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Study: Vitamin E may help Alzheimer's patients
December 31st, 2013
04:00 PM ET

Study: Vitamin E may help Alzheimer's patients

There is no cure for Alzheimer's, nor is there an effective method of reversing symptoms such as memory loss, disorientation and difficulties in organizing thoughts. But a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests there may be some hope for improvement in these patients, in the form of vitamin E.

The study authors say that this is the first demonstration of vitamin E benefiting Alzheimer's patients with mild to moderate disease. However, they caution that it doesn't prove that the vitamin is always effective and therefore should not be universally recommended.

“This is a well done study by a solid research group," said Maria Carrillo, vice president of Medical and Scientific Relations at the Alzheimer’s Association, in a statement. "The results are positive enough to warrant more research to replicate and confirm these findings, but should not change current medical practice. No one should take vitamin E for Alzheimer’s except under the supervision of a physician."

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Testosterone treatment could be dangerous to the heart
A new study links testosterone therapy to an increased risk of heart problems.
November 5th, 2013
04:27 PM ET

Testosterone treatment could be dangerous to the heart

It’s become the hot new treatment for older men. “T,” or testosterone replacement therapy, has been touted as the new way to turn back a man’s body clock and improve his sexual performance.  

But there may be trouble in paradise, according to new research.  In a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, scientists have found that men taking testosterone therapy had a 29% greater risk of death, heart attack and stroke  than those who were not on the hormone replacement.

The study included 8,709 men with low testosterone levels, who underwent coronary angiography, a procedure used to open narrow or blocked coronary arteries, in the Veterans Affairs (VA) system between 2005 and 2011. Some were found not to have blockages.

Researchers found the number of patients experiencing heart problems such as attacks and strokes three years after their angiographies, was 19.9% for those who were not on testosterone and 25.7% for those who were.  Even when scientists accounted for other factors in the patients’ health, the increase of heart events in those on testosterone therapy was significant, according to the study.

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Vitamin B may lower stroke risk
September 19th, 2013
02:33 PM ET

Vitamin B may lower stroke risk

New evidence suggests taking vitamin B supplements may help reduce the risk of stroke.

A study, published this week in the online issue of Neurology, analyzed 14 randomized clinical trials of vitamin B that included a total of 54,913 participants. All of the studies compared the supplement use with a placebo or a very low-dose B vitamin. The patients were then followed for a minimum of six months.

The purpose of this meta-analysis was to see if vitamin B lowered homocysteine levels in the blood, which are associated with atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries), as well as an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clot formation and possibly Alzheimer's disease.

"Previous studies have conflicting findings regarding the use of vitamin B supplements and stroke or heart attack," said study author Dr. Xu Yuming, with Zhengzhou University in Zhengzhou, China. "Some studies have even suggested that the supplements may increase the risk of these events."
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Breast-fed babies need Vitamin D supplements
April 30th, 2013
03:32 PM ET

Breast-fed babies need Vitamin D supplements

Most new moms aim to breast-feed their babies - a practice encouraged by experts who tout the many health benefits of breast milk.

But breast milk is not perfect when it comes to vitamin D. A new study published Tuesday in a special edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association focusing on child health reiterates that breast-fed babies also need a vitamin D supplement.

The current recommendations to give babies being fully or partially breast-fed 400 IU, or International Units, of vitamin D each day "is quite satisfactory," said lead study author and registered dietitian Hope Weiler of McGill University in Canada. FULL POST


Task force: Evidence for Vitamin D, calcium supplements lacking
The task force found evidence that Vitamin D and calcium supplements increase the risk of developing kidney stones.
February 26th, 2013
10:49 AM ET

Task force: Evidence for Vitamin D, calcium supplements lacking

You’ve seen it added to cereal boxes, gallons of milk and bottles of orange juice. Experts tout its benefits – from strong bones to a strong immune system – and warn of the dangers of Vitamin D deficiency.

The public relations push is working; between 2002 and 2011, sales of vitamin D supplements increased from $42 million to $605 million, according to the Nutrition Business Journal.

