s Something’s Fishy About Macular Degeneration Fish Oil Studies | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 01/07/2014         Volume. 6 No. 6   
Information to Pharmacists

Editorial

From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the July 2014 homepage edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine.
At the commencement of 2014 i2P focused on the need for the entire profession of pharmacy and its associated industry supports to undergo a renewal and regeneration.
We are now half-way through this year and it is quite apparent that pharmacy leaders do not yet have a cohesive and clear sense of direction.
Maybe the new initiative by Woolworths to deliver clinical service through young pharmacists and nurses may sharpen their focus.
If not, community pharmacy can look forward to losing a substantial and profitable market share of the clinical services market.
Who would you blame when that happens?
But I have to admit there is some effort, even though the results are but meagre.
In this edition of i2P we focus on the need for research about community pharmacy, the lack of activity from practicing pharmacists and when some research is delivered, a disconnect appears in its interpretation and implementation.

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Newsflash Updates for July 2014

Newsflash Updates

Regular weekly updates that supplement the regular monthly homepage edition of i2P. 
Access and click on the title links that are illustrated

Comments: 1

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Feature Contribution

Woolworths Pharmacy - Getting One Stage Closer

Neil Johnston

It started with “tablet” computers deployed on shelves inside the retailer Coles, specifically to provide information to consumers relating to pain management and the sale of strong analgesics.
This development was reported in i2P under the title Coles Pharmacy Expansion and the Arid PGA Landscape”
In that article we reported that qualified information was a missing link that had come out of Coles market research as the reason to why it had not succeeded in dominating the pain market.
Of course, Woolworths was working on the same problem at the same time and had come up with a better solution - real people with good information.

Comments: 5

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Intensive Exposition without crossing over with a supermarket

Fiona Sartoretto Verna AIAPP

Editor's Note: The understanding of a pharmacy's presentation through the research that goes into the design of fixtures and fittings that highlight displays, is a never-ending component of pharmacy marketing.
Over the past decade, Australian pharmacy shop presentations have fallen behind in standards of excellence.
It does not take rocket science - you just have to open your eyes.
Recently, our two major supermarkets, Woolworths and Coles, have entered into the field of drug and condition information provision - right into the heartland of Australian Pharmacy.

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The sure way to drive business away

Gerald Quigley

I attended the Pregnancy, Baby and Children’s Expo in Brisbane recently.
What an eye and ear opening event that was!
Young Mums, mature Mums, partners of all ages, grandparents and friends……...many asking about health issues and seeking reassurances that they were doing the right thing.

Comments: 1

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‘Marketing Based Medicine’ – how bad is it?

Baz Bardoe

It should be the scandal of the century.
It potentially affects the health of almost everyone.
Healthcare providers and consumers alike should be up in arms. But apart from coverage in a few credible news sources the problem of ‘Marketing Based Medicine,’ as psychiatrist Dr Peter Parry terms it, hasn’t as yet generated the kind of universal outrage one might expect.

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Community Pharmacy Research - Are You Involved?

Mark Coleman

Government funding is always scarce and restricted.
If you are ever going to be a recipient of government funds you will need to fortify any application with evidence.
From a government perspective, this minimises risk.
I must admit that while I see evidence of research projects being managed by the PGA, I rarely see community pharmacists individually and actively engaged in the type of research that would further their own aims and objectives (and survival).

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Organisational Amnesia and the Lack of a Curator Inhibits Cultural Progress

Neil Johnston

Most of us leave a tremendous impact on pharmacies we work for (as proprietors, managers, contractors or employees)—in ways we’re not even aware of.
But organisational memories are often all too short, and without a central way to record that impact and capture the knowledge and individual contributions, they become lost to time.
It is ironic that technology has provided us with phenomenal tools for communication and connection, but much of it has also sped up our work lives and made knowledge and memory at work much more ephemeral.

