January 2011 Vol. 3 Issue 1

Abstracts & Commentary

Vitamin D and Depression

by Susan W. Ryan, DO  This is a large population cross-sectional study. The study sample initially consisted of 18,875 participants. The final sample size was 7,970 U.S. non-institutionalized civilian participants aged 15-39 years after exclusions for pregnancy and lactation. Serum vitamin D concentrations were measured, and a diagnostic assessment for depression was performed using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS).

Aged Garlic Extract Lowers Blood Pressure

by Matthew J. Budoff, MD, FACC, FAHA  This study by Ried et al evaluated the effect, tolerability, and acceptability of aged garlic extract (AGE) as an adjunct treatment to existing antihypertensive medication in patients with treated, but uncontrolled, hypertension. They used a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial involving 50 patients. Patients received 960 mg (containing 2.4 mg S-allylcysteine) of AGE daily or matching placebo for 12 weeks.

Chocolate Intake and Heart Failure Incidence

by Jacob Schor, ND, FABNO  Moderate consumption of chocolate (1 to 2 servings/week) might lower risk of heart failure in women, a finding that few will complain about. A number of recent clinical trials utilizing high-polyphenol chocolate suggest that chocolate exerts a blood pressure lowering effect in hypertensive individuals. A meta-analysis published in June 2010 combined data from 13 studies and concluded that "dark chocolate is superior to placebo in reducing systolic hypertension or diastolic prehypertension."

Daily Aspirin May Reduce Risk of Cancer Death

by Tina Kaczor, ND, FABNO  There are a few salient points in this study that are useful to keep in mind for clinicians. First, the benefit of aspirin did not correlate with the dosage used, so that a minimum dose of 75 mg is expected to be sufficient to confer benefit. Second, the benefit of aspirin was a latent effect, with reductions in deaths beginning after 5 years of follow up. Third, the reduction in deaths correlated with the duration of aspirin consumption, with longer aspirin intervention correlating with greater benefit. There was no benefit seen in those who took aspirin for less than 5 years. Last, reduction in deaths was found for individuals with adenocarcinoma specifically, not other histological types.

Acupuncture and Stroke Recovery

by Carl Hangee-Bauer, ND, LAc  According to the authors of this study, there are several possible explanations of these findings: acupuncture may be ineffective, existing studies may have been inadequately designed, or treatment may not have been properly administered. For example, several of the trials included patients treated more than 6 months post-stroke, which may be too long after injury to expect to see significant improvements. Additionally, treatment protocols varied significantly in terms of the types of acupuncture treatments applied, whether or not electro-acupuncture was included, number and frequency of visits, and other treatment variables.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) and Immune Outcomes in Humans: A Review

by Barry W. Ritz, PhD  Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) is a fermented mushroom extract that is commercially available and promoted for immune support. This review focuses on safety and efficacy results from human clinical trials that have included subjects with a variety of cancers, as well as healthy populations. Animal data are also briefly discussed in the context of recent human data, with an emphasis on the possible applications of AHCC in promoting resistance to influenza virus infection. Available data suggest that AHCC supplementation clearly affects immune outcomes and immune cell populations--especially natural killer cell activity.


Rick Marinelli, ND, Discusses the Advancement of Pain Research, Care, and Education

by Natural Medicine Journal Rick Marinelli, ND, received his BA in biology from Winthrop University, his ND from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and has a master's degree in acupuncture and oriental medicine from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. He has been in private practice for more than 30 years and has extensive experience in women's healthcare, hormone replacement therapy for men and women, the diagnosis and treatment of pain, diagnostic ultrasonography, sports medicine, aesthetic medicine, weight loss, and primary care.