[MOL] Alternative Medicine What's Hot_Immune Enhancing Therapies [01126] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Alternative Medicine What's Hot_Immune Enhancing Therapies

Good Morning All,

Thought this might be of some use.


God Bless You All
marty auslander
Title: Alternative Medicine What's Hot


Immune Enhancing Therapy Saves Lives

A study published in the December issue of Critical Care Medicine showed that for critically ill patients who have suffered trauma, toxic infections, or major surgery, tube-fed supplements specially designed to boost the immune system significantly reduce infection rates and shorten the length of hospitalization by almost three days.

When patients suffer trauma, major surgery or sepsis (the presence of pathogenic organisms, or their toxins, in the blood or tissues), their immune systems become depressed, placing them at greater risk for wound, chest and skin infections. Such infections frequently lead to multi-organ failure and, in some cases, death. Use of a ventilator to assist breathing is also often required for critically ill patients and carries risks, such as development of pneumonia and sepsis. In fact, approximately two million Americans admitted to hospitals each year acquire infections there, with treatment costing $4.5 billion annually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC reports that 20,000 people die each year as a direct cause of these hospital-acquired infections—other estimates put that figure as high as 80,000.

This randomized study analyzed 12 controlled trials involving 1,482 patients at medical centers in the U.S. and Europe, comparing patients receiving standard enteral nutrition with patients who received commercially available immune-enhancing therapies containing the amino acids arginine and glutamine, nucleotides found in yeast, and omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil.

When patients were given immune-enhancing therapy, the results were significant reductions in episodes of infection (one-third less); number of days a ventilator is required (2.6 days less) and hospital length of stay (2.9 days less), as compared to patients given standard, tube-fed formulas. The benefits of immune-enhancing therapy were most pronounced in surgical patients, although present in all groups. No evidence of any detrimental effect of immune-enhancing therapy was found in the study.

"Any critically ill patient suitable for enteral feeding may potentially benefit from immune-enhancing enteral feeds," said Richard Beale, M.D., of the Department of Intensive Care, Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital Trust, London, UK, and co-author of the study. "Our systematic analysis further reinforces the conclusions of a recent review that the use of immune-enhancing formulas represents a level 1 recommendation."

Level 1 is the highest ranking, "strength of evidence" recommendation, based on a method used by the Agency for Health Care Policy Research, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services and coded by the American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. A level 1 recommendation requires evidence obtained from a meta-analysis of multiple, randomized, controlled, clinical trials. "Our study shows that immunonutrition can make a significant contribution to reducing the number of infections and length of hospital stay in critically ill patients. This is good news for everyone concerned with care of this important patient group, and the results have significant implications for hospital critical care departments," said Dr. Beale.

Alternative Medicine hopes that conventional medicine takes this study to heart, and so reduce the number of patients that hospitals kill or make sick. And you can help, by bringing this study to the attention of your physician (see the citation below*). But we also urge you to boost your own immune system as a preventative measure, so that you don’t end up in the hospital in the first place!

Our polluted world and stress-filled culture compromise the immune systems of all of us. Did you know, for instance, that your body contains 1,000 times more lead than your great-grandparents? Or that it is becoming apparent that infections from chlamydia and other viruses play a major role in causing heart attacks? Our weakened immune systems in fact play a role in virtually every illness to which we are prey, from maladies as mild as hay fever to as serious as colon cancer.

As usual, for more information on boosting your immune system, go to our website’s search engine, and enter as key words your specific health condition, or simply "immunity," or "detoxification."

*The study is "Immunonutrition in the critically ill: a systematic review on clinical outcome," by Drs. R.J. Beale, D.J. Bryg, and D.J. Bihari. Critical Care Medicine. Vol. 27, December (No. 12), 2799-2805, 1999.