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Academics on the payroll: the advertising you don't see

Staff Writer

This article was first published in The Conversation and was written by Wendy Lipworth, University of Sydney and Ian Kerridge, University of Sydney
In the endless drive to get people’s attention, advertising is going ‘native’, creeping in to places formerly reserved for editorial content. In this Native Advertising series we find out what it looks like, if readers can tell the difference, and more importantly, whether they care.
i2P has republished the article as it supports our own independent and ongoing investigations on how drug companies are involved in marketing-based medicine rather than evidence-based medicine.

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I’ve been thinking about admitting wrong.

Mark Neuenschwander

Editor's Note: This is an early article by Mark Neuenschwander we have republished after the soul-searching surrounding a recent Australian dispensing error involving methotrexate.
Hmm. There’s more than one way you could take that, huh? Like Someday when I get around to it (I’m not sure) I may admit that I was wrong about something. Actually, I’ve been thinking about the concept of admitting wrong. So don’t get your hopes up. No juicy confessions this month except that I wish it were easier for me to admit when I have been wrong or made a mistake.
Brian Goldman, an ER physician from Toronto, is host of the award-winning White Coat, Black Art on CBC Radio and slated to deliver the keynote at The unSUMMIT for Bedside Barcoding in Anaheim this May. His TED lecture, entitled, “Doctors make mistakes. Can we talk about it?” had already been viewed by 386,072 others before I watched it last week.

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Dispensing errors – a ripple effect of damage

Kay Dunkley - BPharm, Grad Dip Hosp Pharm, Grad Dip Health Admin, MPS, MSHPA

Most readers will be aware of recent publicity relating to dispensing errors and in particular to deaths caused by methotrexate being incorrectly packed in dose administration aids.
The Pharmacy Board of Australia (PBA), in its Communique of 13 June 2014, described a methotrexate packing error leading to the death of a patient and noted “extra vigilance is required to be exercised by pharmacists with these drugs”.
This same case was reported by A Current Affair (ACA) in its program on Friday 20 June
http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/article/8863098/prescription-drug-warning

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Take a vacation from your vocation

Harvey Mackay

Have you ever had one of those days when all you could think was, “Gosh, do I need a vacation.”
Of course you have – because all work and no play aren’t good for anyone.
A vacation doesn’t have to be two weeks on a tropical island, or even a long weekend at the beach. 
A vacation just means taking a break from your everyday activities. 
A change of pace. 
It doesn’t matter where.
Everyone needs a vacation to rejuvenate mentally and physically. 
But did you also know that you can help boost our economy by taking some days off? 
Call it your personal stimulus package.

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Explainer: what is peer review?

Staff Writer

This article was first published in the Conversation. It caught our eye because "peer review" it is one of the standards for evidence-based medicines that has also been corrupted by global pharma.
The article is republished by i2P as part of its ongoing investigation into scientific fraud and was writtenby Andre Spicer, City University London and Thomas Roulet, University of Oxford
We’ve all heard the phrase “peer review” as giving credence to research and scholarly papers, but what does it actually mean?
How does it work?
Peer review is one of the gold standards of science. It’s a process where scientists (“peers”) evaluate the quality of other scientists' work. By doing this, they aim to ensure the work is rigorous, coherent, uses past research and adds to what we already knew.
Most scientific journals, conferences and grant applications have some sort of peer review system. In most cases it is “double blind” peer review. This means evaluators do not know the author(s), and the author(s) do not know the identity of the evaluators.
The intention behind this system is to ensure evaluation is not biased.
The more prestigious the journal, conference, or grant, the more demanding will be the review process, and the more likely the rejection. This prestige is why these papers tend to be more read and more cited.

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Dentists from the dark side?

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

While dining out with an elderly friend, I noticed that he kept his false tooth plate in his shirt pocket. He had recently had seven amalgam-filled teeth removed, because he believed that their toxins were making him sick; but his new plate was uncomfortable. He had been treated by an 'holistic dentist'. Claiming to offer a "safe and healthier alternative" to conventional dentistry, are they committed to our overall health and wellbeing or are they promoting unjustified fear, unnecessarily extracting teeth and wasting our money?

