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Americans Are Changing Their Supplements of Choice

By Amy Norton

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Oct. 11, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Traditional multivitamins are falling out of favor among Americans, while supplements such as vitamin D, fish oil and probiotics are gaining ground, a new study finds.

Researchers found that between 1999 and 2012, Americans' overall use of supplements remained stable. Slightly more than half of adults said they took vitamins, minerals or some other type of dietary supplement.

What's changed are the products of choice.

Multivitamins and many individual vitamins and minerals are less popular, as are botanicals such as echinacea, ginseng and garlic extracts, the investigators found.

On the other hand, more people are using vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics -- "good" bacteria said to benefit the digestive system.

Researchers said the findings make sense.

"I did expect to see that vitamin D use would go up, and that fish oil would go up," said lead researcher Elizabeth Kantor, an epidemiologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

That's because both have been the focus of a lot of research and media attention in recent years, Kantor pointed out.

Some studies, but not all, have suggested fish oil pills can curb the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular trouble. And studies have hinted that vitamin D could be protective against a range of ills, from cancer to diabetes to multiple sclerosis -- though clinical trials testing those ideas have yet to be finished.

The drop in multivitamin use was less expected, Kantor said. But it also makes sense, she added.

During the study period, a number of studies questioned the value of multivitamins when it comes to preventing major health conditions.

Similarly, antioxidants -- such as vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene -- were once a hot topic. Early studies suggested they might battle ills like heart disease and cancer.

But clinical trials later found either no benefit, or even potential harm, from antioxidants, Kantor's team pointed out in the new report.

The current findings are based on almost 38,000 U.S. adults who took part in a nationally representative government health survey between 1999 and 2012.

日期:2016年10月12日 - 来自[Health News]栏目


April 7, 2016 -- Burnout rates are high among doctors, but there are signs that things may be getting better -- and it isn't all about the money.

In this year's Medscape compensation report, more docs are saying they'd choose medicine again than they did 2 years ago. The highest percentages are among family physicians and internists, who tend to earn less than most doctor groups.

More women are entering the profession, and their income is rising at a higher rate than that of the men. The trend toward higher employment numbers, particularly among younger doctors, may be taking some of the stress off the profession.

Doctor Pay

Nearly 19,200 physicians participated in this year’s survey. The doctor groups at the bottom and top of the earnings list have not changed much over the past 6 years.

In this year’s report, Medscape’s sixth annual, the lowest earners, starting from last place, are pediatricians ($204,000), endocrinologists ($206,000), and family physicians ($207,000). In 2010, those groups were also in the bottom three.

The top three earners this year are orthopedists ($443,000), cardiologists ($410,000), and dermatologists ($381,000). In the 2011 report, orthopedists were also first, followed by radiologists, anesthesiologists, and then cardiologists. Dermatologists were eighth 6 years ago.

In our 2016 report, men still earn more than women, whether they are primary care doctors ($225,000 vs. $192,000, respectively) or specialists ($324,000 vs. $242,000, respectively). But women's earnings increased more between 2012 and 2015 than did men's: 40% for female primary care doctors and 34% for their male peers. For specialists, the percentage increases between those years were 36% for women and 29% for men.

Overall, female doctors make 24% less than their male peers do, although the disparity is less among primary care doctors (15%) than among specialists (25%).

Location and 'Obamacare'

This year, the highest earnings were reported in the North Central ($296,000) and Southeast ($287,000) regions, whereas the lowest were in the Northeast ($266,000) and Mid-Atlantic ($268,000) regions. Uneven distribution of doctors, particularly in primary care, has been a problem for decades in rural and poor communities. Numerous government policies are aimed at improving access to doctors in these areas. As a result, higher incomes are found in these regions.

日期:2016年4月8日 - 来自[Health News]栏目


Feb. 26, 2016 -- Pregnant women who recently traveled to areas where the Zika virus is being spread by mosquitoes are facing a dilemma -- whether or not to get a blood test to check for the infection.

That’s the recommendation by the CDC, even if they don’t show symptoms, don’t remember getting mosquito bites, and never felt ill.

Public health labs around the country are warning doctors that it may take as long as 6 weeks for patients to get results of those tests, resulting in long, anxious waits for information that may be of limited use.

Doctors, too, are resisting the CDC’s advice, afraid women might terminate their pregnancies based solely on blood test results, without waiting for stronger evidence from ultrasound scans that show a fetus has actually been harmed.

A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the Zika virus can cause a devastating birth defect called microcephaly, a condition that causes a baby to be born with an abnormally small head and brain damage. Some children born with severe cases may die soon after birth. Others who live could need a lifetime of medical care, therapy, and support services.

