Monday, March 5, 2007

What Are the Medical Journals Saying?

This weeks brief synopsis from the medical journals:

Antioxidant Supplements and Mortality

Many people are taking antioxidant supplements, believing it will improve their health and prevent diseases. Researchers in Copenhagen did an extensive review of all studies published worldwide and to see if antioxidant supplements improved health. They included 68 randomized trials with 232,606 participants from 385 publications. The antioxidant supplements were taken orally. Some of them were taken in combination, some alone. Here is what they found: Treatment with beta carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E given singly or combined with other supplements, did not improve health and, in fact, significantly increased mortality. Further randomized trials are needed to establish the effects of vitamin C and selenium. The authors stressed that these results examined only synthetic antioxidants and not the effects of fruits and vegetables.

Pain in Children

Researchers looked at children ages 6-17 who came to an emergency room with musculoskeletal injuries and pain. They found that Ibuprofen provided superior pain relief at one hour compared with Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Codeine in children with fractures. The authors speculate that the anti-inflammatory effect of Ibuprofen may be responsible for its superior pain relief. There was no difference in pain relief in kids with soft tissue injuries.

Malignant Melanoma in Runners

Marathon running has surged in popularity but there are some health risks. Researchers examined 210 athletes and compared them with age and sex matched controls. They found that marathon runners had an increased risk for malignant melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers. Regular use of sunscreen was used in only 56.2% of runners. Potential triggers for skin cancer were UV exposure and immunosuppression due to long-term intensive exercise. It is recommended that runners should reduce UV sun exposure by wearing adequate clothing, using water-resistant sunscreens and choose training schedules with low sun exposure.
Archives of Dermatology

Methadone Deaths Rise

Methadone-related poisoning deaths are increasing far faster than deaths from other types of poisonings. Methadone is often used as a treatment for opioid (heroin) addiction. There is a growing use of the drug as a prescription pain reliever. In November 2006, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a public health advisory noting that methadone can depress breathing or cause changes in heart beat.
Centers for Disease Control

(Note: The recent death of celebrity Anna Nicole Smith may be linked to Methadone.)

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