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Planning for Profit in 2015 – Your key to Business Success

Chris Foster

We are now entering a new financial year and it’s a great time to reflect on last year and highlight those things that went well and those that may have impacted negatively in the pursuit of your goals.
It's also a great to spend some time re-evaluating your personal and business short, medium and long term goals in the light of events over the last year.
The achievement of your goals will in many cases be dependent on setting and aspiring to specific financial targets. It's important that recognise that many of your personal goals will require you to generate sufficient business profits to fund those aspirations

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ReWalk™ Personal Exoskeleton System Cleared by FDA for Home Use

Staff Writer

Exoskeleton leader ReWalk Robotics announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the company’s ReWalk Personal System for use at home and in the community.
ReWalk is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) to stand upright and walk.
ReWalk, the only exoskeleton with FDA clearance via clinical studies and extensive performance testing for personal use, is now available throughout the United States.

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Attracting and Retaining Great People

Barry Urquhart

Welcome to the new financial year in Australia.
For many in business the past year has been described as a challenging period.
Adjectives are a key feature of the English language.  In the business lexicon their use can be, and often is evocative and stimulate creative images.  But they can also contribute to inexact, emotional perceptions.
Throughout the financial pages of newspapers and business magazines adjectives abound.
References to “hot” money draw attention and comment.  The recent wave of funds from Chinese investors, keen to remove their wealth from the jurisdiction and control of government regulations is creating a potential property bubble in Australia.

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Updating Your Values - Extending Your Culture

Neil Johnston

Pharmacy culture is dormant.
Being comprised of values, unless each value is continually addressed, updated or deleted, entire organisations can stagnate (or entire professions such as the pharmacy profession).
Good values offer a strong sense of security, knowing that if you operate within the boundaries of your values, you will succeed in your endeavours.

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Evidence-based medicine is broken. Why we need data and technology to fix it

Staff Writer

The following article is reprinted from The Conversation and forms up part of our library collection on evidence-based medicines.
At i2P we also believe that the current model of evidence is so fractured it will never be able to be repaired.
All that can happen is that health professionals should independently test and verify through their own investigations what evidence exists to prescribe a medicine of any potency.
Health professionals that have patients (such as pharmacists) are ideally placed to observe and record the efficacy for medicines.
All else should confine their criticisms to their evidence of the actual evidence published.
If there are holes in it then share that evidence with the rest of the world.
Otherwise, do not be in such a hurry to criticise professions that have good experience and judgement to make a good choice on behalf of their patients, simply because good evidence has not caught up with reality.

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Laropiprant is the Bad One; Niacin is/was/will always be the Good One

Staff Writer

Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, July 25, 2014
Laropiprant is the Bad One; Niacin is/was/will always be the Good One
by W. Todd Penberthy, PhD

(OMNS July 25, 2014) Niacin has been used for over 60 years in tens of thousands of patients with tremendously favorable therapeutic benefit (Carlson 2005).
In the first-person NY Times best seller, "8 Weeks to a Cure for Cholesterol," the author describes his journey from being a walking heart attack time bomb to a becoming a healthy individual.
He hails high-dose niacin as the one treatment that did more to correct his poor lipid profile than any other (Kowalski 2001).

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Culture Drive & Pharmacy Renewal

Neil Johnston

Deep within all of us we have a core set of values and beliefs that create the standards of behaviour that we align with when we set a particular direction in life.
Directions may change many times over a lifetime, but with life experiences and maturity values may increase in number or gain greater depth.
All of this is embraced under one word – “culture”.
When a business is born it will only develop if it has a sound culture, and the values that comprise that culture are initially inherent in the business founder.
A sound business culture equates to a successful business and that success is often expressed in the term “goodwill” which can be eventually translated to a dollar value.

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ReWalk™ Personal Exoskeleton System Cleared by FDA for Home Use

Staff Writer

Exoskeleton leader ReWalk Robotics announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the company’s ReWalk Personal System for use at home and in the community.
ReWalk is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) to stand upright and walk.
ReWalk, the only exoskeleton with FDA clearance via clinical studies and extensive performance testing for personal use, is now available throughout the United States.

