Recent literature has focused on the association of psoriasis with lower than normal or highly deficient vitamin D blood levels. This study investigated the controversial association between psoriasis and vitamin D levels (1). From 2012 to 2014, 561 subjects were assessed, of which 170 had psoriasis, 51 had an autoimmune bullous, and 340 were healthy patients. Anagraphical data, 25(OH)D blood levels, and seasons of vitaminD levels assessments were recorded for each group.Vitamin D levels were significantly different among the 3 groups. Psoriatic patients had significantly lower serum levels of 25(OH)D (21.8 ng/mL) than healthy controls (34.3 ng/mL). Patients with bullous diseases showed the lowest vitamin D mean values (18.2 ng/mL).
The goal of this study was to explore the prevalence with which Australian Western herbalists treat menstrual problems and their related treatment, experiences, perceptions, and interreferral practices with other health practitioners (1). Members of the Practitioner Research and Collaboration Initiative practice-based research network identifying as Western Herbalists (WHs) completed a specifically developed, online questionnaire. Western Herbalists regularly treat menstrual problems, perceiving high, though differential, levels of effectiveness. For menstrual problems, WHs predominantly prescribe individualised formulas including core herbs, such as Vitex agnus-castus, and problem-specific herbs.
Musculoskeletal symptoms are the most common adverse effects of aromatase inhibitors and often result in therapy discontinuation. Small studies suggest that acupuncture may decrease aromatase inhibitor-related joint symptoms. The goal of this study was to determine the effect of acupuncture in reducing aromatase inhibitor-related joint pain (1). Patients were randomized 2:1:1 to the true acupuncture (n = 110), sham acupuncture (n = 59), or waitlist control (n = 57) group. True acupuncture and sham acupuncture protocols consisted of 12 acupuncture sessions over 6 weeks (2 sessions per week), followed by 1 session per week for 6 weeks. The waitlist control group did not receive any intervention. All participants were offered 10 acupuncture sessions to be used between weeks 24 and 52.
Health-related effects of a vegetarian or vegan diet are known to support parameters positively affecting exercise performance in athletes, whereas knowledge about psyche and wellbeing is sparse. Therefore, the aim of the Nutrition and Running High Mileage (NURMI) Study (Step 2) was to compare Quality of Life (QOL) scores among endurance runners following a vegetarian or vegan dietagainst those who adhere to an omnivorous diet (1). The study was conducted following a cross-sectional design. A total of 281 recreational runners (159 women, 122 men) completed the WHOQOL-BREF questionnaire consisting of the domains physical health, psychological wellbeing, social relationships and environment, which generates scores on a scale from 4 to 20. It was found that 123 subjects followed an omnivorous diet and 158 adhered to a vegetarian/vegan diet.
Ketogenic diet therapies have proven efficacy for refractory epilepsy. In this study, the authors observed remarkable efficacy of the diet in two patients with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (1). They analysed their cases with refractory structural epilepsies of acquired origin to characterize their response to the ketogenic diet. The classical ketogenic diet was implemented with dietary ratios of 3:1 to 4.4:1. Seizure frequency at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years was ascertained. A responder was defined as greater than 50% seizure reduction compared to baseline. The results showed that the ketogenic diet was effective in patients with a developmental and epileptic encephalopathy due to an acquired structural aetiology.
Controversy exists regarding whether the kinesiology tape application direction affects muscle strength. This study examined this idea (1). Eighteen healthy volunteers (12 men, 6 women) participated. Kinesiology tape was randomly applied to the quadriceps muscles either from origin to insertion or from insertion to origin. A Biodex isokinetic dynamometer was used to measure the peak torque of the quadriceps pre-and post-taping. There was a significant difference in muscle strength after taping, regardless of the kinesiology tape application direction. There were no significant differences in the peak torque of the quadriceps between the 2 kinesiology tape application directions.
The association of dietary patterns representing multiple dietary components and breast cancer risk is not clearly understood. In this study, the author’s objective was to conduct a systematic review of the association between dietary patterns and breast cancer risk (1). Seventeen case-control and nested case-control studies identified 15 healthy, and 10 unhealthy, dietary patterns determined posteriori, and 7 dietary indices determined a priori. Vegetables were consistently found in breast cancer protective patterns whereas saturated fat and red and processed meats were consistently found in patterns associated with increased breast cancer risk. The authors conclude that these findings suggest that dietary patterns that include vegetables and limit saturated fat and red and processed meats may lower breast cancer risk.
In this study, the authors performed a systematic review aimed to evaluate the current evidence regarding the efficacy and safety of acupuncture on primary dysmenorrhea (1). This study included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of women with primary dysmenorrhea; these RCTs compared acupuncture to no treatment, placebo, or medications, and measured menstrual pain intensity and its associated symptoms. The review included 60 RCTs; the meta-analysis included 49 RCTs. Most studies showed a low or unclear risk of bias. They found that compared to no treatment, manual acupuncture and electro-acupuncture was more effective at reducing menstrual pain, and compared to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, manual acupuncture, and warm acupuncture were more effective at reducing menstrual pain.
Silymarin (SIL) is an active extraction of the silybum marianum, milk thistle, which is an ancient medicinal plant for treatment of various liver diseases for centuries (1). In this study, the authors assessed the therapeutic effect of SIL in the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) through meta-analysis. Eight RCTs involved 587 patients were included in this study. The results showed that SIL reduced the AST and ALT levels more significantly than the control group. Compared with other interventions, there were significant differences decreasing AST and ALT levels when SIL was used alone. The authors conclude that SIL has positive efficacy to reduce transaminases levels in NAFLD patients. SIL can be an encouraging and considerable phytotherapy for NAFLD patients.
In this study, the authors evaluated the efficacy and safety of ashwagandha root extract in subclinical hypothyroid patients (1). Fifty subjects with elevated serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels (4.5-10 μIU/L) aged between 18 and 50 were randomized in either treatment (n = 25) or placebo (n = 25) groups for an 8-week treatment period. Ashwagandha root extract (600 mg daily) or starch as placebo. Efficacy Variables: Serum TSH, serum triiodothyronine (T3), and thyroxine (T4) levels. Ashwagandha treatment effectively normalized the serum thyroid indices during the 8-week treatment period in a significant manner. The authors conclude it may be helpful for this patient population.
Postmenopausal osteoporosis (PMO) is associated with other comorbidities such as impaired glucose homeostasis and cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D insufficiency is highly prevalent and may be a common link between these disorders. In this study, the aim was to assess the relationship between circulating levels of Vitamin D (25(OH)D) and parameters of glucose homeostasis in a cohort of women with PMO to establish a serum concentration threshold of 25(OH)D for improved glycemic parameters (1). This cross-sectional study included 40 women with PMO. The results showed that circulating levels of 25(OH)D were related to glucose parameters in women with PMO, resulting in an indicator of insulin sensitivity independent of age, body mass index, percent body fat, and undercarboxylated osteocalcin.