The People's Perspective on Medicine

Can Vitamin D and Physical Therapy Improve Fracture Recovery?

Older people who had suffered a hip fracture were randomly assigned to receive extended or standard physical therapy. They were also given either high-dose or medium-dose vitamin D supplementation. The high dose was 2,000 International Units while the medium dose was 800 IU daily.
The 173 subjects were followed for a year to see if they fell or had to be re-admitted to the hospital. Extended physical therapy reduced the likelihood of falls, but not of hospitalization. The higher-dose vitamin D reduced hospital admission but not falls. In this study, about half the subjects had levels of vitamin D indicating deficiency, and almost all had levels lower than desirable at the outset. The investigators conclude that it might make most sense to use vitamin D supplementation and extended physical therapy together after hip fracture to improve the likelihood for a healthy recovery.
[Archives of Internal Medicine, May 10, 2010]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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