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Pharmacy 2014 - Pharmacy Management Conference

Neil Johnston

The brave new world of health and wellness is not the enemy of Pharmacy, it is its champion.
Australian futurist, Morris Miselowski, one of the world's leading business visionaries, will present the Opening Keynote address on Pharmacy's Future in the new Health and Wellness Landscape at 2.00pm on Wednesday July 30.
Morris believes the key to better health care could already be in your pocket, with doctors soon set to prescribe iPhone apps, instead of pills.
Technology will revolutionise the health industry - a paradigm shift from healthcare to personal wellness.
Health and wellness applications on smartphones are already big news, and are dramatically changing the way we manage our personal health and everyday wellness.

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Generation and Application of Community Pharmacy Research

Neil Johnston

Editor’s Note: We have had a number of articles in this issue relating to pharmacy research.
The PGA has conducted a number of research initiatives over the years, including one recently reported in Pharmacy News that resulted from an analysis of the QCPP Patient Questionnaire.
Pharmacy Guild president, George Tambassis, appears to have authored the article following, and there also appears to be a disconnect between the survey report and its target audience illustrated by one of the respondent comments published.
I have asked Mark Coleman to follow through, elaborate and comment:

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Something’s Fishy About Macular Degeneration Fish Oil Studies

Staff Writer

articles by this author...

Editing and Researching news and stories about global and local Pharmacy Issues

Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, December 11, 2013

Something’s Fishy About Macular Degeneration Fish Oil Studies
by Bill Sardi

(OMNS Dec 11, 2013) Just seven months ago National Eye Institute researchers claimed fish oil “doesn’t seem to help macular degeneration,” (1) a sight-robbing eye disease that plagues adults in their senior years.
So how could another newly published study produce exactly opposite results?
In fact, fish oil didn’t just slow down the insidious progression of this eye disease, it restored vision to every patient placed on high-dose fish oil. It was therapeutic and curative, not just preventive.

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The study I’m referring to is likely to be dismissed. The study group was small - only 25 patients. There was no inactive placebo pill given to another group of patients for comparison, a requirement for scientific validity. And it’s also possible (but not plausible) that all the patients in the study were abjectly deficient in omega-3 fish oils, producing an atypical effect. But the study group was based in the Mediterranean where fish consumption is high. And it’s not likely any placebo effect was involved.

The study is so convincing, especially when combined with all of the positive fish oil studies conducted over the last decade (see chart below), eye physicians would now be derelict in their duty not to recommend every long-living senior adult to consume more fish, or better yet - take concentrated fish oil capsules, if they want to maintain their sight throughout their retirement years.

Growing evidence

The study I’m referring to was just published in the PharmNutrition journal. (2)
It raises many questions, particularly why has it taken so long to discover high-dose fish oil can restore lost sight to many Americans. The data pointing to fish oil as a dietary agent that can stave off vision loss with advancing age has been growing for over a decade.

Except for one “fishy”study, all other human clinical fish oil studies published over the past 13 years indicate fish oil slows down or prevents macular degeneration, a sight-robbing condition that affects central vision used for reading, driving and face recognition.

The latest published study was more momentous than prior studies as it didn’t just show fish oil slows down the progression of the disease; it actually began to restore vision to patients within days of starting a daily regimen of high-dose fish oil capsules.

Slowing macular degeneration down is one thing, but reversing it is another. There is no cure for the common form of the disease, called dry macular degeneration. Antioxidant dietary supplements recommended for this disease slow down its progression by maybe 10 percent at best.

Macular degeneration patients began experiencing improvement in visual acuity from the get-go. After six months a third of the patients could see letters that were three lines smaller on the eye chart. Another third saw two lines better and the remaining third a single line of improvement.

100% of patients with macular degeneration experienced improved vision when the normal course of the disease is insidiously progressive loss of central vision.

