The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Vitamin C and encephalopathy

    Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is brain damage that results from a shortage of oxygen or blood flow.

    Researchers from Washington DC and Cairo, Egypt combined intravenous injections of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) with ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin; a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) to this condition.

    First, the details.

    • 60 asphyxiated infants were assigned to a treatment group.
      • Ascorbic acid injected into a vein + ibuprofen taken by mouth for 3 days
      • Placebo
    • Neither the researchers nor the patients knew the treatment given — double blind.

    And, the results.

    • There were no differences between groups in the severity of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy at enrollment.
    • There were no differences between groups in the following outcomes.
      • Concentrations of IL-1beta and IL-6 (proteins that affect immunity and inflammation)
      • Mortality
      • Nerve abnormalities at hospital discharge
      • Developmental delay at 6 months of age
    • IL-1beta and IL-6 blood levels correlated with the severity of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy at birth.
    • But only serum IL-6 correlated with neurodevelopmental outcome at 6 months.

    The bottom line?
    The anti-oxidant action of vitamin C had no effect on the outcome of this condition.

    The authors acknowledge that these results do not address issues related to dosing and route of administration of vitamin C or ibuprofen.

    3/19/09 18:13 JR

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