HEALTH

Vitamin K may reduce risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON In the first study of vitamin K and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma risk, researchers at the Mayo Clinic campus in Minnesota have found that people who have higher intakes of vitamin K from their diet have a lower risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

 

“These results are provocative, since they are the first work we have done on the connection between vitamin K and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and this is a fairly strong protective effect,” stated the study’s lead investigator, James Cerhan, a cancer epidemiologist. “However, as with all new findings, this will need to be replicated in other studies.”

 

 

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system and is the most common hematologic malignancy in the United States.

 

Researchers at the Mayo Comprehensive Cancer Center are studying the connection between diet and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma risk, and they became interested in a potential role for vitamin K. While vitamin K is best known for its essential function in several proteins involved in blood clotting (the name of the vitamin is derived from the German word “Koagulations”), it also appears to be important in other biological processes, including inhibition of inflammatory cytokines thought to play a role in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as well as pathways involved in cell cycle arrest and cell death.

 

At the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, researchers reported that the risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was approximately 45% lower for participants who had vitamin K intakes in the top quartile of intake in the study (more than 108 ug/day), compared to participants who had intakes in the bottom quartile (less than 39 ug/day). This association remained after accounting for other factors such as age, sex, education, obesity, smoking, alcohol use and intake of foods with high amounts of antioxidants.

 

 

The Mayo study enrolled 603 patients who were newly diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as well as 1,007 matched cancer-free “control” participants. Researchers asked the participants to answer a food questionnaire about their usual intake of over 120 food items two years prior to their cancer diagnosis or enrollment into the study (controls). They also asked about use of a variety of supplements. Vitamin K intake was estimated from this data.

 

 

While there was a clear trend showing that a greater intake of vitamin K from dietary sources was associated with a lower risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the use of vitamin K supplements presented a slightly different picture. Increasing intake of vitamin K from supplements did protect against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but reached a point where the highest intake offered no reduction in risk. “The significance of this finding is unclear,” Cerhan said, “but suggests that taking high doses of supplements is unlikely to be helpful.” Cerhan also noted that people taking certain oral anticoagulants or seizure medications should closely follow their physician’s dietary recommendations with respect to vitamin K intake, since vitamin K can interfere with these drugs.

 

 

“Whether the protective effect we observed is due to vitamin K intake, or some other dietary or lifestyle exposure, cannot be definitely assessed in this study,” Cerhan said. “But these findings add to a lot of other data that support a diet that includes plenty of green leafy vegetables in order to prevent many cancers as well as other diseases.”

 

 

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

 

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HPCUS salutes Borneman with lifetime achievement award at convention

BY Michael Johnsen

BALTIMORE The Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the United States last week awarded John “Jack” Borneman, III, its Wyrth Post Baker Lifetime Achievement Award for his more than 35 years of service to the homeopathy industry.

Borneman has spent his lifetime committed to the development and regulation of homeopathic medicine within the United States as the third of four generations of “John Bornemans” who attended the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. Upon graduation, Borneman joined the firm of John A. Borneman and Sons, Homeopathic Pharmacists, which was founded by his grandfather in 1907. In 1980, Borneman was a founding director of HPCUS, and in 1983, he was elected the second president of the organization. In the course of his 25 years as president, his leadership evolved HPCUS into a respected international body of scientists and experts. His work has led to the wide availability of standardized, high-quality medications to the general public. In Aug. 2008, Borneman assumed the role of HPCUS chairman of the board, where he continues to be a guiding force in a rapidly growing industry. He continues to lecture on homeopathy to both pharmacy and physician assistant students at University of the Sciences, and maintains a practice in community pharmacy and patient care at Treatment Options Pharmacy in King of Prussia, Pa.

The HPCUS also recognized Andy Bormeth and Edward Conway with its Awards of Merit for Service to Homeopathy. Bormeth, who passed away July 19, 2009, was recognized for his contributions to HPCUS, including extending accessibility to the modern HPUS by creating its online presence and utility. His award was accepted on his behalf by his wife of 20 years, Celinda Bormeth.

Conway contributes to HPCUS on an ongoing basis as its editorial and Web site content manager. He volunteers his time to extend Bormeth’s initial efforts to include news and other relevant information to interested parties at www.hpus.com.

The Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the United States sets standards for quality and safety of homeopathic drugs in the United States by maintaining and regularly updating the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS). The HPUS is the official compendium within the meaning of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act for listing of homeopathic drugs and is the technical basis for FDA regulation of the industry. The organization is composed of technical experts in the field of homeopathic medicine including: clinicians, pharmacists, biologists, chemists, botanists, toxicologists, and safety, legal and policy experts. HPCUS meets regularly to consider new drug monographs and technical standards.

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Rite Aid to launch Wellness+ program nationwide

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid on Monday announced that its new Wellness+ customer rewards program that provides members with free health-and-wellness benefits, as well as shopping discounts and special prices, is launching nationwide.

“Our customers told us they wanted a program that offered more than just discounts. The Wellness+ program marries our customers’ fiscal and physical well-being, and we reward them with both member-only shopping discounts and health-and-wellness benefits that increase the more they shop and the more prescriptions they fill at Rite Aid,” stated John Learish, Rite Aid SVP marketing. “We’ve tested this program in four markets over the last six months, and results exceeded our expectations. This is the drug  store industry’s only customer rewards program focused around pharmacy and wellness.”

The program will be supported by a national television, radio, circular and digital advertising campaign.

The free Rite Aid Wellness+ rewards card offers immediate benefits including 24/7 toll-free access to a pharmacist and 10% off Rite Aid brand products. Member-only discounts are listed each week in Rite Aid’s weekly newspaper circulars, and there are special member-only temporary price reductions and offers on register receipts, via e-mail and online.

Members accrue points with eligible pharmacy and store purchases to get free health screenings and additional merchandise discounts including 20% off non-prescription regularly priced items every day. Members’ wellness+ points are tracked automatically, and a tiered benefits structure combines health-and-wellness rewards with savings rewards.

Members earn one point for every dollar spent on non-prescription store purchases and 25 points for every eligible prescription they fill at Rite Aid.

At 125, 250 and 375 points, members will receive a one-time-use shopping pass via e-mail or mail good for 10% off any non-prescription, regularly-priced purchases.

When customers earn 500 points, they’ll receive 10% off all non-prescription regularly priced items every day at Rite Aid. They’ll also get a certificate for free health screenings — blood glucose and total cholesterol screenings at a local lab — and they can pick up their test results at their local Rite Aid.

When members earn 1,000 points, they’ll receive 20% off all non-prescription regularly priced Rite Aid purchases every day.

Program rules can be found in-store and at www.riteaid.com, including purchases that are excluded from point accrual and discounts such as cigarettes, alcohol, gift cards, online purchases, lottery tickets, licenses, money orders and transfers, prepaid cards, stamps, other mail services and items prohibited by law, Rite Aid stated.

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