Items in AFP with MESH term: Complementary Therapies
ABSTRACT: With growing concern about the use of hormone replacement therapy, some women are looking for alternative treatments for menopausal symptoms and preventing postmenopausal cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. In observational trials, exercise has been associated with decreased vasomotor symptoms. One trial suggested that black cohosh may reduce menopausal symptoms. Soy has been shown to decrease vasomotor symptoms, lower lipid levels, and increase bone density. However, large amounts of soy must be consumed, and it is not clear whether soy consumption causes a decrease in cardiovascular events or fractures. The evidence for St. John's wort is equivocal. Fish oil is helpful for secondary prevention of coronary artery disease.
ABSTRACT: From 2 to 10 percent of women of reproductive age have severe distress and dysfunction caused by premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a severe form of premenstrual syndrome. Current research implicates mechanisms of serotonin as relevant to etiology and treatment. Patients with mild to moderate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome may benefit from nonpharmacologic interventions such as education about the disorder, lifestyle changes, and nutritional adjustments. However, patients with premenstrual dysphoric disorder and those who fail to respond to more conservative measures may also require pharmacologic management, typically beginning with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. This drug class seems to reduce emotional, cognitive-behavioral, and physical symptoms, and improve psychosocial functioning. Serotoninergic antidepressants such as fluoxetine, citalopram, sertraline, and clomipramine are effective when used intermittently during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Treatment strategies specific to the luteal phase may reduce cost, long-term side effects, and risk of discontinuation syndrome. Patients who do not respond to a serotoninergic antidepressant may be treated with another selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Low-dose alprazolam, administered intermittently during the luteal phase, may be considered as a second-line treatment. A therapeutic trial with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist or danazol may be considered when other treatments are ineffective. However, the risk of serious side effects and the cost of these medications limit their use to short periods.
ABSTRACT: Americans spend more on natural remedies for osteoarthritis than for any other medical condition. In treating osteoarthritis, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, two of the molecular building blocks found in articular cartilage, are the most commonly used alternative supplements. In randomized trials of variable quality, these compounds show efficacy in reducing symptoms, but neither has been shown to arrest progression of the disease or regenerate damaged cartilage. Although few clinical trials on S-adenosylmethionine exist, preliminary evidence indicates that it relieves pain to a degree similar to that of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs but with fewer side effects. Clinical trials of dimethyl sulfoxide offer conflicting results. Neither ginger nor cetyl myristoleate has proven clinical usefulness.
Autism: A Medical Primer - Article
ABSTRACT: Autistic disorder, a pervasive developmental disorder resulting in social, language, or sensorimotor deficits, occurs in approximately seven of 10,000 persons. Early detection and intervention significantly improve outcome, with about one third of autistic persons achieving some degree of independent living. Indications for developmental evaluation include no babbling, pointing, or use of other gestures by 12 months of age, no single words by 16 months of age, no two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months of age, and loss of previously learned language or social skills at any age. The differential diagnosis includes other psychiatric and pervasive developmental disorders, deafness, and profound hearing loss. Autism is frequently associated with fragile X syndrome and tuberous sclerosis, and may be caused by lead poisoning and metabolic disorders. Common comorbidities include mental retardation, seizure disorder, and psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety. Behavior modification programs are helpful and are usually administered by multidisciplinary teams, targeted medication is used to address behavior concerns. Many different treatment approaches can be used, some of which are unproven and have little scientific support. Parents may be encouraged to investigate national resources and local support networks.
Managing Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia - Article
ABSTRACT: Medical and surgical options for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia have expanded in recent years. Saw palmetto, the most widely used complementary medication, is less effective than standard medical therapy but has fewer side effects. Although non-selective alpha blockers provide rapid relief of symptoms and are relatively inexpensive, they can cause dizziness and orthostatic hypotension. These effects occur less often with tamsulosin, a more selective alpha blocker. Finasteride, a 5alpha-reductase inhibitor, slowly reduces prostatic volume but is not as effective as alpha blockers, especially in men with a smaller prostate. Dutasteride, a new 5alpha-reductase inhibitor, has recently been labeled for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Surgery may be appropriate initial treatment in patients with severe symptoms who are not at high risk for complications. Surgery may also be indicated in patients who have failed medical therapy or have recurrent infection, hematuria, or renal insufficiency. Transurethral resection of the prostate is effective in most patients, but it carries some risk of sexual dysfunction, incontinence, and bleeding. Surgical procedures that use thermal microwave or laser energy to reduce hyperplastic prostate tissue have recently become available. In general, the newer procedures are less expensive than transurethral resection of the prostate and have fewer complications; however, the need for retreatment is somewhat greater with these less invasive techniques.
