Monday, March 21, 2011

CAM Watch: March 2011

Time for another month's worth of CAM Watch where I take all the articles on complementary and alternative therapies (positive or negaative) that I can find from all the journals that I read and review the findings.

1. Docosahexenoic Acid (DHA) for Alzheimer's: NEGATIVE
Quinn et al reported in JAMA that 402 patients were randomly assigned to DHA or placebo. Only 295 completed the study. All patients had mild to moderate Alzheimer's and were followed for 18 months. No improvement was seen in cognitive tests, functional tests, or structural brain changes.

2. n-3 fatty acids for cardiovascular events: NEGATIVE
Kromhout et al reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that 4837 patients from age 60 to 80 and had a recent myocardial infarction were treated for 40 months with optimal medical therapy and additionally one of four randomly assigned margarine compounds: 1) fortified with EPA/DHA, 2) fortified with ALA, 3) fortified with EPA/DHA and ALA, or 4) placebo. One subgroup of one treatment arm approached significance, but the study was negative. No effect at reducing cardiovascular events was seen with any special fatty acid margarines.

3. Omega-3 fatty acids for prevention of atrial fibrillation: NEGATIVE
Kowey et al reported in JAMA that 663 patients with paroxysmal or persistent atrial fibrillation were randomly assigned to omega-3 fatty acid supplements for 24 weeks. About 5% of patients dropped out due to intolerance of the medications. Risk for recurrent atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter was not different between the groups. In patients with persistent atrial fibrillation, there was a trend towards more recurrence in the omega-3 group (50% recurrence) as compared to the placebo group (33% recurrence, p = 0.09).

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