Monday, November 28, 2016

Added Risk for Measles Infections Before One Year of Age

Dr. James Cherry of UCLA Medical School was the lead author of a study that found that babies who get the measles before being vaccinated have a higher incidence of a terrible fatal complication called subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE).  MMR vaccines cannot be given prior to 15 months of age.  Whether parents vaccinate with MMR or not, their children might have a small risk of this complication if a child gets infected at an early age.  Homeopathics might offer some protection, but they were not included in the study.

See Washington Post Article, October 29, 2016.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cranberries Falsely Accused of Being Ineffective

A study published on-line by the AMA claimed that a “rigorous” study disproved that cranberries can be helpful in preventing recurrent urinary tract infections.  The study was limited to nursing home patients and did not target women who were known to be susceptible to infections.  Treated patients were given only 2 pills a day, while double that amount would more likely be effective.  There were only 10-12 infections in the two groups and more occurred in the placebo group.  Other studies have shown beneficial effects.  This study was guilty of the “weak science” that it claimed to debunk.  In my experience, cranberry supplements (without sugar) can be effective in selected patients.  If that does not work, d-mannose is another choice.

See Associated Press article in the Toledo Blade, October 29, 2016, section A, p.7.


Monday, November 14, 2016

A Good Night’s Sleep is Essential to Treat Hypertension

Those patients with hypertension who sleep less than 5 hours sleep per night have a 4-fold increased risk for all-cause mortality.  It is crucial for these patients to get at least 6 hours of sleep per night.
See Family Practice News, February 15, 2016, p. 28-29.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Statin Drugs Might not Benefit Patients at Risk for Heart Attacks

Statin drugs (or red yeast rice supplements) do give some benefit to patients who have already suffered a heart attack.  However, proof is lacking and inconsistent that statins are effective in the prevention of cardiovascular events for patients that have elevated risk scores.  Despite this lack of evidence, millions of patients are being treated with these drugs.  This increases the cost of care and exposes patients to side effects from the drugs.  Evidence-based medicine is being ignored for true prevention.  You would be better off donating a unit of blood twice a year.

See Dubroff, Statin Therapy and Cardiovascular Risk, The American Journal of Medicine, March 2016, p. 235-7.