Thursday, September 04, 2008

Combining drugs ‘sees off child fevers sooner’

Thousands of children could spend less time with a fever if they were given ibuprofen first and then a combination of paracetamol plus ibuprofen, according to research. Parents have been told not to combine the drugs because of a lack of evidence on the safety of doing so, but scientists from the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England found that children could recover more quickly if both drugs were used over 24 hours.

Guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence says that it is “OK to give your child paracetamol or ibuprofen if they have a fever and they are distressed or unwell”, but that the drugs should not be given together.

Alastair Hay, consultant senior lecturer in primary healthcare at the University of Bristol, who led the study, said that parents should not combine liquid paracetamol and ibuprofen in one solution, but could provide the doses separately. The study is published online by the British Medical Journal.


Atkins diet and Weight Watchers 'the best ways to lose weight'

The Atkins diet and the calorie-counting Weight Watchers plan are the best ways for slimmers to lose weight, new findings suggest. Dieters lost an average of 11 pounds over two months by following the Atkins plan, while the calorie-counting Weight Watchers method helped people shed more than 10 pounds, a study of four popular weight loss plans shows. People following the Slim Fast Plan and a Rosemay Conley diet plan both lost between eight and nine pounds on average.

Despite claims that the low-carbohydrate Atkins diet could be dangerous due to its reliance on red meat and fat, researchers also found that all the diets tested were healthy. Dr Helen Truby, from the Royal Children's Hospital in Queensland, Australia, one of the co-authors of the study, said that it provided "reassuring and important evidence for the effectiveness and nutritional adequacy of the ... diets tested".

However, few slimmers increased their intake of fruit and vegetables, the research found, despite being recommended to do so by all of the diets except Atkins.

Scientists, including researchers from five British universities, tested the weight loss regimes on almost 300 overweight and obese volunteers. All of the slimmers were asked to try the slimming plans for eight weeks and keep a food diary of everything that they ate. The results, published in the journal Nutrition, show that dieters on the Atkins plan, in which slimmers cut out carbohydrates such as bread and pasta, as well as, initially, fruit and vegetables, performed best, losing an average of 11.4 pounds during the study.

A close second was the Weight Watchers diet, on which volunteers lost an average of 10.4 pounds, by limiting their food intake to a certain number of "points" a day. Both diets were significantly ahead of the other two tested, the Slim Fast Plan and the Rosemary Conley "Eat Yourself Slim" plan, although both of these still performed well. Following the Rosemary Conley plan reduced weight by an average of 8.8 pounds over the two months, while replacing some meals with Slim Fast "shakes" helped slimmers to lose 8.1 pounds.

The results also show that those on the Atkins diet did not substantially increase the total amount of fat that they ate, although the proportion of their meals that were made up of fat did rise. The findings suggest that the secret to the success of the diet, which has been condemned by critics who claim it could place undue stress on the heart and lead to extra weight gain when carbohydrates are reintroduced, could be that it reduces slimmers' appetite, decreasing the overall amount of food that they eat.

All four diets gave the volunteers enough crucial vitamins and minerals, the study found. However, those on the Atkins diet did have lower levels of iron, which the study suggests could be because bread and other carbohydrates are fortified with this and other vitamins.

Despite the fact that all of the diets apart from Atkins advise people to increase their fruit and vegetable intake, only those on the Weight Watchers diet actually did so, and even they only had one extra portion a day.

Dr Truby said: "These disappointing findings suggest that people remain resistant to the advice to 'eat more fruit and vegetables', even when they are advised to as part of a modified weight loss programme".


1 comment:

John A said...

Another two-month study. Pah. Look up, in a 1920s-era magazine, the "Grapefruit Diet" - it, too, would let one lose weight for a while quite successfully.

Encouraging that they did not slam Atkins, albeit "claims that the low-carbohydrate Atkins diet could be dangerous due to its reliance on red meat and fat" were not only debunked but are not quite true in the first place. While that is the standard diet first recommended by the doctor, even in his original book he noted acceptable alternatives. One reason I suspect Atkins may actually be more "sustainable" (I dislike that word in its current eco-crap guise, but it is useful) is that it allows all sorts of substitutions and experimentation - effectively, anyone following the actual plan the doctor had develops a diet unique to that individual rather than dogma like "everyone must stop adding salt to anything" type of [idiotic] dogma.