High dose

The dose of fish oil was the highest used in any study so far — 5000 milligrams (3400 mg EPA, 1600 mg DHA), or a bit less than two tablespoons a day. That much fish oil is likely to be costly for retirees on fixed incomes, around two dollars a day. A six-month six-month course would certainly be worth the investment, especially when some seniors might be able to renew their driver’s license or resume activities that help them stay independent.

The one “fishy” negative study was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association in May of this year. (3)
National Eye Institute researchers said fish oil "doesn't seem to help age-related macular degeneration."

That study compared a low dose of omega-3 fish oil with an antioxidant formula providing lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and copper (no true placebo group or inactive pill was used). The dose of fish oils in the treatment group was much lower than prior studies.

Some skeptical researchers I have consulted express concerns over the fact this study was conducted largely among well-nourished subjects who likely eat a lot of fish in their diet. I’m informed that the comparison group consumed up to 720 milligrams of fish oil from their daily diet. Also some study subjects in the comparison group may have been supplementing with folic acid which raises blood levels of omega-3 oils. (4) Researchers concede that “study results may not be generalisable, because the study population is a highly selected group of highly educated and well-nourished people.” Was the study rigged to fail?

(Bill Sardi is a well-known nutritional medicine writer and is the founder of Knowledge of Health, Inc. http://knowledgeofhealth.com/ Copyright (C) 2013 Bill Sardi and reprinted with his permission.)

COMPILATION OF STUDIES

Fish Oil/ Age-Related Dry Macular Degeneration Studies
Limited to human studies involving fish oil alone

AMD= age-related macular degeneration

Study published

Type of study

Length of time

# of subjects

Location

Dose of fish oil

Result

PharmNutrition
Dec 2013

Controlled THERAPY

6 mos

25
(40 eyes) 50-85 yrs of age

Cyprus

3400
mg EPA/1600 mg DHA

100% improved at least 1 line visual acuity; avg. 2 lines vision improvement (10 letters1)

Ophthalmology
Aug 2013

Controlled PREVENTION

3 years

263
55-85 yrs of age

France

270 mg EPA/ 840 mg DHA

Highest EPA/DHA blood level = -68% risk reduction for new blood vessel formation. No visual acuity improvement. Note: placebo was olive oil2.

Ophthalmology
May 2013

Dietary intake PREVENTION

5 & 10 yrs

2531

Boston, Mass

Dietary intake

8.1% and 16.9% of healthy eyes progressed (geographic atrophy) over 5 & 10 years; highest intake of DHA = -32% relative reduced risk

J American Med Assn
May 2013

Controlled TREATMENT

4.3-5.1 yrs

4203
73.1 yrs mean age

Multi-center study USA

650 mg EPA/ 350 mg DHA

Omega-3 levels rose in blood but visual improvements were not significant

J. Nutrition
April 2013

Dietary PREVENTION

32 mos avg

963
Age 73+ yrs

France

Dietary intake

Highest blood levels of omega-3 = -38% reduced risk for advance AMD

Investigative Ophthalmology
July 2011

Dietary intake PREVENTION

3 yrs

666

France

Dietary intake

Fish oil intake decreased risk for early AMD (-17%) and advanced AMD (-74%)

Archives Ophthalmology
July 2011

Dietary intake PREVENTION

–

38022
women- mean age 54.6 yrs

Boston, MA

Dietary intake

1 serving fish/week compared to 1 serving/week reduced relative risk for AMD -42%

Amer J Clinical Nutrition
Dec 2009

Dietary intake PREVENTION

13 yrs

1837

Multi-center study USA

Dietary intake

High intake fish oil 30% less likely to advanced AMD

British J Ophthalmology
Sept 2009

Dietary Intake PREVENTION

8 yrs

2934

Multi-Center Study USA

Dietary intake

Highest intake (=64.0 mg/d for DHA/ =42.3 mg/d EPA) had a significant ~25% decreased relative risk for disease

