Postscripts

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PACIFIC OYSTERS are being killed by a virulent form a herpes, according to a new study. In French oyster beds, as many as 20 to 100 percent of oysters have been destroyed by the deadly virus, which has begun to spread to oyster beds in Britain. Some oysters in California have tested positive for herpes, but not this latest, highly infectious version.

(Source: Virus Research, August 2010.)

ALTHOUGH A LARGE INFLUX of literature has been published pertaining to the association between mental health problems and combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, few studies have shown the association levels based upon functional impairment, for example, aggressive behavior and alcoholism as factors occurring with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In a cross-sectional, population-based study among National Guard armories and U.S. Army posts, 18,305 U.S. Army and National Guard soldiers were examined. Depending on the level of functional impairment, PTSD and depression prevalence rates ranged between 9% and 31%. For the National Guard soldiers, rates increased across all case definitions from over three to 12 months.

These high rates indicate the need for comprehensive deployment screening of soldiers. Post-deployment rates also illustrate continued effects of war zone service and need for consistent care after deployment.

(Source: Archives of General Psychiatry, August 2010; 67[6]:614-623.)

INVESTIGATORS, looking into earlier findings that suggested a connection between antioxidants, thiazolidinedione (TZD) medications, and improvements in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), conducted a multicenter double-blind trial enrolling 247 nondiabetic patients. These patients with NASH were randomly assigned to receive 30 milligrams (mg.) of pioglitazone (Actos®) or 800 International Units (LU.) of vitamin E daily for 96 weeks in order to determine whether either the drug or the vitamin improved the histological features of NASH.

Results showed that vitamin E was associated with more improvement than placebo for these patients. Pioglitazone was not superior to placebo, but it did lower alanine levels. Although vitamin E helped, the therapeutic benefit of either drug was not very substantial and was lacking in longterm safety data.

(Source: New England Journal of Medicine, May 2010.)

IN A TRIAL enrolling 5 1 students, some were given a protein snack labeled "health bar" and some were given the same snack under the title of "candy bar." Participants receiving the health bar were hungrier afterward than those eating the candy bar. In a follow-up study, however, students who chose the health bar were not any more or less hungry than those choosing to eat the tasty candy bar.

(Source: Journal of Consumer Research, March 2010.)

IS THERE A CONNECTION between vitamin A analogue treatment and fracture risk? In a nationwide case-control study, 124,655 patients with fractures and 373,964 controls were examined to determine a trend between fracture risk and isotretinoin and acitretin therapy. …