The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 1058: Health News Update-Cranberry Pills Fail to Prevent Infection

We discuss a randomized study that found no benefit for cranberry extract in preventing urinary tract infections in elderly women. Also, more health news.
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Health News Update-Cranberry Pills Fail to Prevent Infection

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This show will be broadcast live on November 12, 2016, at 7 am EST. 

We discuss a number of fascinating health news stories from recent weeks.

Fidgeting:

If you find yourself tapping your foot or jiggling your knee, you just might be doing your legs a favor. We talk with a researcher who found that fidgeting, especially foot-tapping, can help counteract the negative consequences of sitting. Even small movements of this nature benefit blood vessels in the legs.

Scrubs:

A new study at Duke University Medical Center shows that germs easily contaminate the scrubs health care workers wear. Infection might move from patient to patient on these garments. What should hospitals do to try to control the spread of infections? The study has not yet been published. Deverick Anderson, MD, presented it at a medical meeting: IDWeek, Oct. 27, 2016.

Cranberry Extract:

Cranberries and cranberry juice have a reputation for fighting off urinary tract infections. The latest study published in JAMA (11/8/2016) did not show that cranberry extract affects the risk of urinary tract infections in older women. The lead author, Dr. Manisha Juthani-Mehta, describes the study and its implications.

Your Calls and Emails:

We want to hear your stories and questions about the latest health news. Are you a fidgeter? Have you ever caught a nasty infection when you were hospitalized? Perhaps you have taken cranberry pills or drunk cranberry juice to prevent a urinary tract infection.

Ask your question or share your story: Call 888-472-3366 between 7 and 8 am EST on November 12, 2016, or email radio@peoplespharmacy.com

This Week’s Guests:

Robert M. Restaino is a graduate student in the University of Missouri School of Medicine, Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology. He is a co-author of the study published in The American Journal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Physiology, July 1, 2016.  The article is titled: “Prolonged sitting-induced leg endothelial dysfunction is prevented by fidgeting.”

Manisha Juthani Mehta, MD, is Associate Professor of Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine. She is also the Director of the Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program at Yale. Her study of cranberry extract was published in JAMA, November 8, 2016. It is titled: “Effect of Cranberry Capsules on Bacteriuria Plus Pyuria Among Older Women in Nursing Homes: Clinical Trial.”

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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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. .
Show 1058: Health News Update-Cranberry Pills Fail to Prevent Infection
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We discuss a randomized study that found no benefit for cranberry extract in preventing urinary tract infections in elderly women. Also, more health news.

Show 1058: Health News Update-Cranberry Pills Fail to Prevent Infection
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There are several references on Pub Med for the use of D mannose and UTI.

I’m still a believer in the use of cranberry for UTI. Juice is a whole food, and may be very different from pills. we don’t always understand the complex interactions that can take place when using a whole food compared to isolated compounds from that food.

Very interesting topic!

There is no question that. Thanks a berry pills have stopped my tonic UTIs as well as my 90yr. old mother’s. Please be vigilant for n you critique of this new study.

About fidgeting: I take a stretchable exercise band on flights. Even in the dread middle seat I can move my arms and legs against light resistance. If my seatmates are warned, I can even stretch my abs and back. I’m just looking for motion: nothing drastic or invasive.

While driving you can always work at keeping your abs and butt tight; plant your heels and try to pull your lower legs toward you; put a tennis ball behind your back and roll around on it; wear light wrist weights.

I do all these things while I’m standing at the computer or watching TV in a big comfy chair.
Sometimes!

Your show is very helpful. Thanks!

We listened to your show today about the importance of not sitting still for long periods and I would like to say “bring back the rocking chair!” I wonder if the invention of the recliner meant the death of the rocking chair as a piece of living room furniture. Putting your feet up and reclining has become the norm and, not only does that mean you are not moving your legs and feet as you do when rocking, but also it is harder to get up out of a cushy upholstered chair. Consequently I’d wager people stay put more when in a recliner increasing their sitting time.
So bring the rocker in off the porch and rock on while you sit!

I have had UTI’s off and on all my life — maybe one every two to three years. I started road cycling, riding my bike as long as 6-8 hours some days and that seemed to be triggering UTI’s. I started taking cranberry extract and have continued to do so every day since that time — probably four years ago (though I am off my bicycle for the moment) and I have not had a UTI since. On a few occasions where I started feeling the sensitivity and burning that I would get with a UTI, I doubled the pills to two a day and took the red dye pills for the burning and everything would go back to normal. I have not listened to the podcast yet but with the success I have had with cranberry extract — I do buy a high quality product — I will be a bit skeptical.

I and a neighbor both have found cessation of urinary frequency with use of cranberry products, though not the pills. As older men we both have complete emptying of the bladder which exacerbates minor inflammations. I am happy, myself with a couple of large handfuls of dried cranberries a day (Craisens) since they are easy to take when on trips.

Perhaps the dosage was too low? According to the Mayo Clinic: “For prevention of urinary tract infections, doses studied range from 30 to 480 milliliters (1-16 ounces) of cranberry juice cocktail 2-3 times daily for up to 40 weeks, or 15-30 milliliters of unsweetened 100% cranberry juice daily. One gram of concentrated cranberry extract (CranVerry, Aim This Way, Cambridge, MA) has been used twice daily for six months, and 1.5 ounces of frozen juice concentrate twice daily has been used. Eight ounces of cranberry juice cocktail (Ocean Spray® low-calorie juice cocktail) was taken twice daily for six months. One to three cranberry capsules (36 milligrams of cranberry proanthocyanidin; PAC) have been taken daily for 30 days. Four to five milliliters of cranberry tincture has been given three times daily (anecdotally). For a novel concentrated cranberry liquid blend (Uti-Stat®), the suggested dose was set at 60 milliliters daily. Supplements containing 200-8,000 milligrams of cranberry have been taken daily for up to six months.”

Perhaps the dosage was too low? According to the Mayo Clinic: “For prevention of urinary tract infections, doses studied range from 30 to 480 milliliters (1-16 ounces) of cranberry juice cocktail 2-3 times daily for up to 40 weeks, or 15-30 milliliters of unsweetened 100% cranberry juice daily. One gram of concentrated cranberry extract (CranVerry, Aim This Way, Cambridge, MA) has been used twice daily for six months, and 1.5 ounces of frozen juice concentrate twice daily has been used. Eight ounces of cranberry juice cocktail (Ocean Spray® low-calorie juice cocktail) was taken twice daily for six months. One to three cranberry capsules (36 milligrams of cranberry proanthocyanidin; PAC) have been taken daily for 30 days. Four to five milliliters of cranberry tincture has been given three times daily (anecdotally). For a novel concentrated cranberry liquid blend (Uti-Stat®), the suggested dose was set at 60 milliliters daily. Supplements containing 200-8,000 milligrams of cranberry have been taken daily for up to six months.”

One of my three dogs tends to get UTIs. I generally give her a cranberry capsule in her food every day, and it has definitely helped. At one point I stopped giving them to her, thinking she might be fine without them. Sure enough, she got another UTI. I don’t live near a vet, so I immediately started giving her 4 capsules, twice a day. Her UTI was gone in two days.

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