Archives Ophthalmology
May 2009

Dietary Intake PREVENTION

4 yrs

6734
58-69 yrs of age

Australia

Dietary intake

Highest intake fish oil reduced relative risk for advanced AMD by 15%

Euro J Ophthalmology
Jan 2009

Controlled THERAPY

6 mos

22

France

720 mg EPA/ 480 mg DHA

Improved circulation (“blood enrichment”) observed

Archives Ophthalmology
Jan 2009

Dietary Intake PREVENTION

12-yrs

1837

Multi-Center Study USA

Dietary intake

Highest intake fish oil 30% less likely to develop advanced AMD

Archives Ophthalmology
Sept 2008

Dietary intake PREVENTION

6.3 yrs

2132
71+ yrs

Multi-Center Study USA

Dietary intake

Participants w/highest levels of DHA intake half as likely to experience progression (geographic atrophy)as lowest intake

Archives Ophthalmology
May 2007

Dietary PREVENTION

–

4519
60-80 yrs of age

Multi-Center Study USA

Dietary intake

-46% relative risk reduction for advanced AMD with highest DHA intake

Archives Ophthalmology
July 2006

Dietary PREVENTION

5 yrs

2335
49+ years

Australia

Dietary intake

Highest intake of fish oil reduced relative risk for early AMD 59%

Archives Ophthalmology
Aug 2001

Dietary PREVENTION

–

349
55-80 yrs of age

Boston, MA

Dietary intake

Greater fish consumption reduced risk for AMD

Am J Clinical Nutrition
Feb 2001

Dietary PREVENTION

–

72489
50+ yrs of age

Boston, MA

Dietary intake

Highest DHA intake reduced relative risk for AMD 30%; more than 4 servings of fish/week reduced AMD risk 35%

Archives Ophthalmology
March 2000

Dietary PREVENTION

–

3654
49+ years of age

Australia

Dietary intake

Fish consumption associated with reduced risk for advanced AMD

1 One line of letters on the visual acuity chart = 5 letters

2 Olive oil shown to halve risk to develop advanced AMD in another study (Archives Ophthalmology 127: 674, May 2009), so not wise choice of placebo. Would have narrowed differences between fish oil and olive oil supplemented subjects.

 

References:

1. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130513152403.htm

2. Georgiou T, Neokleous A, Nicolaou D, Sears B. Pilot study for treating dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with high-dose omega-3 fatty acids. PharmaNutrition, Available online 18 October 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phanu.2013.10.001

3. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Research Group. Lutein + Zeaxanthin and Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Age-Related Macular Degeneration: The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2013;309(19):2005-2015. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.4997. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1684847

4. Das UN. Folic acid and polyunsaturated fatty acids improve cognitive function and prevent depression, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease--but how and why? Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2008 Jan;78(1):11-9. Epub 2007 Nov 28. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18054217

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information: http://www.orthomolecular.org

 

The peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service is a non-profit and non-commercial informational resource.

 Editorial Review Board:

Ian Brighthope, M.D. (Australia)
Ralph K. Campbell, M.D. (USA)
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (USA)
Damien Downing, M.D. (United Kingdom)
Dean Elledge, D.D.S., M.S. (USA)
Michael Ellis, M.D. (Australia)
Martin P. Gallagher, M.D., D.C. (USA)
Michael Gonzalez, D.Sc., Ph.D. (Puerto Rico)
William B. Grant, Ph.D. (USA)
Steve Hickey, Ph.D. (United Kingdom)
Michael Janson, M.D. (USA)
Robert E. Jenkins, D.C. (USA)
Bo H. Jonsson, M.D., Ph.D. (Sweden)
Peter H. Lauda, M.D. (Austria)
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D. (USA)
Stuart Lindsey, Pharm.D. (USA)
Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D. (Puerto Rico)
Karin Munsterhjelm-Ahumada, M.D. (Finland)
Erik Paterson, M.D. (Canada)
W. Todd Penberthy, Ph.D. (USA)
Gert E. Schuitemaker, Ph.D. (Netherlands)
Robert G. Smith, Ph.D. (USA)
Jagan Nathan Vamanan, M.D. (India)
Atsuo Yanagisawa, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)

 

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