — but not in children under age 5 — and adults.
  • Pain relievers: ibuprofen and acetaminophen help with pain and fever. Ibuprofen appears better for fever in children.
  • Nasal sprays: ipratropium, a drug used to treat allergies and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, may alleviate runny nose when used in a nasal spray but has no effect on congestion.

Other approaches and treatments

According to the evidence, the benefits of frequently used remedies such as ginseng, (found in ColdFX), gargling, vapour rubs and homeopathy are unclear. Cough medicines show no benefit in children but may offer slight benefit in adults. Honey has a slight effect in relieving cough symptoms in children over age 1. Vitamin C and antibiotics show no benefit, and misused antibiotics can have associated harms.

The authors note that the evidence for preventing and treating colds is often of poor quality and has inconsistent results.

“Much more evidence now exists in this area, but many uncertainties remain regarding interventions to prevent and treat the common cold,” write the authors. “We focused on RCTs and systematic reviews and meta-analyses of RCTs for therapy, but few of the studies had a low risk of bias. However, many of the results were inconsistent and had small effects (e.g., vitamin C), which arouses suspicion that any noted benefit may represent bias rather than a true effect.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Canadian Medical Association JournalNote: Materials may be edited for content and length.

English: Original description: "This full...

English: Original description: “This full color 17″x22″ poster is planned for use in doctor’s offices, clinics, other healthcare facilities, and media outlets. It is intended to raise awareness about appropriate antibiotic use for upper respiratory infections in adults. It explains that antibiotics are not the best answer for a cold or flu.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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February 1, 2014 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | Leave a comment

Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Longevity, Surprising Study Shows

The correlation between vitamin D levels and longevity seems to be at least partially genetic.
Lowering levels of Vitamin D (as staying away from tanning beds) in itself does not necessarily lead to longer lives.
However, the authors believe further study is needed.

From the 5 November 2012 article at Science Daily

 Low levels of vitamin D may be associated with longevity, according to a study involving middle-aged children of people in their 90s published in CMAJ(Canadian Medical Association Journal).

We found that familial longevity was associated with lower levels of vitamin D and a lower frequency of allelic variation in the CYP2R1 gene, which was associated with higher levels of vitamin D,” writes Dr. Diana van Heemst, Department of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands, with coauthors.

Previous studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D are associated with increased rates of death, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, allergies, mental illness and other afflictions. However, it is not known whether low levels are the cause of these diseases or if they are a consequence…

Full text of the article is at http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2012/11/05/cmaj.120233.full.pdf+html

Abstract

Background: Low levels of 25(OH) vitamin D are associated with various age-related diseases and mortality, but causality has not been determined. We investigated vitamin D levels in the offspring of nonagenarians who had at least one nonagenarian sibling; these offspring have a lower prevalence of age-related diseases and a higher propensity to reach old age compared with their partners.

Methods: We assessed anthropometric characteristics, 25(OH) vitamin D levels, parathyroid hormone levels, dietary vitamin D intake and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with vitamin D levels. We included offspring (n = 1038) of nonagenarians who had at least one nonagenarian sibling, and the offsprings’ partners (n = 461; controls) from the Leiden Longevity Study. We included age, sex, body mass index, month during which blood sampling was performed, dietary and supplemental vitamin D intake, and creatinine levels as possible confounding factors.

Results: The offspring had significantly lower levels of vitamin D (64.3 nmol/L) compared with controls (68.4 nmol/L; p = 0.002), independent of possible confounding factors. There was no difference in the levels of parathyroid hormone between groups. Compared with controls, the offspring had a lower frequency of a genetic variant in theCYP2R1 gene (rs2060793) (p = 0.04). The difference in vitamin D levels between offspring and controls persisted over the 2 most prevalent genotypes of this SNP.

Interpretation: Compared with controls, the offspring of nonagenarians who had at least one nonagenarian sibling had a reduced frequency of a common variant in theCYP2R1 gene, which predisposes people to high vitamin D levels; they also had lower levels of vitamin D that persisted over the 2 most prevalent genotypes. These results cast doubt on the causal nature of previously reported associations between low levels of vitamin D and age-related diseases and mortality.

 

 

Background: Low lev

 

November 8, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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