Survey suggests those in search of Cupid’s arrow may want to kick the smoking habit
NEW YORK — Match.com and Pfizer on Wednesday announced results from a recent survey showing that single smokers may want to consider breaking up with their cigarettes as they look for that special someone this year. Nearly 9-in-10 (89%) respondents said they prefer not to date someone who smokes, and when asked which actions were unacceptable on a first date, more said taking a smoke break (51%) than checking one’s phone (45%) or being late (40%).
"Our survey revealed fascinating information. Just as many smokers trying to quit look forward to not having ‘smokers breath’ in intimate situations as they do breathing better," said Bela Gandhi, Match.com relationship expert and founder of the Smart Dating Academy. “The key to finding love starts with feeling great about yourself. Achieving anything big in life, like quitting smoking or finding love, requires making a plan and sticking to it.”
Given recent New Year’s resolutions and that Valentine’s Day is around the corner, Pfizer has unveiled a new program, “We Heart Quitters,” to help. People can visit www.WeHeartQuitters.com to download tips and resources to help quit and information about a non-nicotine prescription treatment option.
The survey of Match.com members also found:
- 57% of respondents said they would never date a smoker;
- The top concerns about dating a smoker were the smokers’ long-term health (78%), the smell of cigarettes on their person (75%) or in their home/vehicle (80%) and their own personal health (62%); and
- When it comes to being a good kisser, 78% of respondents think fresh breath is the top attribute; 78% also said they mind kissing a smoker after they have had a cigarette.
“Most smokers want to quit. They just need the confidence to believe they can,” said Mitchell Nides, director, Picture Quitting, the entertainment industry’s Quit Smoking Program. “Quitting can be tough, but we have tools to help make a person’s quit attempt easier. If you want to quit, a great place to start is talking to your healthcare provider to learn about these tools, including medications and practical strategies for dealing with urges to smoke.”
Study: Vitamin D supplementation ‘may contribute to better outcomes for many MS patients’
BOSTON — For patients in the early stages of multiple sclerosis, low levels of vitamin D were found to strongly predict disease severity and hasten its progression, according to a new study led by the Harvard School of Public Health investigators in collaboration with Bayer HealthCare. The findings suggest that patients in the early stages of MS could stave off disease symptoms by increasing their vitamin D intake.
"Because low vitamin D levels are common and can be easily and safely increased by oral supplementation, these findings may contribute to better outcomes for many MS patients," said lead author Alberto Ascherio, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at HSPH.
The study appeared online January 20, 2014 in JAMA Neurology.
Previous research indicated a connection between low levels of vitamin D and risk of developing MS or having MS symptoms worsen, but those studies included patients with longstanding MS whose vitamin D levels could partly be a consequence, not a predictor, of disease severity. The new study looked at vitamin D levels among patients at the time of their first symptoms of the disease.
Researchers found that early-stage MS patients who had adequate levels of vitamin D had a 57% lower rate of new brain lesions, a 57% lower relapse rate and a 25% lower yearly increase in lesion volume than those with lower levels of vitamin D. Loss in brain volume, which is an important predictor of disability, also was lower among patients with adequate vitamin D levels. The results suggest that vitamin D has a strong protective effect on the disease process underlying MS, and underscore the importance of correcting vitamin D insufficiency, which is widespread in Europe and the United States, the researchers said.
"The benefits of vitamin D appeared to be additive to those of interferon beta-1b, a drug that is very effective in reducing MS activity. The findings of our study indicate that identifying and correcting vitamin D insufficiency should become part of the standard of care for newly diagnosed MS patients," Ascherio said.
Study: Pharmavite’s CholestOff found to lower LDL
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. — A research study published this month in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics demonstrated the effectiveness of a sterol/stanol ester softgel capsule for lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in individuals with high cholesterol levels.
"This is a significant contribution to our understanding of an esterified plant sterol and stanol based dietary supplements’ role in the reduction of cholesterol levels," stated Kevin Maki of Biofortis, the clinical research arm of Merieux NutriSciences in Chicago. "Our results show that a softgel capsule can be an effective and convenient way to provide plant sterol/stanol esters in a non-food matrix."
Throughout this study, all subjects followed a heart healthy (National Cholesterol Education Program) diet. In a crossover fashion, all subjects received a sterol/stanol softgel for six weeks and a placebo for six weeks, with the order of treatments randomly assigned. After taking the sterol/stanol softgels for six weeks, reductions were significant versus the placebo period for LDL cholesterol (down 4.3%), non-HDL cholesterol (down 4.1%) and total cholesterol (down 3.5%).
Pharmavite, makers of Nature Made brand dietary supplements, provided the sterol/stanol esters used in this study in the form of its CholestOff softgel dietary supplement. These study results reinforce the findings of earlier similar research and provide reproducible clinical data that healthcare professionals may find useful in making lifestyle recommendations for their patients, the company stated.
The softgel supplement in this study provided 1.8 g of esterified plant sterols and stanols in two softgels taken twice daily with meals. This dosage is within the range for which positive changes in cholesterol levels in individuals with high cholesterol have been observed in previous studies. Many individuals consuming a typical Western Diet consume as little as 200 mg of plant sterols and stanols each day, a level unlikely to change blood cholesterol levels.
"When Nature Made developed the CholestOff dietary supplement we worked to ensure that the dose provided was consistent with the scientific literature that showed a reducing effect on cholesterol levels," said James Brooks, VP science and technology, Pharmavite. "Previously, a study was published showing that the tablet form of CholestOff lowered cholesterol levels significantly. This new study of our softgels adds to the assurance consumers can have using this product."