The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 7, 1997 · Page 8
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 8

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Salina, Kansas
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Wednesday, May 7, 1997
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Page 8
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1997 HEALTH THE SAUNA JOURNAL T VITAMIN E Vitamin E boosts immunity 200 milligrams a day is optimal amount for elderly to take By Scrlpps Howard News Service . Researchers will report new ev- ' idence today that taking extra Vit'. afnin E can help boost immune- system response in the elderly. A nine-month study of nearly 90 seniors over 65 taking the antioxidant vitamin found that those who got 200 milligrams a day — about seven times the government-recommended allowance — enjoyed im- .proved immune response based on " several biological measurements. .Dr. Simin Meydani, a re, searcher at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, and colleagues report their findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Meydani's group previously had shown that high doses of Vitamin E given over a month's time boosted immune responses in mice and elderly humans. The latest research was aimed at finding an optimal dose to be taken over a longer term. Their research indicates that 200 milligrams a day "represents the optimal level of Vitamin E for the immune response," and the authors conclude that given the widespread effects of death and illness associated with immune-system decline in the elderly "recommendations to increase the intake of the vitamin for elderly should be considered" by government nutrition officials. Vitamin E, which is made up of several compounds called toco- pherols, protects human cells and fatty tissues from free radicals, reactive oxygen molecules that damage cell membranes and DNA and cause a decline in immune response as the body ages. Free radical damage particularly injures certain brain cells, leading to age-related memory impairment and contributing to Alzheimer's disease and other degenerative diseases of the brain. Just last week, researchers reported that a group of patients diagnosed with moderate to severe Alzheimer's who took a high dose of Vitamin E delayed the onset of major disability by an average of seven months compared to those who didn't take the drug. T MEDICARE Fees taken by more doctors By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — More doctors and other health-care providers have agreed to take fees set by Medicare as payment in full for their services, keeping medical bills down for senior citizens. As of January, 80.2 percent of all health-care providers participated in a program that helps keep out- of-pocket expenses low for Medicare patients. That was up from 77.5 percent at the start of 1996, the agency that runs Medicare reported Tuesday. "The rising participation rate is good news for Medicare beneficiaries because it means they can see more providers without worrying about being charged more than the standard co-payment amount," said Donna Shalala, the Health and Human Services secretary. Dr. Patrick Harr, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, said one incentive for care-givers to participate is free access to an electronic Medicare claims-processing system. "I think it's becoming more of a hassle to be a non-participating .physician," Harr said. Medicare encourages healthcare providers to keep patient co- payments low by setting fees about 5 percent higher for those who cooperate. . ,• Care-givers who agree to the System collect 80 percent of those -fees from the government and bill patients for the other 20 percent. Subscribe Today For Only $9.97( Each issue features the people, places, events and heritage that makes Salina so special. Makes a great gift, jxirfect for your home or office. Coll 825-6789 iw A publication of Tho SnJuw At&a Ctwnb&r of Comineico. T INFLUENZA Nasal spray may protect against influenza Vaccine could reach people who are afraid of getting shots By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Some day, people may routinely go to a pharmacy and pick up a nasal spray vaccine that protects against the flu. Researchers say a squirt up the nose seems to guard against influenza as effectively as a painful shot. "This is a much better way to go," said Dr. James King of the University of Maryland Medical Center. "Kids are terrified of getting shots," and adults don't like them either. As a result, many people simply avoid the flu vaccine and hope they es- cape the miserable malady that strikes millions every year and kills about 20,000 of the most vulnerable patients. King and researchers at five other institutions tested a flu vaccine nose spray on 320 children and found that it worked. "We found the vaccine delivered good antibody responses, whether it was given through nose drops or the nasal spray," King reported Tuesday at the annual scientific meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies. "It proved not only to be safe, but much more accepted by children because they did not have to have a flu shot." The vaccine was tested in children, he said, because that group is the most fearful of injections, often leading parents to avoid flu shots altogether. "We had parents say they were delighted with the nose spray because it protected their children without needles," King said. Getting flu vaccine to more children may benefit everybody, he said. Flu often is spread from child to child at school, and the youngsters then bring it home to share with the rest of the family. "If a vaccine keeps children from getting the flu, it may help block transmission in the whole community," King said. Nose drops or sprays may be better at protecting against diseases that attack the respiratory system than are vaccines given as shots in the arm, he said. Nose sprays put the vaccine directly on the mucous membrane, the first line of defense against inhaled viruses, King said. Experiments are under way in using nose sprays to deliver vaccines against parain- fluenza and respiratory syncytial viruses, both major causes of pneumonia in children. THE NEWEST LOOKS IN HANDBAGS FROM YOUR FAVORITE NAMES MINI DRAWSTRING Stuff It, pull It, and got '98. MAGGIE DUFFLE Complete your wardrobe ln"sfyle.*l$8. MINI WILLIS A little and classy great gift! * 158. SKINNY CASE Slim things down and look great. *48. VINTAGE CHECKBOOK ORGA kbook register. ABBIE ZIP A nice accent for spring! *88. MULTI FUNCTION Holds everything to go anywhere, *68. CHECKBOOK COVER cks SUNG Over the shoulder convenience. *68. SHOULDER BAG Convenient with small snap feature. BUCKET A favorite with front pocket. *90. 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