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[ Low Vitamin D Levels Linked To Depression, UT Southwestern Psychiatrists Report ]

Low Vitamin D Levels Linked To Depression, UT Southwestern Psychiatrists Report

Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to depression, according to UT Southwestern Medical Center psychiatrists working with the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study. It is believed to be the largest such investigation ever undertaken. Low levels of vitamin D already are associated with a cavalcade of health woes from cardiovascular diseases to neurological ailments. This new study - published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings - helps clarify a debate that erupted after smaller studies produced conflicting results about the relationship between vitamin D and depression. Major depressive disorder affects nearly one in 10 adults in the U.S. "Our findings suggest that screening for vitamin D levels in depressed patients - and perhaps screening for depression in people with low vitamin D levels - might be useful, " said Dr.

Acupuncture Reduces Protein Linked To Stress In First Of Its Kind Animal Study

Acupuncture significantly reduces levels of a protein in rats linked to chronic stress, researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) have found. They say their animal study may help explain the sense of well-being that many people receive from this ancient Chinese therapy. Published online in December in Experimental Biology and Medicine, the researchers say that if their findings are replicated in human studies, acupuncture would offer a proven therapy for stress, which is often difficult to treat. "It has long been thought that acupuncture can reduce stress, but this is the first study to show molecular proof of this benefit, " says the study's lead author, Ladan Eshkevari, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Georgetown's School of Nursing & Health Studies, a part of GUMC.

Scientists Examine Toxicity Of Medicinal Plants In Peru

Many developing countries rely on traditional medicine as an accessible and affordable treatment option for human maladies. However, until now, scientific data has not existed to evaluate the potential toxicity of medicinal plant species in Peru. Scientists from the William L. Brown Center of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis led a study using brine shrimp to determine the toxicity of 341 Northern Peruvian plant species commonly ingested in traditional medicine. Their findings indicated over 24 percent of water extracts made from these plant species and 76 percent of alcoholic extracts from the plants contained elevated toxicity levels. The results reinforce the need for traditional preparation methods to take different toxicity levels into account when choosing the appropriate solvent for the preparation of a medicinal remedy.

JAMA Commentary Contends Vitamin Therapy Can Still Reduce Stroke

A commentary by Dr. David Spence of The University of Western Ontario and Dr. Meir Stampfer of the Harvard School of Public Health in today's Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) argues that vitamin therapy still has a role to play in reducing stroke. Vitamin B therapy was once widely used to lower homocysteine levels. Too much of this amino acid in the bloodstream was linked to increased risk of stroke and heart attack. But several randomized trials found lowering homocysteine levels with B vitamins did not result in a cardiovascular benefit. And a study by Dr. Spence, a scientist with the Robarts Research Institute at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, found Vitamin B therapy actually increased cardiovascular risk in patients with diabetic nephropathy. Dr.

Vitamin D For Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, And Bone Fracture Protection? Evidence Is Lacking

Does vitamin D supplementation protect people from bone fractures, cancer and cardiovascular disease? Researchers wrote in Annals of Internal Medicine in two separate articles that so far there is no compelling evidence to support any of these claims. Article 1 - studies have indicated that vitamin D supplementation may play a role in reducing the risk of developing cancer and bone fractures. Mai Chung PhD and team from Tufts Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, gathered data on 19 clinical trials and 28 observational studies, to find out what the benefits and harms of vitamin D on its own or combined with calcium might be in cancer outcomes and fractures in adult patients. They found that fracture risk in elderly individuals was reduced when they took vitamin D combined with calcium supplementation, but did not change when vitamin D was taken on its own.

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