A new study supports the use of cranberry products as an alternative way to prevent reoccurring urinary tract infections (rUTI). Antibiotics are often used to treat rUTIs but, while effective, this can lead to adverse effects and future drug resistance. Cranberry juice and tablets, on the other hand, help prevent UTIs (by stopping bacteria from attaching to the urinary tract), and do not have adverse effects or increase drug resistance. To determine if cranberry products are a reasonable alternative for preventing rUTIs, researchers reviewed data from 1,616 subjects (including women and children) in 5 different trials. They found that cranberry products are effective in preventing rUTIs — especially for women and children. While more research is needed to determine the mechanism, dose, and usefulness of the treatment, researchers suggest that drinking cranberry juice, or taking tablets at least twice a day may help women avoid rUTIs.
Evidence-Based Medicine, June 2013
About 28 million people in the U.S. are family caregivers who provide free care for ill and/or disabled relatives. The good news for many of these individuals is that a new study has found family caregivers live slightly longer than non-caregivers. Researchers compared the mortality rates from 2003 to 2012 of 3,503 individuals, less than 45 years old, who were family caregivers to a group of non-caregivers who shared common variables like demographics and health histories. Over the six-year period, the family caregivers had an 18% lower mortality rate than did non-caregivers — an extra nine months of life, on average. The researchers propose that the health benefit of caretaking probably only applies to those who are providing care willingly, in moderation, and for relatives who can and do show their gratitude. In more stressful care situations that involve more time and less reward for the caregiver, the health effects are likely to be less positive. The findings indicate, however, that providing care for a family member may be associated with a slight survival benefit for some caregivers.
American Journal of Epidemiology, October 2013
Women with severe uterine fibroids wait almost four years, on average, before seeking treatment, even if the symptoms affect their daily life. Researchers surveyed 968 U.S. women, aged 29-59 years, who were diagnosed with uterine fibroids to determine the impact of uterine fibroids on their lives. While fibroids often are asymptomatic, almost one-third (28%) of the women surveyed said they had had to miss work due to their symptoms. On average, the women waited 3.6 years before seeking treatment; once they sought treatment, 41% went to at least 2 health care providers before getting the correct diagnosis. While uterine fibroids are the leading cause of hysterectomy in the U.S., most of the women in the study wanted to avoid invasive surgery (79%) or removal of their uterus (51%). Further research on this subject could encourage greater communication between women and their providers about diagnosis and treatment of fibroids.
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, October 2013