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Sweet News About Burn Treatment – and other news

Posted Oct 10 2008 1:03pm

There’s some really interesting news out about alternative treatments, one of which is particularly sweet for people suffering minor burns. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

First, some good news for people who have undergone surgery for problems with their lower back. Researchers in the Netherlands looked at 14 different trials involving almost 2,000 patients who had surgery to repair a herniated disc.

The researchers found that exercise programs that started four to six weeks after surgery could lead to faster pain relief and a quicker recovery, without increasing the risk for extra surgery.

The rehab programs varied greatly, ranging from just gentle stretching to strength training and intensive aerobic workouts. The amount of support the patients got also varied from a single two-hour training session to multiple visits with a team of rehab specialists. What was encouraging was that all pointed to the same conclusion, exercise and rehab programs help speed up recovery and reduce pain.

In fact the researchers say the evidence seems to suggest that it’s better to start a rehab program and get back to work as soon as possible, rather than lying around in bed for weeks.

Bee Barf for Burns

Who knew honey could be so useful. Normally I just use it to sweeten my tea but apparently it’s also showing promise in treating burns.

Researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand found that smearing honey on a burn can reduce the time it takes for the wound to heal – by up to four days in some cases.

The researchers say that honey can draw moisture out of cells on the skin, and that it also contains hydrogen peroxide, both of which can  help kill off infectious bacteria.

They also looked at whether honey was useful for treating other kinds of injuries, such as leg ulcers, but so far there’s no conclusive evidence it can help those heal faster.

But for minor burns honey could be a cheap and sweet alternative to the other old standby, sticking the burn area under a tap and letting cold water run over it.

By the way, the study was published in The Cochrane Library, which comes from The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research.

This next study also comes from the same group. And its conclusion is one of the strangest ones I’ve heard in a while.
Worts and all for Depression

The researchers looked at whether the herbal medicine St. John’s Wort can help patients battling major depression.

The good news is that the researchers found that St. John’s Wort appears to work just as well as some commonly prescribed antidepressants for treating major depression. Here’s the weird bit. They found that patients living in German-speaking countries might get the biggest benefits.

“Gott in Himmel!”, as they say in Berlin. Why would the Germans and Austrians get the biggest benefit?

Well, the researchers are not quite sure but it may be because in those countries doctors commonly prescribe St. John’s Wort for mild symptoms of depression. Perhaps that greater acceptance by the medical community gives people more confidence in the herb, and that helps increase its ability to help them.

In contrast in the U.S. several studies, including ones done by researchers at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (part of the National Institutes of Health) found that St. John’s Wort was no more effective than a placebo at treating major depression.

So, what can we learn from this. Well, either that belief in the power of something to heal you can affect its power to heal you. Or that if you are feeling blue, start speaking German. It can’t hurt can it?

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