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

Archive for March, 2008

Dietary soy and breast cancer risk

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

Soy food intake in the amount consumed by Asian populations may have protective effects against breast cancer, according to researchers at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. (more…)

The risk of fadang in dementia

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

The natives of Guam use fadang — the seed of the false sago palm (a cycad) (photo) — as an ingredient in their traditional medicine and food.

According to Marjorie Whiting, a nutritionist/anthropologist who lived with the native Guamanians, “Everybody knows that the fadang is toxic… The people go to a lot of trouble to process it in order to detoxify it.”

Now, we’re learning about the risk factors for toxicity they missed. (more…)

Zero trans fat is not the same as no trans fat

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Federal regulations allow food labels to say there are zero grams of trans fat as long as there’s less than a half-gram per serving, according to this AP story.

“The problem is that often people eat a lot more than one serving,” says Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian of Harvard School of Public Health. (more…)

Comparing treatments for insomnia

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Drs. Kalyanakrishnan Ramakrishnan and Dewey Scheid from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center have published a review of treatment options for sleeplessness.

Melatonin, valerian, and several non-drug treatments are compared to benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine options. (more…)

The need for vitamin D in people with epilepsy

Friday, March 28th, 2008

During the First North American Regional Epilepsy Congress, researchers from the University of Texas reported that men with epilepsy who take enzyme-inducing antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) have lower levels of vitamin D and calcium, plus higher parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels.

The AEDs involved included the following.


Mediterranean diet for Alzheimer’s disease?

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

A study of more than 2000 non-demented individuals conducted in 2006 concluded that better adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Now, the Mediterranean diet appears useful in people already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. (more…)

Is physical therapy cost-effective care for sciatica?

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Not when compared to general practitioners’ care alone, according to researchers from Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. (more…)

Consumer alert: Blue Steel and Hero products

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

In the ongoing game of catch me if you can, these products have been caught. (more…)

Reconsidering the effect of folate on breast cancer risk

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

A published (and widely circulated in the lay press) study by researchers at Lund University in Sweden reported that high folate intake by women 50 years and older was associated with a lower incidence of postmenopausal breast cancer.

Of greater interest is an editorial by Dr. Cornelia Ulrich from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. (more…)

Can homeopathic products contain active substances not in homeopathic dilutions?

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Not according to the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Care Products.

L. Ramon Cuesta Laso and Mara Teresa Alfonso Galn reviewed Spanish and European Union legislation and other sources regarding this topic.

Their conclusion? (more…)

Stress-management for radical prostatectomy patients

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Men receiving support before prostate surgery showed improved quality of life following surgery, according to a study presented during the American Society of Clinical Oncology 43rd Annual Meeting and reported on Medscape. (more…)

Peri-menopausal symptoms treated with pycnogenol

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

This is apparently the first study of pycnogenol (French maritime pine bark extract) to treat peri-menopausal symptoms. (more…)

Dietary supplements, allopathic, and homeopathic medicines

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

An article published by John Borneman and Robert Field on the Hyland’s website (and here) provides insight to the regulatory differences between these drug categories in the US.

It’s instructive to appreciate the similarities and differences. The authors believe the guidelines for homeopathic medicine could serves as a model for approval and postmarketing oversight of dietary supplements. (more…)

Fewer calories or more exercise: Which is best for weight loss?

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

A study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reveals that dieting alone is as effective at reducing weigh and fat as a combination of diet and exercise — as long as the calories consumed and burned are equal.

There was one important difference, however.

Here are the details.


Will adopting a healthy lifestyle in middle age improve your health?

Monday, March 24th, 2008

The answer is yes — especially among people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or low socioeconomic status — according to researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. (more…)

Eat food, not nutrients

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Michael Pollan, writing in The New York Times Magazine advises, “If you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid food products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a good indication that it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat.

What’s this got to do with you?


Echinacea and the all too common cold

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

Taking echinacea after the onset of a cold shortens its duration or decreases the severity of symptoms, according to the results of most clinical trials. The best results are achieved using products containing alcoholic extracts and pressed juice preparations of the aerial (above ground) parts of the plant.

No evidence suggests echinacea can prevent the onset of the common cold or that it’s effective in children.


Mind-body interventions for chronic pain in older adults

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

Not much evidence is available. But here’s what 2 researchers from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania discovered during their review of 20 published studies. (more…)

Music for pain and anxiety in children

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

Researchers from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada report, that “music is effective in reducing anxiety and pain in children undergoing medical and dental procedures.” (more…)

Cost effectiveness of OT in dementia

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Researchers at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands compared the cost effectiveness of community-based occupational therapy (OT) to usual care in older patients with dementia and their caregivers. (more…)