Ultrasound scans often don’t reveal the telltale signs of microcephaly or other birth defects until after the 24th week of pregnancy, when a woman is in her third trimester. That’s well after most states say it’s legal to get an abortion.

“That’s a problem in terms of making a decision about the pregnancy,” says Alfred DeMaria, MD, who directs the public health laboratory for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

DeMaria says some obstetricians have told him they are discouraging patients from getting the blood test, against the CDC’s guidelines.

“What the general public hears is that, 'If I had Zika, I’m going to have a baby with microcephaly,'” DeMaria says. “That’s a false notion.”

Yet new findings out Friday from the CDC suggest that women might be right to be worried. Of the nine confirmed Zika infections in pregnant women who had traveled to other countries and returned to the U.S., only two have resulted in apparently healthy births so far.

日期:2016年2月28日 - 来自[Health News]栏目


By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Feb. 12, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- At first glance, it seems like a small ray of hope in the ongoing Zika epidemic hitting Latin America.

Colombia's president said the other day that there were no signs of brain birth defects involving nearly 3,200 pregnant women in that country who were infected with the mosquito-borne virus.

This, of course, would be good news, given that unborn babies are assumed to bear the primary risk from Zika. The virus has been linked in Brazil to hundreds of cases of microcephaly, a birth defect in which the head and brain are unusually small.

But major public health institutions -- including the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the March of Dimes -- say it's too soon to tell whether the Colombia reports are accurate.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos stated last Saturday that there's no evidence Zika has caused any cases of microcephaly in his country, though 3,177 pregnant women have been diagnosed with the virus.

CDC researchers are fanning out across Central and South America to gather data on the crisis that has been centered in Brazil, and will independently check Santos' claim, said Dr. Edward McCabe, senior vice president and medical director of the March of Dimes.

"Hopefully, we will have information coming through CDC to confirm or not to confirm" Santos' remarks, McCabe said. "If that statement is true, it would be good news. But then we would be left with why are they seeing microcephaly in Brazil and not in other countries."

Since the Zika epidemic first surfaced in Brazil last spring, the virus has spread to 30 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean. The World Health Organization now estimates there could be up to 4 million cases of Zika infection -- but not necessarily microcephaly birth defects -- in the Americas in the next year.

Santos' statement seems to run counter to a growing body of evidence linking Zika to microcephaly, although the connection has not been proven.

日期:2016年2月14日 - 来自[Health News]栏目


By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Efforts to create a Zika vaccine are getting a leg up from lessons learned during earlier battles against other mosquito-borne viruses, U.S. health officials reported Thursday.

Researchers are working on two potential vaccines, each based on earlier vaccines created in response to prior outbreaks of West Nile virus and dengue, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a morning news conference.

"It is to our advantage that we already have existing vaccine platforms to use as a sort of jumping-off point," Fauci said.

A Zika vaccine could be ready for clinical trial by later this year, but Fauci warned that it will likely take years before the vaccine is ready for market.

"It is important to understand that we will not have a widely available safe and effective Zika vaccine this year, and probably not even in the next few years," he said.

There have been no outbreaks in the United States so far of Zika virus, but limited U.S. outbreaks are "possible" and "even likely" given that the same sort of aggressive, day-biting mosquito that spreads Zika is present in the southern United States, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, Schuchat emphasized that the main health concern at this point is for pregnant women who are exposed to the virus.

"Increasing lines of evidence suggest that some women who are infected with Zika during their pregnancy may go on to deliver a baby with a serious brain injury," Schuchat said.

That's why the CDC has issued a health warning urging pregnant women to avoid the more than 20 countries in Central and South America where Zika infection is active, she said. Zika virus also is present in two U.S. territories, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"The virus is spreading throughout the Americas, and we expect more countries to be affected," Schuchat said.

日期:2016年1月30日 - 来自[Health News]栏目


Jan. 20, 2016 -- Scientists are questioning whether people who are unwittingly exposed to ultrasound in everyday situations could face health risks.

Little is known, they say, about how we might be affected by ultrasound -- sound beams given off by devices like door sensors, loudspeakers and overhead speaker systems.

Nausea and Fatigue

Scientists based at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom found that people are being exposed more and more to ultrasound in places such as transit stations, museums, schools, and sports stadiums, in which there have been complaints of nausea, dizziness, migraine headaches, ringing of the ears, and fatigue, they say.

Such reports have been echoed for 40 years by people in the workplace, particularly those exposed to ultrasound from cleaning and drilling devices.

The new study is published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A.

