NMA: Nonprescription Medicines Academy

Quick Takes

May 1st, 2012

  • It seems as though “Life’s Simple Seven” may not be that simple. An analysis of data from several National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES)— reflecting a nationally representative sample of 44,959 American adults 20 years of age or older—found that fewer than 2% of adults meet all seven of the American Heart Association cardiovascular health metrics (not smoking; being physically active; having normal blood pressure, blood glucose, and total cholesterol levels; having normal weight; and eating a healthy diet). Adults who met six or more (vs one or fewer) metrics had a 51% lower risk of all-cause mortality, a 76% lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality, and a 70% lower risk of ischemic heart disease mortality. (JAMA. 2012;307:1273-83. Epub 2012 Mar 16.)
  • A review of dietary supplements for improving body composition and reducing body weight published in the April issue of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found no strong body of research evidence indicating that one specific supplement will produce significant weight loss (~2–4 kg), especially in the long term. The review discusses the four main categories of weight-loss supplements and presents an overview of the current science related to their effectiveness. The author concluded that although products such as green tea, fiber, and low-fat dairy products may complement a healthy lifestyle to prevent weight gain over time, many weight-loss supplements have serious health effects, for little or no benefit. (Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2012;22:139-54.)
  • A study that included 1,018 men and women (20 to 85 years of age) in San Diego, California, found that participants who consumed chocolate more frequently had a lower body mass index than those who consumed chocolate less often. Chocolate preserved its relation to lower body mass index in a range of adjustment models; the results were not explained by calorie intake, activity, or other potential confounders. The authors concluded that a randomized trial of chocolate for metabolic benefits in humans may be merited. (Arch Intern Med. 2012;172:519-21.)
  • The American Diabetes Association has released a new and improved Diabetes Risk Test to help Americans determine whether they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The test requires users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history, and other potential risk factors for diabetes; results are reported as a numerical score indicating low or high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The test, which can be completed in less than 1 minute, is available online via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AmericanDiabetesAssociation/app_283844141683657....
  • Data from the Nurses’ Health Study 1 suggest that frequent use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) other than aspirin may be associated with an increased absolute incidence of Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis. However, the findings are described as having more mechanistic than clinical implications; the absolute incidence of Crohn disease or ulcerative colitis associated with NSAIDs was low, so any increase in risk is unlikely to alter the balance of more common and clinically significant risks and benefits associated with these agents. (Ann Intern Med. 2012;156:350-9.)
  • In a population of 39,815 apparently healthy women 45 years of age or older enrolled in the Women's Health Study, randomization to treatment with vitamin E (600 IU every other day) had no association with the risk of incident heart failure over a median of 10.2 years of follow-up. However, vitamin D was associated with a significant 40% reduction in the risk of developing heart failure with normal ejection fraction. The Women’s Health Study was designed to examine the benefits and risks of low-dose aspirin and vitamin E in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer. (Circ Heart Fail. 2012;5:176-82.)
  • Ibuprofen appears to be effective in reducing the incidence of acute mountain sickness, based on the results of a randomized, placebo-controlled study of 86 healthy adult volunteers. Participants were randomized to ibuprofen 600 mg or placebo three times daily, starting 6 hours before ascent from 4,100 ft to 12,570 ft in the White Mountains of California. Fewer participants in the ibuprofen group (43%) developed acute mountain sickness compared with those receiving placebo (43% vs 69%, respectively; OR, 0.3; 95% CI, 0.1–0.8). Symptoms of acute mountain sickness were less severe among participants in the ibuprofen group, but the difference was not significant. (Ann Emerg Med. 2012 Mar 21. [Epub ahead of print])