Health Briefs

HEALTH BRIEFS

Health & Fitness

November 09, 2003|By Tribune Media Services

Snoring remedies have no effect

More than 300 over-the-counter remedies promise to stop or curtail snoring, but physicians who studied one of each of the three main types found them ineffective.

Participants (29 male snorers and 11 female snorers) used a lubricating mouth spray, a nasal dilator strip and an ergonomically shaped pillow on alternating nights. On the nights in between, they used nothing. Each night, a device analyzed the loudness of their snoring and the percentage of snoring noise arising from the soft palate, the origin of 80 percent of snores.

There was no significant change in the snores from one night to the next over the week, according to the study authors, Drs. Peter G. Michaelson and Eric A. Mair of Wilford Hall U.S. Air Force Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. This study was presented at a recent annual meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery in Orlando.

Epilepsy drug may curb cocaine addiction

An epilepsy drug may eventually help people addicted to cocaine.

In a new study from Mexico, eight of 10 longtime drug users stopped taking cocaine after being given the drug - gamma vinyl-GABA (also known as GVG or vigabatrin) for several weeks. Four patients who stayed in the trial continued to use cocaine but in significantly reduced amounts. The drug is available in 68 countries, but because it has not been approved in the United States, the study was conducted in Mexico.

It takes about three weeks for GVG to take effect, blocking the formation of dopamine, the brain chemical associated with pleasure, says lead investigator, Stephen Dewey, a neuroanatomist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y.

The study will appear in the Dec. 1 issue of Synapse.

It's not the shoes, but the weight gain

Among people older than 65, knee arthritis is about twice as common in women as men, leading some experts to blame high-heeled shoes for many cases of the painful condition. Footwear, however, doesn't appear to be the culprit.

A study comparing female osteoarthritis patients, ages 50 to 70, with healthy women of the same age found that high heels had little effect on risk. The major threat was being overweight, particularly when weight gain occurred early in life.

Researchers in England interviewed 82 women with healthy joints and 29 women who had moderate knee pain or worse. The participants were asked about their health history and habits since they left high school, as well as certain risk factors (such as their body weight at three stages of their life). They were also shown photos of 38 styles of shoes and asked which types they wore.

The most significant risk in developing arthritis of the knee was becoming overweight before age 40, according to the researchers at Oxford Brooks University. High-heel wearing was not associated with arthritis.

The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

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