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1 February 2012

New Evidence of Synergy Between Vitamins A and D: Protection Against Autoimmune Diseases

One of the perennial topics of this blog is the synergy between vitamins A and D.  A new Japanese study published last July in the journal Immunology Letters (1) provides further evidence of this synergy, this time suggesting the dynamic duo can courageously combat the most flagellant of our inner impulses, keeping our wayward neutrophils in check and barring them from wandering too far down the winding road that leads to autoimmunity.
These investigators faced a conundrum.  A number of studies suggest that the activated hormone form of vitamin D, calcitriol, has great promise for preventing and treating autoimmune diseases, but its usefulness in the clinical setting is currently limited because it promotes excessive accumulation of calcium in the blood and soft tissues.  One hardly wants to cure, say, psoriasis if it means having to pass kidney stones.

A Gut Check for Many Ailments

What you think is going on in your head may be caused in part by what's happening in your gut.
A growing body of research shows the gut affects bodily functions far beyond digestion. Studies have shown intriguing links from the gut's health to bone formation, learning and memory and even conditions including Parkinson's disease. Recent research found disruptions to the stomach or intestinal bacteria can prompt depression and anxiety—at least in lab rats.
Better understanding the communication between the gut and the brain could help reveal the causes of and treatments for a range of ailments, and provide diagnostic clues for doctors.

Exercise puts teens to a peaceful sleep

A new study has revealed that daily exercise improves a teenager's chances of a good night's sleep, while using the computer for more than two hours a day has the opposite effect.
The study of nearly 15,000 high school students found that those who spent at least an hour engaging in physical activity daily were significantly more likely to report "sufficient" sleep-eight hours or more per night-than students who were inactive.

Is this Better than Drugs for Neck Pain?

A new study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that when it comes to neck pain, the best medicine is no medicine.  The study tracked patients with recent-onset neck pain who were treated using either medication, exercise, or a chiropractor.  After 12 weeks, the patients who used a chiropractor or exercised were more than twice as likely to be pain free.
The patients treated by a chiropractor experienced a 32 percent success rate, while exercise resulted in a 30 percent success rate.  Patients treated with medication exhibited only a 13 percent success rate.
According to ABC News:
“The exercises prescribed to patients in the study were simple and designed to be performed at home with the help of instructional photos.”