The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point

Is there a diet-acne connection?

Drs. Jonette Keri and Rajiv Nijhawan from the University of Miami in Florida have reviewed the evidence.

Here are the highlights.

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Acne and touching your face

For the average American kid — you know the one: has caring parents, lives in a nice place, with no wants or needs — acne is likely to be the first event that can not be easily controlled to their satisfaction.

It’s God’s way of saying, “Look, there are going to be things in you life that you just have to make the best of. Get used to it. You can practice on acne.”

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Soap and acne

In an adolescent’s zeal to punish pimples, there is a tendency to select the most harsh, abrasive skin cleansers available. If sandpaper could be made to produce suds, some young people (and adults) would use it.

Craig Burkhart, MD, of the Department of Dermatology at Ohio University School of Medicine has a better approach.

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Acne: Recommendations are easy; data, scarce

Herbalists recommend more than a dozen herbal remedies for acne and scarring, according to a recent article.

Unfortunately, only 1 of these herbals is supported by the results of a study in patients.

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Acne cosmetica and other myths

Acne cosmetica was first described over 30 years ago. It was proposed that substances in cosmetic products caused the formation of comedones (blackheads) and, in some cases, an eruption. Changes in cosmetic ingredients make acne cosmetica much less common today, although it is reported occasionally.

Dr. Zoe Draelos, a clinical associate professor in the Department of Dermatology at Wake Forest University and Bowman Gray School of Medicine, published a review that answers many issues about cosmetics, cosmeceuticals and acne. Here are 4 myths, dispelled.

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Support for the effect of diet on acne

Acne vulgaris has anecdotally been attributed to diet.

This review by researchers at The George Washington University Medical Center, in Washington, DC, found convincing data supporting the role of dairy products and high-glycemic-index foods.

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Herbal treatments for acne vulgaris

Faculty members from Hamdard University in New Delhi, India have published a review on Medscape of treatment options for acne, with emphasis on herbal treatment options.

Here’s a summary of the herbal section.

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Ineffective herbal remedies for treating acne

I recently came across a website advocating herbals to treat or prevent acne.

The website isn’t important, but the results of my PubMed searches might be useful.

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Consumer Alert: Miracle Mineral Supplement aka MMS

This product, when used as directed, produces an industrial bleach that can cause serious harm.

Swallowing doses of this bleach, such as those recommended in the labeling can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration.

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Does anyone use St. John’s wort to treat dental pain?

Its claimed anti-pain and anti-inflammatory properties in homeopathic medicine have led to a number of studies in patients with acute pain.

Researchers at University of Witten/Herdecke, in Germany reviewed the evidence for using St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) for pain conditions in homeopathic dental practice.

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Predicting the risk of psychosis in cannabis users

Cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of psychosis. It’s suggested that genetic variation in the AKT1 gene might influence this adverse effect.

Researchers at Kings College London, in the UK, studied the connection.

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Water and air conditioning help the elderly avoid heatstroke

Every year, heatstroke accounts for at least 240 deaths in the United States. In the United States, most people with heatstroke are elderly inner-city residents.

The current heatwave warrants this reposting.

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Acne treatments

The surest way to know that there is no truly effective treatment for a condition is to count the number of treatment recommendations. The more recommendations, the less likely it is that any of them have a significant effect. I’m not sure if there is a tipping point. Whether 6 or 12 or 20 recommended treatments guarantee that you will have less than complete cure.

Here are some of the recommendations from just one article.

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Secrets to improving acne treatment

A big challenge in treating acne is sticking with treatment over the long haul. Dr. Mary Lupo, a dermatologist and clinical professor at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, says there are four secrets to helping people stick with their acne treatment.

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Avoid marijuana during pregnancy and breast feeding

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has published its position on use of pot during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

The bottom line.

Yes, there are limitations in the available data about marijuana’s effects on the fetus during pregnancy and on the neonate during lactation. However, ACOG has seen enough to recommend that during pregnancy and during breast feeding to advise “discontinuation of maternal use [of marijuana], whether recreational or medicinal.”

There are no FDA-approved indications regarding marijuana use during pregnancy and lactation. Also, there are no standardized formulations, dosages, or delivery systems. Smoking, the most common route of administration of THC, cannot be medically condoned during pregnancy and lactation, according to ACOG.

The use of marijuana during pregnancy is associated with lower scores on tests of attention, coordination, and behavior in offspring.

6/25/15 JR

Up in smoke: Medical marijuana debunked

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Proponents of the use of medical marijuana like to start speeches and articles by quickly stating that cannabinoids are of proven value in treating many diseases.

Poppycock. This site has stated repeatedly: not true, not true, not true.

Now the evidence is in, and we were right. JAMA confirms that the evidence supporting the effectiveness of cannabinoids is tenuous at best. And risk of side effects with cannabinoids to treat anything is high.

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Milk thistle interaction with raloxifene (Evista)

milk_thistleRaloxifene is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) that is used to reduce the risk of invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.

Researchers at Washington State University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro evaluated the inhibitory effects of individual milk thistle constituents on the intestinal glucuronidation (detoxification) of raloxifene.

First, the details.

  • The inhibitory effects of individual milk thistle constituents on the intestinal metabolism of raloxifene were studied in the lab.
  • UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 1-1 (also known as UGT-1A) is an enzyme in human intestines, which along with UGT1A8, and UGT1A10 are critical to metabolizing and removing raloxifene from the body.

And, the results.

  • Milk thistle components silybin A and silybin B were potent inhibitors of raloxifene metabolism.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded: “Silibinin and silymarin [the major active constituents] were predicted to increase raloxifene systemic exposure by about 5-fold, indicating a high risk of interaction. Safety of raloxifene is discussed here.

It’s understandable that these women seek CAM, including herbals, to supplement raloxifene treatment.

It needs to be studied in humans, but for now, the risk of taking milk thistle would seem to outweigh any potential benefits. Check with your healthcare professional.

6/20/15 JR

 

What you should know about aromatherapy

If you expect aromatherapy to cure a major illness, you will probably be disappointed, according to AromaWeb — a source of practical information on this complementary treatment.

The available scientific evidence (such as it is) supports this statement. The Natural Standard website (which charges a membership fee) conducted literature reviews on the various applications of aromatherapy and concluded that even for the best documented conditions (eg, anxiety and agitation), the data are conflicting and based on small, poorly designed trials.

However, to conclude from this that aromatherapy is to be avoided would be excessive. Its current use is not intended to replace standard medical care but complement it. If using volatile plant oils, including essential oils, improves your sense of psychological and physical well being, by all means, indulge yourself.

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Hospitalization rate based on changes in physical activity in people with COPD

asthma-150x150Emphasis in this study by researchers in Spain was on walking, the most common form of physical activity.

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