July 2005
Home Up '05 Jan-Jun July 2005 August 2005 August #2 2005 Sept. #1 '05 Sept. #2 '05 Oct. #2 '05 Oct. #1 '05 Dec. '05 Dec. #2 '05


I apologize for not having covered as many new articles this month.  I had too much research work and vacationing away from my computer.

Rofecoxib No Benefit in Mild Cognitive Impairment: In a 4-year DB PC study of 1457 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), those on rofecoxib 25 mg daily had an annual AD diagnosis rate of 6.4% vs 4.5% in the placebo group (rofecoxib : placebo hazard ratio=1.46, p=0.011). There was no consistant evidence that rofecoxib was helpful on any of the testing measures. A randomized, double-blind, study of rofecoxib in patients with mild cognitive impairment. Thal LJ et al. University of California, San Diego. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2005 Jun;30(6):1204-15. Ed: Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs have many small epidemiologic studies suggesting they might be of benefit.  This very large study puts that theory to rest, especially in view of the high rate of side-effects including death from NSAIDs. For more, see Dementia and NSAIDs.

Eye: Age-Related Macular Degeneration Helped by Carnitine, CoQ10 and Fish Oil: In a 12-month DB PC study of 106 adults with early AMD,those given a combination of acetyl-L-carnitine, n-3 fatty acids, and coenzyme Q10 has improves in visual field mean defects, visual acuity, foveal sensitivity, and fundus alterations for AMD. In the treated group only 2% deteriorated vs. 17% for placebo (p = 0.006, odds ratio: 10.93). Decrease in drusen-covered area of treated eyes was also statistically significant. Feher J et al. University of Rome 'La Sapienza', Italy. Ophthalmologica. 2005 May-Jun;219(3):154-66. For more, see Eye Diseases.

Obesity: No Weight Loss in Ovarectomized Rats on Carnitine: In a study simulating post-menopausal humans, rats with an exercise program and free access to food who received L-carnitine did not lose any weight compared to controls. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2005 Mar;75(2):156-60. Ed: Some sellers of carnitine irresponsible sell it as a "fat-burner." While it does help metabolized fatty acids, I have seen no studies suggesting it might help with weight loss.  Carnitine is good for a number of disorders, but there is absolutely no evidence that it helps obesity.

Modafinil No Benefit and May Aggravate Psychosis: In a DB PC 8-week study of 24 patients with schizophrnia, modafinil up to 200 mg a day was no better than placebo for fatigue, positive and negative symptoms, or cognition. Fatigue was reduced in both groups. One modafinil patient dropped out due to a worsening of psychosis. Double-blind, placebo-controlled study of modafinil for fatigue and cognition in schizophrenia patients treated with psychotropic medications. Sevy S, et al. Zucker Hillside Hospital,  Glen Oaks, N.Y. J Clin Psychiatry. 2005 Jul;66(7):839-43

Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor Polymorphisms Associated with Major Depression: In a single-marker and haplotype analyses using three BDNF polymorphisms in 2,376 individuals (465 MDD, 281 BPAD, 533 schizophrenia, and 1,097 control subjects), single-marker analysis did not provide strong evidence for association. Haplotype analysis of marker combination rs988748-(GT)(n)-rs6265 produced nominally significant associations for all investigated phenotypes (global p values: MDD p = .00006, BPAD p = .0057, schizophrenia p = .016). Association with MDD was the most robust finding and could be replicated in a second German sample of MDD patients and control subjects (p = .0092, uncorrected). The finding in schizophrenia appeared to be attributable mainly to the presence of depressive symptoms. Evidence for a Relationship Between Genetic Variants at the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) Locus and Major Depression. Schumacher J, et al. Institute of Human Genetics. Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Jul 6. For more, see Depression Genetics.

Breast-Feeding Protective Against Schizophrenia: In a study of 6841 adults from the Copenhagen Perinatal Cohort of whom 1671 (24%) had been breastfed for 2 weeks or less (early weaning) and 5170 (76%) had been breastfed longer, 93 developed schizophrenia (1.4%). Maternal schizophrenia was the strongest risk factor and a significant association between single mother status and elevated offspring risk of schizophrenia was also observed. Early weaning was significantly related to later schizophrenia (adjusted odds ratio 1.73). Breastfeeding and risk of schizophrenia in the Copenhagen Perinatal Cohort. Sorensen HJ, et al. Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2005 Jul;112(1):26-9. For more, see Breastfeeding and Causes of Schizophrenia.

Classroom ADHD Behavior Much More Common than with Tutoring: A study of 30 children 100% of whom were rated as fulfilling ADHD criteria based on classroom behavior found that only 13% had enough ADHD behavior to receive such a diagnosis based upon behavior during tutoring sessions. Reduction in children's symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder during individual tutoring as compared with classroom instruction. Strayhorn JM Jr, Bickel DD. Psychol Rep. 2002 Aug;91(1):69-80. Ed: Many classrooms in the U.S. use modified open classroom type arrangements, i.e., children facing each other, children allowed to get up and walk around, children permitted to change subjects at will, small groups of children working on their own without teacher control, disruptions caused by multiple teachers and disabled students, etc.  Open classrooms have repeatedly been shown to dramatically retard learning.  It appears that they also increase hyperactivity. For more, see Causes of ADHD.

Hysterectomy: Leave the Ovaries In: Twenty-five times more women die from heart disease than from ovarian cancer. The prevailing medical wisdom has been to remove the ovaries when the uterus is removed if women are past childbearing age to prevent ovarian cancer. About half of women have their ovaries removed during hysterectomy. However, the ovaries keep making small amounts of estrogen for years after natural menopause. Of more than 600,000 hysterectomies done annually in the U.S., 90% are for benign diseases, such as uterine fibroids or endometriosis. For women at average risk of ovarian cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, breast cancer and stroke, the probability of survival to age 80 after hysterectomy at ages 50 to 54 ranged from 62% for those who kept their ovaries but didn't take estrogen, to 53% for those who had their ovaries removed but didn't take estrogen. Keeping the ovaries without estrogen therapy reduced the percent of women dying by age 80 of heart disease from 15% to 7%, and those dying of hip fractures from nearly 5% to 3%. These reductions far outweigh the increase in ovarian cancer deaths by age 80. William Parker, et al. Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center. Obstetrics & Gynecology 8/05.