Health Updates 31 May 2011

  • Fish oil supplements really do ease joint inflammation: “There is considerable research on fish oils and the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis, as well as some limited early research on fish oils and osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, said Dr. Sheldon S. Hendler, co-editor of the PDR for Nutritional Supplements.  ‘Daily ingestion of at least three grams of a mixture of EPA and DHA for 12 weeks or longer has been found to reduce morning stiffness and the number of tender joints in those with rheumatoid arthritis’, Dr. Hendler said.  Those treated were reported to reduce or discontinue use of nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs”.  (NY Times)
  • Oncologists react to cost-cutting recommendations: “One way to curb rising cancer costs may be to cut back on chemotherapy regimens – specifically if they’re producing no effects after three consecutive rounds.  That’s one of 10 recommendations put forth in the New England Journal of Medicine commentary by Thomas Smith, MD, and Bruce Hillner, MD of Virginia Commonwealth University – who may be trying to spark debate just ahead of this year’s annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. ‘We must find ways to reduce the costs of everyday care to allow more people and advances to be covered without bankrupting the healthcare system’ they wrote.  To achieve that, the researchers outlined 10 recommendations for oncologists: five regarding behavior and five focusing on attitudes and practice”. (Kristina Fiore, MedPage Today)
  • Pharmaceutical giant to give $5.7 million toward health programs in poor countries: “Fulfilling a promise made several years ago, the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, based in London, will use 20% of the profits it made in the world’s poorest countries to finance health care initiatives, the company announced last week.”  The funds will be given over to partnerships in 37 countries in Africa and Asia with three nonprofit groups: Save the Children, Care International UK and Amref.  (NY Times)
  • Increased protein intake does not strain kidneys: A study published in The Annals of Internal Medicine looked at the protein intake of 1,624 women over an ll-year period and “found that high protein diets did not cause any problems in women with normal kidney function.  But in women who had ‘mild renal insufficiency’, consuming large amounts of protein accelerated renal decline.” Those considering a high-protein diet should first undergo a physical and a kidney function test to check for any underlying problems. (Anahad O’Connor, NY Times)

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