Archive for the ‘Medical-Study News’ Category

Gargling controversy: Tap water as a cold remedy? Newspaper questions study.

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

The most popular article in our latest e-newsletter took on a simple, long-time first-aid remedy: hydrogen peroxide. Believe it or not, it may do your cuts more harm than good.

After our managing editor tweeted a link to it, Twitter follower Ross Kennedy asked, “What about gargling with diluted peroxide?” Good question.

I’m not aware of any well-done studies that have shown that gargling with peroxide helps prevent infections. It probably doesn’t hurt, as long as it’s well diluted. (Otherwise, it can cause a burn.) One study did suggest that gargling with plain old water might help keep you cold-free. But the validity of its findings has been questioned.


When does an ankle injury need an x-ray?

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

I still remember when a sweet, smiling little girl came into my office a few years back.She had injured her wrist.I did my usual exam which includes palpating areas of tenderness.Well I hit a sore spot; she let out a yelp and sobbed “why did you hurt me?”I felt so bad, but was tempted to tell her that’s what doctors do (not really).Instead I explained I needed to know what specific area was injured so I would know where to look on an x-ray.I don’t think she bought it.

At any rate, I thought of this when I read an Academy of Emergency Medicine study concluded the Ottawa Ankle Rules could be applied to as young as 6 years old and up.What are these rules? (more…)

Vitamin D fights off colds, obesity, cancer … really? The newest miracle vitamin.

Monday, March 16th, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

OK, I think this vitamin D craze is getting a little out of hand.  Every few days there’s some sort of study indicating it helps something new.  The latest I’ve seen is that eating less of the stuff was associated with fatter teens.  Eat more? You might have fewer colds.

I type “vitamin D” in Google news. Low levels are linked to mental decline, poor bone health, more cancer, and in teens, an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.

Have we found the miracle drug?


Acupuncture treatment for headaches: It works, says Cochrane

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Acupuncture got an official seal of approval from a respected medical organization this year. It effectively treats tension-type headaches and helps keep away migraines—even better than other preventive treatments—they said.

The Cochrane Collaboration is in independent, well-respected, nonprofit organization that analyzes evidence-based medicine (available studies) to to come up with recommendations of whether interventions work.  They are strict, conservative and not easy to please, and it’s hard to get their approval.  So if they think some treatment works, the evidence bears them out.


B vitamins prevent macular degeneration: Logic fails, then succeeds for leading cause of blindness

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

A new JAMA study is very interesting for two reasons.  It gives us hope for preventing a leading cause of blindness in the U.S.  But it’s also a great example of why, while the popular “association” studies give us valuable information, they never prove causation. You need more-focused studies for that.

First, the great news: (more…)

Alcohol increases your risk of cancer: Confusing studies; what to do

Friday, February 27th, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Well, here we go.  Many recent studies, including one I referenced Wednesday, have lauded drinking alcohol for its heart and stroke benefits.  Now comes a large British study saying, “not so fast.”  Any alcohol at all may increase risk of cancer.

The study was done in women, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t apply to men, also.  (more…)

Cut your risk of stroke in half, and then some: New study finds simple ways

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

A British study shows four healthy steps to cut our risk of stroke by more than half.

Every year 795,000 Americans have a stroke.  It’s our third leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer.  The risk increases with age.  We can decrease our chances by keeping our blood pressure and cholesterol under control, but there’s more we can do to help even further.


Parents’ perceptions can affect children’s health

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H

Can your own perceptions of your child’s health affect it?

Dr. Tracy Lieu, author of a study in the October 8, 2008, Pediatrics, thinks so.  She surveyed parents of 700 asthmatic children and found parents’ low expectations led to more poorly controlled asthma.

In a Science Daily interview, Dr. Lieu said: (more…)

Multivitamins in postmenopausal women: One doctor’s view of the WHI study

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

The conclusion from the Women’s Initiative Study that multivitamins don’t prevent cancer, heart disease or overall mortality troubles me for some reason.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Women’s Initiative Study. It involves a large group of women (161, 808) followed over a long period (eight years in this instance.)  Statisticians analyze the tons of data known about this group and report the findings.  The data doesn’t care what I or anyone else thinks.  It is what it is.

In the comment section of this report the author cites two other good, long-term women’s studies that showed an association between multivitamins and decreased colon cancer. It took 10 years in one group and 15 years in the other to start seeing a decrease.

But that’s not what bothers me.  It’s not the study itself, but that people might get the idea no one needs vitamins. I mean, the New York Times has an article entitled “Vitamins; A False Hope?” This was a study on multivitamins, in set doses.  It concluded nothing about set groups of individuals needing specific vitamins at other dosages.


Secondhand smoke harms your pet: Stop smoking for your dog?

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Would you quit smoking for your pet’s health?  New survey findings say 28 percent of adult pet owners would try. The study is from The Henry Ford Health System Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and appears in Tobacco Control.

What was interesting to me were the cited studies that linked pet health and secondhand smoke. (Sorry, no word on pets who actually smoke.)


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