Sunday, February 24, 2013

Red wine  may  prevent HEARING LOSS 

Resveratrol is a gigantic fad but mostly seems to work in rodents  -- and usually using gigantic doses at that. And even in mice it doesn't prolong life.  In humans see, for instance,  Eric Sijbrands, of Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, who led a series of studies which failed to replicate the findings of heart benefits from taking resveratrol.  Resveratrol is poorly absorbed by the human body.  The pharmaceutical company Sirtris halted the last of its clinical trials of resveratrol in 2010

It has long been touted as the tipple with a host of health benefits, said to protect against conditions such as heart disease and dementia.  Now scientists say red wine may also protect against hearing loss, too.

It's thought that the chemical resveratrol, found in red grapes and red wine, is the reason why.

This is the same compound that has been linked with other positive health benefits such as preventing cancer and heart disease.

In a study conducted at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, healthy rats were less likely to suffer noise-induced hearing loss when given resveratrol before being exposed to loud noise for a long period of time.

Study leader Dr Michael Seidman said: 'Our latest study focuses on resveratrol and its effect on the body's response to injury - something that is believed to be the cause of many health problems including Alzheimer's disease, cancer, ageing and hearing loss.

'Resveratrol is a very powerful chemical that seems to protect against the body's inflammatory process, as it relates to ageing, cognition [brain function] and hearing loss.'

Hearing loss affects half of people over the age of 60, but many begin to suffer problems in their 40s or 50s.

It usually sets in with the death of tiny 'hair' cells in the inner ear as a result of ageing.

The study found that resveratrol reduced noise-induced hearing loss in rats exposed to potentially deafening sounds.

Dr Seidman said: 'We've shown that by giving animals resveratrol, we can reduce the amount of hearing and cognitive decline.'

The study is published in the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.


Just say don’t: Doctors question routine tests & treatments

 Now there are 135.  That's how many medical tests, treatments and other procedures - many used for decades - physicians have now identified as almost always unnecessary and often harmful, and which doctors and patients should therefore avoid or at least seriously question.

The lists of procedures, released on Thursday by the professional societies of 17 medical specialties ranging from neurology and ophthalmology to thoracic surgery, are part of a campaign called Choosing Wisely. Organized by the American Board of Internal Medicine's foundation, it aims to get doctors to stop performing useless procedures and spread the word to patients that some don't help and might hurt.

"Americans' view of healthcare is that more is better," said Dr Glenn Stream, a family physician in Spokane, Washington, and board chairman of the American Academy of Family Physicians, which has identified 10 unnecessary procedures. "But there are a lot of things that are done frequently but don't contribute to people's health and may be harmful."

In a particular case, even a procedure that provides no benefit to the vast majority of people might be appropriate. That's why the physicians emphasize that they are only advising against routine use of the usually unnecessary tests and therapies.

For instance, the American Academy of Pediatrics says physicians "should question" CT scans for kids' minor head injuries or abdominal pains, which usually don't improve diagnoses and raise the risk of cancer. But if doctors suspect something unusual, a scan may be in order.

For the most part, the medical specialty groups did not consider cost when they made their lists. If their advice is followed, however, it would save billions of dollars a year in wasteful spending, said Dr John Santa, director of Consumer Reports' Health Ratings Center and a partner in Choosing Wisely.

One large medical group with 300,000 patients, Santa said, calculated that following the Choosing Wisely advice on just two procedures, superfluous EKGs (electrocardiograms) and bone-density scans, would reduce its billings by $1 million a year. Nationally, that translates into some $1 billion in savings.

The medical specialty groups each came up with five procedures to "question," but most of the items begin with an emphatic "don't." The targeted procedures range from the common to the esoteric.


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