New recommendations from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force could bump those sales even higher, or - if critics are right - confuse consumers as they head down the pharmacy aisle.

After completing a review of existing research, the USPSTF, an independent panel of doctors and experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine, is advising against taking moderate amounts of Vitamin D and calcium supplements because there is not enough evidence to prove the supplements reduce the risk of bone fractures.
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Multivitamins may prevent cancer in men
Researchers aren't sure that the results will be seen in other groups of people, such as women or smokers.
October 17th, 2012
10:53 AM ET

Multivitamins may prevent cancer in men

Taking a multivitamin may help prevent cancer in healthy middle-aged men, according to a new study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study

Scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School recruited nearly 15,000 male physicians, 50 years or older, and followed them for more than a decade.  Half took the daily multivitamin Centrum Silver; the others took a placebo.

Men in the vitamin group had a modest 8% reduction in cancer cases compared to the others.

"This study suggests, at least for men, that there might be benefits to taking multivitamins in terms of cancer,” study author Dr. John Michael Gaziano said in a press release. He is the chief of the Division of Aging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
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FDA warns of dangerous dietary supplements
Reumofan Plus and Reumofan Plus Premium are used to treat conditions including arthritis, osteoporosis and muscle pain.
August 22nd, 2012
10:14 AM ET

FDA warns of dangerous dietary supplements

The Food and Drug Administration has received dozens of reports about harmful side effects - including stroke and death - linked to two dietary supplements currently on the market, Reumofan Plus and Reumofan Plus Premium.

The agency has issued a safety alert to warn consumers about the dangers of the supplements. They are both marketed as natural dietary supplements but the FDA claims they have potentially dangerous active ingredients that aren't listed on their labels. The supplements are used to treat arthritis, osteoporosis, muscle pain, bone cancer and a host of other ailments.

They are manufactured in Mexico by Riger Naturals, but sold in the United States in some stores, Internet sites and flea markets. Most are labeled in Spanish but there could be versions with English labels.

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Hidden dangers in vitamins, supplements?
A new Consumer Reports investigation examines 10 unknown dangers associated with vitamins, herbs and supplements.
August 2nd, 2012
11:59 AM ET

Hidden dangers in vitamins, supplements?

Vitamins and supplements could do more harm than good in some cases, according to a new report in Consumer Reports.

The report, in Consumer Reports' September issue, investigates 10 unknown dangers associated with taking vitamins, minerals, herbs, and nutritional supplements. More than half of all Americans take supplements, and the supplement industry has grown to a $27 billion industry.

But supplements aren't necessarily risk-free, according to Dr. Jose Mosquera, medical adviser for Consumer Reports. While patients may believe supplements are safe because they are natural, he says not all supplements are truly all-natural.

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Vitamin D deficiency may cause weight gain
June 25th, 2012
10:00 AM ET

Vitamin D deficiency may cause weight gain

Older women who don't get enough vitamin D may be slightly heavier than those who do.

A Kaiser Permanente study, published online in the recent issue of the Journal of Women's Health, looked at more than 4,600 women aged 65 and older for a four and one-half year period. Researchers found women with low levels of vitamin D in their blood gained about two pounds more than those with adequate levels of the vitamin.

So what’s the big deal, you ask?
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More evidence links calcium supplements to heart attacks
May 23rd, 2012
06:30 PM ET

More evidence links calcium supplements to heart attacks

Calcium supplements, widely taken by older people to prevent bone fractures, may be doing more harm than good, a large new study suggests.

Researchers tracked nearly 25,000 European adults for 11 years, and found that people who reported regularly taking calcium supplements were more than twice as likely to have a heart attack as those who didn't use any supplements.

Only the use of calcium supplements, and not overall calcium intake, was associated with an increased risk of heart attack. In fact, people who consumed higher amounts of calcium from foods, such as milk and other dairy, tended to have a lower risk of heart attacks than people who consumed less.
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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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