Some experts have their doubts about the research, with one saying there is little evidence that "ultrasonic pollution" is a danger.

Leighton says his main concern is to see new research leading to new guidelines on airborne ultrasound.

The current guidelines on it shouldn’t apply to the general public, he says, because the majority refer to exposure at work, “where workers are aware of the exposure, can be monitored, and can wear protection,” Leighton says in a statement. “Furthermore, the guidelines are based on the average response of small group, often of adult males.”

The guidance is based on evidence collected more than 4 decades ago by researchers, he says. It was used to come up with early guidelines on ultrasound exposure, because there wasn’t enough evidence to say more, he says.

To measure ultrasound levels, Leighton and his team used smartphones and tablets equipped with an app. They measured the levels in several public buildings while they were occupied by hundreds of people.

The team found that people were being exposed to ultrasound levels in excess of 20 kHz, which is the threshold laid down by current guidelines. Twenty kHz is the upper range of human hearing.

"Individuals who are unlikely to be aware of such exposures are complaining, for themselves and their children, of a number of negative conditions,” Leighton says.

日期:2016年1月22日 - 来自[Health News]栏目


By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Jan. 18, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Mass shootings have prompted agony, anger and angst in the United States, causing citizens to ask why these events continue to happen and what can be done to stop them.

There are precious few answers to those questions, and there's at least one strong reason why: For nearly two decades, the U.S. government has declined to fund research into gun violence.

Without that funding, experts say, crucial questions on gun safety and gun violence have been left unanswered.

"People will tell you that we've got lots of laws regarding guns, and they're just not being enforced," said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. "In my mind, that argument falls short, because we're not doing the research to evaluate how those laws are doing, to see how to best enforce them or how they should be tweaked if there's a hole in those laws."

Other important topics that have been left unstudied include design changes that could make guns safer, the number of nonfatal firearm injuries that occur each year, and the effectiveness of safety training for firearms, experts said.

"There are so many things we just don't know anything about," said David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center in Boston. "Any gun-related topic you list, there are huge gaps in our knowledge."

President Barack Obama's recent executive orders issued on firearms will do little to resolve this problem, Hemenway added. Obama's orders focused on improved background checks and effective enforcement of existing gun laws, but only contained a single mention of research to improve gun safety technology.

"Congress controls the funding and they recently eliminated funds in the President's budget for the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) for gun research," Hemenway said.

What many Americans might not know, Benjamin said, is that the trillion-dollar spending bill passed by Congress and signed by Obama in December retained a ban on firearms research that dates to the 1990s.

Elected officials renewed the ban despite then-recent mass shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., and Colorado Springs, Colo., and an outcry from public health officials.

日期:2016年1月20日 - 来自[Health News]栏目

Are We Taking Some Medicines for Too Long?

July 17, 2015 -- At any given time, almost half of all Americans are using at least one prescription drug. That’s not to mention all the over-the-counter medications we take without a prescription.

We take a lot of medicine. But are we using some for too long?

In the long run, some medications can do more harm than good, and prolonged use can mask a larger problem. In some cases, changing your habits may ease the symptoms you’re using the medication for in the first place.

“There are always risks when you take any medicine. That includes over the counter and prescription medications,” says Jack Chou, MD, a family physician at Baldwin Park Medical Center in California. If you have a condition needing long-term treatment, though, the benefits may outweigh the risks.

Check with your doctor before you stop any medication he recommended. Don’t stop abruptly.

Short-Term Medications

Many meds are made to ease minor, temporary problems -- but taking them for too long may cause others. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms if you feel you should take an over-the-counter drug for longer than the time period on its label.


Available both over the counter and in prescription strength, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have long carried warnings about potential heart attack and stroke risks. Earlier this month, though, the FDA decided to strengthen warnings on those medications, which include ibuprofen and naproxen.

After looking at new safety information, the agency determined the risks are greater than first thought, and are seen even with short-term use and in people without a history of heart disease.

“The risk appears greater at higher doses,” according to the FDA. “Use the lowest effective amount for the shortest possible time.”

Talk to your doctor before you stop taking NSAIDs or if you feel you need them for an extended period, experts say. Ask why you’re taking the drug and if there are other options.

Benadryl and Other Anticholinergics

Over-the-counter diphenhydramine, found in Benadryl and some sleep aids, is an anticholinergic. So are some prescription antidepressants, bladder control medications, and drugs for Parkinson’s disease. A recent study found that taking any drug in this category for 3 years or more could raise your risk of getting dementia by more than 50%.

日期:2015年7月22日 - 来自[Health News]栏目
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