Echinacea - Article
ABSTRACT: Echinacea is the name of a genus of native North American plants, commonly known as the purple coneflower. The most widely used herbal product in the United States is a liquid extract made from the root of Echinacea purpurea. Because the active component of the plant has not been identified, commercial echinacea products are not typically standardized to any particular component. The research literature on echinacea is difficult to evaluate because of the heterogeneity of the products used in various studies. The herb has been recommended as a prophylactic treatment for upper respiratory infection and is widely used for this indication. However, based on the current literature, it appears that prophylactic echinacea does not have a significant impact on the frequency, severity, or duration of upper respiratory infection. The data regarding treatment of upper respiratory infection appear to support a modest positive effect. No significant herb-drug interactions with echinacea have been reported; adverse effects reported generally have been uncommon and minor, including abdominal upset, nausea, and dizziness.
Dysmenorrhea - Article
ABSTRACT: Dysmenorrhea is the leading cause of recurrent short-term school absence in adolescent girls and a common problem in women of reproductive age. Risk factors for dysmenorrhea include nulliparity, heavy menstrual flow, smoking, and depression. Empiric therapy can be initiated based on a typical history of painful menses and a negative physical examination. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the initial therapy of choice in patients with presumptive primary dysmenorrhea. Oral contraceptives and depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate also may be considered. If pain relief is insufficient, prolonged-cycle oral contraceptives or intravaginal use of oral contraceptive pills can be considered. In women who do not desire hormonal contraception, there is some evidence of benefit with the use of topical heat; the Japanese herbal remedy toki-shakuyaku-san; thiamine, vitamin E, and fish oil supplements; a low-fat vegetarian diet; and acupressure. If dysmenorrhea remains uncontrolled with any of these approaches, pelvic ultrasonography should be performed and referral for laparoscopy should be considered to rule out secondary causes of dysmenorrhea. In patients with severe refractory primary dysmenorrhea, additional safe alternatives for women who want to conceive include transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation, acupuncture, nifedipine, and terbutaline. Otherwise, the use of danazol or leuprolide may be considered and, rarely, hysterectomy. The effectiveness of surgical interruption of the pelvic nerve pathways has not been established.
Peppermint Oil - Article
ABSTRACT: Peppermint leaf and peppermint oil have a long history of use for digestive disorders. Recent evidence suggests that enteric-coated peppermint oil may be effective in relieving some of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. A combination product including peppermint oil and caraway oil seems to be moderately effective in the treatment of non-ulcer dyspepsia. Topical application of peppermint oil may be effective in the treatment of tension headache. Because of its relaxing effects on smooth muscle, peppermint oil given via enema has been modestly effective for relief of colonic spasm in patients undergoing barium enemas. Peppermint oil is well tolerated at the commonly recommended dosage, but it may cause significant adverse effects at higher dosages.
Soy: A Complete Source of Protein - Article
ABSTRACT: Soybeans contain all of the essential amino acids necessary for human nutrition and have been grown and harvested for thousands of years. Populations with diets high in soy protein and low in animal protein have lower risks of prostate and breast cancers than other populations. Increasing dietary whole soy protein lowers levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins, and triglycerides; may improve menopausal hot flashes; and may help maintain bone density and decrease fractures in postmenopausal women. There are not enough data to make recommendations concerning soy intake in women with a history of breast cancer. The refined soy isoflavone components, when given as supplements, have not yielded the same results as increasing dietary whole soy protein. Overall, soy is well tolerated, and because it is a complete source of protein shown to lower cholesterol, it is recommended as a dietary substitution for higher-fat animal products.
Green Tea: Potential Health Benefits - Article
ABSTRACT: Green tea has been used widely and in high doses for centuries as a health tonic in many societies. Evidence suggests that green tea is effective for treating genital warts. There is some supportive evidence for the use of green tea in cancer prevention. Drinking green tea is associated with a decrease in all-cause mortality, but not in cancer-related mortality. Small clinical studies have found that green tea may also be helpful in losing and managing weight, and lowering cholesterol. Epidemiologic evidence suggests that green tea may prevent stroke and cardiovascular disease. Green tea appears to be safe, although there have been case reports of hepatotoxicity possibly related to a specific extract in pill or beverage form. Green tea seems to be a low-risk complementary therapy for a number of conditions, but more studies are needed.