"If you aren't seeing a chiropractor, you must be on drugs."

August 23 , 2005 [Volume 6, Issue 18]

Antibiotics for Ear Infections: Not the Right Answer?

One of the most common infections children experience is acute otitis media (AOM), which affects the middle ear, and is often associated with a buildup of fluid that causes pain and swelling. While many doctors will prescribe antibiotics to treat AOM, some health care providers believe using antibiotics too frequently can lead to drug-resistant bacteria. As a result, some doctors choose to let an AOM infection run its course and don't prescribe antibiotics unless they're absolutely necessary. This may be good thinking; in fact, the results of a recent study suggest not providing antibiotics may be just as effective in the overall treatment of AOM.

In the study, over 200 children with AOM were randomized into two groups. Both groups received medication to treat the pain associated with AOM, but only one group received a course of antibiotics. Over a 30-day period, doctors then examined the children in both groups to determine whether the infection had resolved or become more severe.

Results: While children given antibiotics also took fewer doses of pain medication, samples of bacteria obtained from those children were more likely to be drug-resistant than in children who hadn't received antibiotics. In addition, parents in both groups seemed equally satisfied with the care their child received, and the costs of treatment were almost $36 less per patient among children not taking antibiotics.

The lesson here? Not every infection needs to be treated with an antiobiotic. With proper education and observation, acute otitis media can often be managed without resorting to these types of drugs for care. For more information on conservative managemet of acute otitis media, visit www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/pediatrics/otitismedia.

McCormick DP, Chomnaitree T, Pittman C, et al. Nonsevere acute otitis media: a clinical trial comparing outcomes of watchful waiting versus immediate antibiotic treatment. Pediatrics, June 2005;115(6):1455-1465.

Less Fat, Please!

Anyone who's seen the recent film "Super Size Me" knows too much fat in the diet can lead to an amazing array of health problems, the least of which is weight gain. In healthy people, about half of the fat derived from food is used for energy, while the remainder is stored in adipose tissue for future use. According to a new study, however, eating too much fat can accumulate in the liver and cause "fatty liver," which can lead to metabolic syndrome, cirrhosis and other, more sinister disorders.

In this study, researchers sought to determine the accumulation of fat in the liver in a group of clinically obese people, all of whom had been diagnosed with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Five days before having a liver biopsy, study participants were given food containing fats laced with deuterium, a rare form of hydrogen, in order to trace the location of the fat as it coursed through the person's body.

Analysis of liver tissue revealed that it contained significant amounts of fat, approximately 15 percent of which came from the diet. In addition, the conversion of dietary carbohydrates to fatty acids occurred at a rate nearly five times higher than in healthy people.

Talk to your doctor of chiropractic about creating a diet plan that includes a healthy balance of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. You'll end up feeling much better - and so will your liver! For more information on weight loss, go to www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/general/wellness.

Donnelly KL, Smith CI, Schwarzenberg SJ, et al. Sources of fatty acids stored in liver and secreted via lipoproteins in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, May 2005;115(5):1343-1351.

Exercise Cuts the Fat, Keeps the Bone

They say beauty is only skin deep. Regular exercise creates benefits that go much deeper. In addition to making you look better on the outside, exercising causes significant changes on the inside, such as strengthening your bones and muscles. This is especially true among elderly people, who generally have less bone mass and muscle tone than the overall population. A recently published study, however, has found that routine exercise can help the elderly gain muscle and lose fat without any significant losses in bone mass.

In the study, 115 men and women ages 55 to 75 were asked to follow a series of government recommendations on exercise for 6 months, or to participate in a supervised program three times per week, performing a series of stretching, resistance training and aerobics. People in the supervised program showed improvements in upper body strength, lower body strength, lean mass, body weight, and total body fat, with no significant changes in bone mineral density in men. Those who showed the highest gains in fitness levels actually had an increase in bone mass. In women, there were slight decreases in bone mineral density, but these decreases were comparable to those seen in women who did not exercise.

As this study shows, not all of the benefits of exercise are apparent on the outside. Furthermore, it suggests a regular, moderately intense exercise program can be useful for people of all ages. To learn more about the benefits of exercise, specifically in the senior population, visit www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/senior.

Stewart KJ, Bacher AC, Hees PS, et al. Exercise effects on bone mineral density. Relationships to changes in fitness and fatness. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, June 2005;28(5):453-460.