HEALTH

Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas experiencing significant flu incidence

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Flu incidence is not ony predominant but still on the rise across Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas. According to the Walgreens Flu Index, these three states are currently experiencing the most incidences of flu activity for the week beginning Jan. 26, and have the distinction of recording the highest flu activity gains between Jan. 19 and Jan. 26. 
 
The top 10 designaged market areas with flu activity for the week beginning Jan. 26 are: 
 
  1. Oklahoma City;
  2. San Antonio;
  3. Tulsa, Okla.;
  4. Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark.;
  5. El Paso, Texas (Las Cruces, N.M.);
  6. Austin, Texas;
  7. Ft. Smith-Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.;
  8. Knoxville, Tenn.;
  9. Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas; and
  10. Jackson, Miss.
 
The top 10 states with flu activity are:
 
  1. Oklahoma;
  2. Arkansas;
  3. Texas;
  4. Nebraska;
  5. Mississippi;
  6. Tennessee;
  7. Louisiana;
  8. Kansas;
  9. New Jersey; and
  10. New Mexico.
 
The top 10 DMAs as measured by flu activity gains between Jan. 19 and Jan. 26 are:
 
  1. San Antonio;
  2. Tulsa, Okla.;
  3. Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark.;
  4. Oklahoma City;
  5. Austin, Texas;
  6. El Paso, Texas (Las Cruces, N.M.);
  7. Las Vegas;
  8. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Calif.;
  9. San Diego; and
  10. Wichita-Hutchinson, Kan.
 
The top 10 states as measured by flu activity gains are: 
 
  1. Oklahoma;
  2. Arkansas;
  3. Texas;
  4. New Jersey;
  5. Nevada;
  6. Louisiana;
  7. Nebraska;
  8. Oregon;
  9. Rhode Island; and
  10. Arizona.
The Walgreens Flu Index is a weekly report developed to provide state- and market-specific information regarding flu activity, and ranking of those experiencing the highest incidences of influenza across the country. With the ability to generate hyper-local data that is as specific as a single zip code, the Index aims to drive consumer awareness and prevention within communities, while also serving as a valuable resource for health departments, media and others at the local level, Walgreens stated.
 

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CRN to industry: Prenatal multivitamins should include a daily serving of at least 150 mcg of iodine

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Dietary supplement manufacturers should include a daily serving of at least 150 mcg of iodine in all multivitamin/mineral supplements intended for pregnant and lactating women in the United States, the Council for Responsible Nutrition advised in guidelines for industry released Tuesday. CRN developed these guidelines in response to recommendations from authoritative medical organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Endocrine Society, and the American Thyroid Association, that pregnant and lactating women receive a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement that contains 150 mcg of iodine.
 
“Scientific evidence shows that, similar to folic acid, adequate iodine is critical early in pregnancy when the fetal brain is growing rapidly,” said Duffy MacKay, SVP scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN. “Currently, many U.S. women of childbearing age get insufficient dietary iodine, putting their children at risk for decreased cognitive function. CRN’s guidelines call on manufacturers of multivitamin/mineral supplements for pregnant and lactating women in the U.S. to provide the scientifically-backed amount of iodine that this population needs.”
 
According to CRN’s guidelines, any safe and suitable iodine-containing dietary ingredient may be used as the source of iodine when used in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practice regulations for dietary supplements, which will ensure that the product consistently meets label claims.
 
“We commend the Council for Responsible Nutrition for stressing the importance of iodine for pregnant and lactating women in order to ensure normal brain development of the fetus and baby,” commented Robert Smallridge, president, American Thyroid Association.  “Our association strongly concurs that pregnant and lactating women should get 150 mcg of iodine daily from their multivitamin/mineral supplement.”  
 
CRN recommends that dietary supplement companies comply within 12 months. 
 

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Study: Women who take multivitamins for more than three years less likely to die from heart disease

BY Michael Johnsen

 

WASHINGTON — A new study from the National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements, found a significant association in reducing death from cardiovascular disease among multivitamin users vs. non-users, when the supplements were taken for three or more years. The results were particularly apparent among women, with no association found for men. The study, “Multivitamin-Mineral Use Is Associated with Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Mortality among Women in the United States,” was published in The Journal of Nutrition this month.
         
The results reinforce findings from a large prospective cohort study of women in Sweden published in 2010 that showed an association with a reduced risk of myocardial infarction in women who used multivitamins, with the strongest association in that study found in those women taking multivitamins for more than five years. 
 
“We find these results encouraging and they provide another potential reason for women to take their multivitamins," stated Duffy MacKay, SVP scientific and regulatory affairs, Council for Responsible Nutrition. "But people should not expect that taking a multivitamin in and of itself will prevent heart disease; we advise people to take their vitamins as just one of the smart choices they make for good health.”
 
An interesting question about the study is why the results were positive for women, but null for men.  MacKay noted the fluidity of scientific research, stating, “Just when you think you have an answer, another study either reinforces that answer, or takes you in a different direction. That’s why it’s important to both look at the body of research, and to keep building on that research. We commend ODS for recognizing that, and we urge researchers to continue this kind of research to generate new hypotheses as well as find more answers.” 
 
Despite the results of the study findings for men, MacKay’s advice for both sexes when it comes to multivitamins remains the same. “In general, I tell my patients to take a multivitamin. It’s a convenient and affordable way to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need, and we know from government data, that most Americans fall short in getting appropriate amounts of essential nutrients. And, there is good research that demonstrates potential benefit for the multivitamin in men and cancer prevention, which I would consider the icing on top of the cake.”
  
Beyond the actual study results, MacKay pointed out he was pleased to see that the authors raised another important issue relevant to researchers, academics and others seeking to interpret scientific results—that while, according to the authors, “…randomized controlled trials represent the gold standard study design in research, the external validity of these RCTs is limited.”  “There is on-going discussion in the nutrition research community as to what is the best way to study nutrition — and RCTs have limitations in this area," MacKay said. "They provide an extremely targeted but narrow perspective, and as a result, may not necessarily translate into practical advice for consumers. That’s why it’s important for researchers not to rely solely on RCTs for studying nutrition. We’re pleased to see the study authors make this point, and are gratified that this discussion continues in the scientific, academic and research communities.”
 
To reach their conclusions, the study authors analyzed data from the government’s NHANES survey, including a final study sample of 8,678 adults, 40 years of age and older, excluding, among others, those participants with a history of CVD.
 
 
 
 

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