December 5, 2007: In the News
According to new research, most routine sinus infections are not significantly helped by the use of antibiotic or other prescribed treatments. Researchers found that most people with sinus infections with symptoms of facial pain and green or yellow mucous generally improved in approximately 2 weeks whether were treated with amoxicillin, steroid nasal spray, or placebo. The study, which appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association, also pointed out that the presence of greenish or yellowish mucous does not always mean the infection is bacterial.
A Dutch study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggests higher levels of calcium in the blood of the elderly is associated with poorer mental function and faster decline in cognitive ability. Researchers believe it is possible that an individual’s calcium “set point” plays a role in cognitive decline as people age. They add, however, it is possible other blood-calcium related diseases, such as kidney failure and parathyroid gland activity, could also be factors in the relationship.
According to a recent survey of American physicians, more than 90% of doctors supported reporting inept or incompetent colleagues. However, nearly half said they had encountered an impaired or incompetent fellow doctor in the last 3 years and didn’t report the person. The study concluded that doctors often don’t follow through on their own beliefs about protecting patients’ privacy, avoiding conflicts of interest, or reporting incompetent or impaired colleagues. The survey was conducted by the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
A teaspoon of honey before bed seems to calm children’s coughs and helps them sleep better, according to a survey of parents. The folk remedy did better than cough medicine or no treatment in a three-way comparison. Honey may work by coating and soothing an irritated throat, the study authors said. “Many families are going to relate to these findings and say that grandma was right,” said lead author Dr. Ian Paul of Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
Poor refrigeration causes thousands of doses of vaccines to go bad each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, causing children to get their shots again. Health officials say it is a serious public health threat because youngsters given weakened vaccines are unprotected against dangerous diseases. The CDC estimates that hundreds of thousands of doses against such diseases as flu, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, mumps, measles, chicken pox and HPV are thrown out each year because of poor refrigeration at clinics, hospitals, and doctors’ offices.
Medscape. 2007; ©2007 Medscape