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cover_2009-08_thumbComment: The epidemiology of coeliac disease that once was thought to be in the rage of 1 in 10,000 is now known to be in the neighbourhood of 1 in 133, although not all individuals with the disease face the same set of symptoms that makes coeliac and other food-related conditions so dangerous and widespread.

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untitled BMJ LogoComment: A paper out in the British Medical Journal on the 10th August 2009 [1] raises some interesting questions about the benefit of treating children under the age of 12 with neuraminidase inhibitors. This paper looked at 4 RCT’s involving 1766 children of whom 1243 had confirmed seasonal influenza A. Plus three RCT’s for the potential benefits of prophylaxis in 863 children.

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S0091674909X00102_cov200hDr Harri Hemila MD. PhD responded to the CAM article in Allergy and Clinical Immunology [1] stating-

Mainardi et al[1] reviewed the use and effects of complementary and alternative medicines on respiratory symptoms. They stated that early studies on vitamin C did not demonstrate an effect on the duration or intensity of the common cold, and as a support to this statement, they referred to 2 articles from 1975.[2,3]

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generic.Par.0001.ImageDr Harri Hemila MD PhD co author of the Cochrane Review article replies [1]:

The Cochrane review was limited to placebo-controlled trials in which at least 0.2 g of vitamin C was used per day.[2] Most of these trials examined vitamin C administration as regular supplementation and provided strong evidence that vitamin C shortens the duration of colds and alleviates its symptoms.

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S0091674909X00102_cov200hComplementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) are used in more than 80% of the world’s population and are becoming an increasing component of the US health care system, with more than 70% of the population using CAM at least once and annual spending reaching as much as $34 billion. Since the inception of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, there has been an enormous increase in the number of basic science and therapy-based clinical trials exploring CAM.

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Comment: Everyone knows that vitamins “from A to zinc” are important for good health. Now, a new research study in the August 2009 print issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology suggests that zinc may be pointing the way to new therapeutic targets for fighting infections. Specifically, scientists from Florida found that zinc not only supports healthy immune function, but increases activation of the cells (T cells) responsible for destroying viruses and bacteria.

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plosComment: Natural Killer (NK) cells – a type of white blood cell – are a major component of the human body’s innate immune system. Over 1,000 NK cells are found in every drop of blood. They provide a fast frontline defence against tumours, viruses and bacterial infections, by latching onto and killing cells in the human body that are cancerous or are infected with a virus or a bacterial pathogen.

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coverThimerosal (ethylmercurithiosalicylic acid), an ethylmercury (EtHg)-releasing compound (49.55% mercury (Hg)), was used in a range of medical products for more than 70 years. Of particular recent concern, routine administering of Thimerosal-containing biologics/childhood vaccines have become significant sources of Hg exposure for some fetuses/infants.

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gastroenterologyAlthough many people are aware of the communication that occurs between the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the central nervous system, fewer know about the ability of the central nervous system to influence the microbiota or of the microbiota’s influence on the brain and behaviour. Within the GI tract, the microbiota have a mutually beneficial relationship with their host that maintains normal mucosal immune function, epithelial barrier integrity, motility, and nutrient absorption.

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The Human Microbiome Project has awarded more than $42 million to expand its exploration of how the trillions of microscopic organisms that live in or on our bodies affect our health, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced on June 24th 2009. The human microbiome is all the microorganisms that reside in or on the

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