Vitamin IVs: A Cure To Hangovers And Jet Lag Or Just The Latest Fad?
Like other supplements, IVs that pump vitamins and amino acids directly into the bloodstream are lacking robust scientific evidence to show that they actually work. Also in public health news: ALS, schizophrenia, ADHD, heart screenings and geriatricians.
Vitamin IVs Make Bold Health Promises. But Where's The Evidence?
Vitamin IV infusions aren’t anything new. Celebrities from Simon Cowell and Rihanna to the Real Housewives have proclaimed their love for vitamin drips. They’re part of a huge — and wildly popular — supplement industry which goes largely unregulated. Supplement makers aren’t allowed to claim that their products can cure or treat a particular condition, but they are allowed to make sweeping claims that the products promote health. The infusion treatments can be traced back to an intravenous supplement known as the Myers’ cocktail, a slurry of magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, and other products developed decades ago by a Baltimore physician. There is a published review on the use of Myers’ cocktail — but it’s just a collection of anecdotal evidence. (Thielking, 2/23)
FTC Cracks Down On Supplement Maker That Faked Talk Radio Show
Federal and state officials in Maine said Wednesday they had shut down an elaborate scheme to deceptively market dietary supplements in which a company disguised 30-minute radio advertisements as a talk radio show and repeatedly promoted fake print newspapers ads. In fact, according to officials, the promotions for the two products featured fictitious consumers and purported medical experts who endorsed the supplements without actually having endorsed them. (Thielking, 2/22)
The New York Times:
In The Face Of A.L.S., Simon Fitzmaurice Finds His Fire Inside
After his short film screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008, a euphoric Simon Fitzmaurice was walking the snowy streets of Park City, Utah, when his foot began to hurt. Back home in Ireland that summer, by then dealing with a pronounced limp, he received a shattering diagnosis: motor neuron disease, or M.N.D. (more commonly known in the United States as A.L.S., or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), a neurological disorder that causes increasing muscle weakness and eventual paralysis and is, in most cases, fatal. The doctor gave Mr. Fitzmaurice, then 33, three or four years to live. (Shattuck, 2/22)
The Washington Post:
Do Pet Cats Cause Schizophrenia? A New Study Suggests No.
As if parents of young children didn’t have enough things to worry about, here’s another: Some scientists think pet cats might increase kids’ risk of developing schizophrenia. But there’s good news out of this growing field of research, which focuses on the links between a cat-borne parasite that causes toxoplasmosis and mental health disorders. A new study of about 5,000 children in the United Kingdom found no evidence that cat ownership during gestation or childhood was associated with psychotic experiences that can be early signs of mental illness — such as hallucinations or delusions of being spied on — when they were teenagers. (Brulliard, 2/22)
The Washington Post:
The Best Medicine For ADHD Might Not Be Medicine, At Least At First
Steve and Michelle were desperate. Their 6-year-old son, Sam, was diagnosed with ADHD soon after entering first grade. Sam’s behavior seemed outright defiant: He ignored adults when his name was called and was in constant motion. Sam let out bloodcurdling screams when forced to stop playing a game on the iPad. His teacher had struggled to manage similar behaviors in class, and his guidance counselor said Sam “needed to be on medicine.” Steve and Michelle weren’t so sure, but they wondered if they were being negligent by not putting him on Ritalin or something similar. But despite the relentless advertising for meds, and the occasional coercion by school personnel, your young ADHD child may not need Ritalin. At least not yet. (Griffin, 2/23)
Kaiser Health News:
Popular Charity Heart Screenings For Teens May Cause More Problems Than They Solve
Dozens of not-for-profit organizations have formed in the past decade to promote free or low-cost heart screenings for teens. These groups often claim such tests save lives by finding abnormalities that might pose a risk of sudden cardiac death. But the efforts are raising concerns. There’s no evidence that screening adolescents with electrocardiograms (ECG) prevents deaths. Sudden cardiac death is rare in young people, and some physicians worry screening kids with no symptoms or family history of disease could do more harm than good. The tests can set off false alarms that can lead to follow-up tests and risky interventions or force some kids to quit sports unnecessarily. (Jaklevic, 2/22)
Kaiser Health News:
Geriatricians Can Help Aging Patients Navigate Multiple Ailments
For months, Teresa Christensen’s 87-year-old mother, Genevieve, complained of pain from a nasty sore on her right foot. She stopped going to church. She couldn’t sleep at night. Eventually, she stopped walking except when absolutely necessary. Her primary care doctor prescribed three antibiotics, one after another. None worked. “Doctor, can’t we do some further tests?” Teresa Christensen remembered asking. “I felt that he was looking through my mother instead of looking at her.” (Graham, 2/23)