Posts Tagged disability
Friday, July 27, 2012
By: J. D. Heyes
[NaturalNews] How does a drug manage to become so popular with the medical community, yet turn out to be ineffective at achieving the treatment objectives it was prescribed to achieve? How do such drugs get past clinical trials if they don’t do what they’re supposed to do?
Those are good questions to keep in mind as you consider recent reports regarding interferon beta, the most widely prescribed medicine for treating multiple sclerosis (MS). A new study has found this most common and popular of MS drugs has little or no effect on halting a patient’s progression towards disability, The New York Times and other media reported.
The drug does seem to help reduce the development of brain lesions while limiting the frequency of relapses. But other than that, it appears to be pretty worthless; up to now, few other studies have examined the long-term, overall effect of interferon beta that would demonstrate how effective it is at preventing the beginning of the non-reversible disability.
MS, you may or may not know, is a chronic, often debilitating autoimmune disease that very often attacks the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain and spinal cord, as well as the optic nerves.
“Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another,” says a description of the disease on the Web site of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
The primary reason for using the drug is now – what?
The current study examining the long-term preventative effects of interferon beta, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA, was conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia. A team led by Afsaneh Shirani, M.D., utilized data collected from 868 MS patients who were being treated with interferon beta. They were compared with 1,788 patients who never took the medication.
Using what was described as a well-validated scale, the researchers said they found those who took the drug no less likely to suffer long-term disability than those who took none.
“A key feature of MS is clinical progression of the disease over time manifested by the accumulation of disability. Interferon beta drugs are the most widely prescribed disease-modifying drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of relapsing-onset MS, the most common MS disease course,” said background information in the JAMA article.
So, essentially, the drug is worthless for the most important of uses for MS patients.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
By: Ethan A. Huff
[NaturalNews] There is no longer any doubt that regular, unfiltered sunlight exposure, which helps promote and maintain optimal blood levels of vitamin D, plays a critical role in health promotion and disease prevention. And a recent study published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Science further confirms this, having found that inadequate blood levels of vitamin D can lead to decreased mobility and even disablement, particularly among the elderly.
Based on data collected from the comprehensive Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study, also known as Health ABC, the new study establishes a clear connection between vitamin D levels and overall mobility and bodily function. Compiled by researchers from the Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina, the paper highlights how vitamin D levels directly affect an individual’s ability to perform everyday tasks like walking, climbing stairs, cycling, and engaging in various other forms of moderate exercise.
More than 2,000 individuals of both Caucasian and African-American backgrounds, and with an average age of around 75-years-old, participated in the study. Researchers measured the participants’ blood serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (calcidiol), a pre-hormone associated with vitamin D levels in the body, at the beginning of the study and at six-month intervals for six years, and compared these levels to overall mobility rates among the participants.
At the onset of the study, nearly 30 percent of the participants had blood levels of 25(OH)D less than 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), while more than 36 percent had levels between 20 and 30 ng/mL. Only 35 percent of the group had 25(OH)D levels of 30 ng/mL, which is largely considered to be the cutoff point for determining vitamin D deficiency.
Upon evaluation, those with 25(OH)D levels below 30 ng/mL were found to be 30 percent more likely to develop mobility problems than those with higher levels, while those with 25(OH)D levels below 20 ng/mL, which is considered to be grossly deficient, were about 100 percent more likely to develop disability compared to those with higher levels.
“About one-third of older adults have low vitamin D levels,” said Denise Houston, Ph.D., R.D., a nutrition epidemiologist at the Wake Forest Baptist Department of Geriatrics and Gerontology, concerning the study. “It’s difficult to get enough vitamin D through diet alone, and older adults, who may not spend much time outdoors may need to take a vitamin D supplement.”
Vitamin D deficiency even more prevalent than study shows
Though the findings of the study indicate that only about a third of elderly adults have vitamin D levels above what is considered to be deficient, the Vitamin D Council says the true cutoff point for vitamin D deficiency is really about 40 ng/mL rather than 30 ng/mL — 50 ng/mL, in fact, is a more realistic cutoff point for vitamin D deficiency.
With this in mind, far more than 60 percent of the elderly are vitamin D deficient, and likely suffering from needless health and mobility issues as a result. According to the Vitamin D Council, upwards of 90 percent of humanity is vitamin D deficient.
To learn more about vitamin D, visit: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/
Sources for this article include: