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Cinnamon for diabetes mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disorder. People with diabetes are known to be at greater risk of cardiovascular disease (including heart attack, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease such as acute or chronic ischaemia of a leg resulting in severe pain when walking short distances). There is also an increased risk of eye disease, kidney failure, nerve damage and sexual dysfunction when compared to the general population. Improvements in the regulation of blood sugar levels may help to reduce the risk of these complications.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Zinc supplements for thalassaemia and sickle cell disease

Zinc is an essential micronutrient, which is needed so that the immune system works at its best and helps the body fight off infection. People may not get enough zinc from food alone. Researchers have therefore looked at zinc supplements as a way of reducing anaemia and preventing infections and complications. The review authors searched the medical literature for randomised controlled studies in which people with sickle cell disease or thalassaemia received either zinc supplements or no supplements. We included nine trials in the review (459 participants). In people with thalassaemia, there is no evidence to indicate any benefit of zinc supplements on serum zinc level. However, there was an improvement in height in those who received the supplements. There is mixed evidence on the benefit of using zinc supplements in people with sickle cell disease. For instance, there is evidence that when supplements are given for one year the serum zinc levels increased; however, haemoglobin levels and body mass index did not differ significantly between groups. We also found that people with sickle cell disease who received zinc supplements (at both three months and at one year) had fewer sickle cell crises and infections. However, given that the total number of trials is small, these results should be treated with caution.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Cordyceps sinensis (a Chinese medicinal herb) for treating chronic kidney disease

People with chronic kidney disease (CKD) experience gradual worsening of kidney function. Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis), which is sometimes known as Chinese caterpillar fungus, is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat people with CKD. We conducted this review to investigate if Cordyceps was a safe and effective treatment for people with CKD.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Vitamins for epilepsy

No evidence that folic acid, thiamine, vitamin D or vitamin E improve seizure control or prevent side effects for people with epilepsy.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

Metformin added to insulin therapy for type 1 diabetes mellitus in adolescents

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder resulting from a defect in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both. Metabolic control (glycaemic control, that is long‐term blood glucose levels as measured by glycosylated haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)) often deteriorates during puberty in children with type 1 diabetes possibly due to the development of insulin resistance (insulin does not work effectively in the tissues anymore) and this creates a great need for alternative therapeutic strategies in those patients. We searched for randomised controlled trials of good quality that studied the effects of metformin added to insulin therapy for type 1 diabetes mellitus in adolescents on glycaemic control, insulin sensitivity, health‐related quality of life, side‐effects as well as effects on body weight, serum lipids and insulin dose.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

Iron supplementation taken daily for improving health in menstruating women

Iron deficiency (a shortage of iron stored in the body) and anaemia (low levels of haemoglobin ‐ healthy red blood cells ‐ in the blood) are common problems globally, especially in women. Low levels of iron can eventually cause anaemia (iron‐deficiency anaemia). Among non‐pregnant women, around one third are anaemic worldwide. The problem is seen most commonly in low‐income countries, but iron deficiency and anaemia are more common in women in all contexts. Iron‐deficiency anaemia is considered to impair health and well‐being in women, and iron supplements ‐ tablets, capsules, syrup or drops containing iron ‐ are a commonly used intervention to prevent and treat this condition. We sought to review the evidence of iron, taken orally for at least five days per week, for improving health outcomes in non‐pregnant women of reproductive age (menstruating women).

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

The effects of iron supplementation on iron deficiency and deferral in blood donors

Iron deficiency can cause symptoms of tiredness. The interval between blood donations is set by independent regulators to minimise iron deficiency in donors. Potential blood donors are screened each time they visit to give blood to see if they have iron deficiency. Donors who do not pass this screening test and so cannot give blood are deferred and asked to delay giving blood, but many of these donors do not return. If blood donors take iron tablets then the risk of becoming iron deficient may be reduced. However, the balance between the benefits of giving iron and the possible side effects is not clear. We have reviewed all the randomised trials testing the benefits of giving blood donors iron. The evidence is current up to November 2013.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Dietary advice for treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus in adults

No high quality data on the efficacy of diet alone exists for treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus. This systematic review assesses the effects of studies that examined dietary advice with or without the addition of exercise or behavioural approaches. Eighteen studies were included. No data were found on micro‐ or macrovascular diabetic complications, mortality or quality of life. It is difficult to draw reliable conclusions from the limited data that are presented in this review, however, the addition of exercise to dietary advice showed improvement of metabolic control after six‐ and twelve‐month follow‐up.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

Astragalus (a traditional Chinese medicine) for treating chronic kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease affects increasing numbers of people around the world, but as yet, effective strategies to control its progression have not been universally accepted. Astragalus is one of most widely used herbs for treating kidney disease. We conducted this review to evaluate the benefits and potential harms of Astragalus for the treatment of people with chronic kidney disease.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Folate supplementation in people with sickle cell disease

We wanted to assess how effective and safe folate supplementation (folate occurring naturally in foods, provided as fortified foods or additional supplements such as tablets) is in people with sickle cell disease.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

Folic acid supplementation in pregnancy

Folate is a naturally occurring vitamin while folic aid is the synthetic replacement of folate used in most supplements and in fortified foods. Folate is essential as its deficiency can be caused by poor dietary intake, genetic factors or the interaction between genetic factors and the environment. Women with sickle cell disease and those women in areas where malaria is endemic have a greater need for folate and in these areas anaemia can be a major health problem during pregnancy. Women need more folate in pregnancy to meet their need for extra blood and to meet the growing baby's need for blood. Without adequate folate intake in a mother's diet, she can become anaemic and this can contribute to her baby being small, anaemic and born too early (preterm birth). Folic acid supplementation taken before conception can reduce the chance of the baby having neural tube defects. This review looked to see if taking folic acid supplements during pregnancy could reduce the chance of the baby being born too early and of low birthweight and to see its impact on the mother’s blood (hematological values), folate levels and on pregnancy complications.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Androgens for the anaemia of chronic kidney disease in adults

Anaemia, which occurs when red blood cell and haemoglobin levels fall below normal, is a common problem among adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Anaemia can cause breathlessness, dizziness and chest pain (angina); reduce ability to think clearly; limits ability to exercise; and contributes to sexual problems, poor appetite and reduced quality of life. Anaemia may also cause longer hospital stays, and sometimes death.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Treatment options for Gaucher disease

Gaucher disease, a rare disorder, is caused by inherited deficiency of the enzyme glucocerebrosidase. This defect leads to the build‐up of a fatty material called glucocerebroside in various cells in the body. Untreated individuals may suffer from anaemia, a decrease in platelet counts, massive enlargement of the liver and spleen, and damage to the bones. Two different types of treatment are available: the intravenous supplementation of the deficient protein glucocerebrosidase (enzyme replacement therapy), or the oral administration of a drug that slows down the production of the fatty material that it normally breaks down (substrate reduction therapy).

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2015

Vitamin E supplementation for prevention of morbidity and mortality in preterm infants

Giving extra vitamin E to preterm babies can provide some benefits, but it increases the risk of life‐threatening infections. Preterm babies (born before 37 weeks) can develop a range of problems because their organs are not mature. Vitamin E may be able to help prevent or limit some of these problems, but it can potentially also have harmful effects. Breast milk of a woman who has given birth prematurely has higher than usual levels of vitamin E. Preterm babies can be given extra vitamin E as vitamin drops, in vitamin E‐enriched formula, in intravenous fluids, or by injection into their muscles. This review of studies of vitamin E supplements found that while extra vitamin E reduces the chances of some complications (including disease of the retina), the risk of life‐threatening infection is increased. The risk of bleeding in the brain is increased when extra vitamin E is given by vein but decreased when the extra vitamin E is given by other routes.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2008

Desferrioxamine mesylate (desferrioxamine) for managing excess iron levels in the blood of people with thalassaemia who depend on blood transfusions

Haemoglobin carries oxygen in the blood. In thalassaemia, a genetic disease, sometimes the body cannot produce enough haemoglobin. This can be managed by receiving regular blood transfusions, but may lead to excess iron in the body which must be removed to prevent organ damage.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Interventions for treating intrahepatic cholestasis in people with sickle cell disease

We aimed to review the evidence for treating intrahepatic cholestasis (liver diseases where bile is either not formed or excreted properly (or both)) in people with sickle cell disease.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2015

Deferasirox for managing transfusional iron overload in people with sickle cell disease

We reviewed the evidence about the effect of deferasirox on secondary iron load in people with sickle cell disease.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

The use of the iron chelator deferiprone in people with thalassaemia who are dependent on blood transfusions

In thalassaemia sometimes the body cannot produce enough haemoglobin. Regular blood transfusions can manage this, but may lead to excess iron in the body, which, if not removed, may damage major organs. Iron chelation therapy removes excess iron; one common chelator is deferiprone. Questions exist about whether deferiprone is as good and safe as the most widely‐used iron chelator, desferrioxamine. Desferrioxamine is administered by a needle under the skin or into a vein, and was the standard monotherapy for 20 years.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Reminder packaging to help people take long‐term medications

People often miss taking prescribed medication, because of forgetfulness, changing medication schedules or busy lifestyles. It is estimated that between 40% and 60% of people do not take medication as prescribed, which can lead to worse health outcomes. Packaging of medications with reminder systems for the day and/or time of the week is an attempt to help people take long‐term medications. We assessed twelve studies involving 2196 participants who were taking self‐administered medications for at least one month. The studies involved different types of packaging, and different medications for various health problems. We found that reminder packaging increased the proportion of people taking their medications when measured by pill count; however, this effect was not large. We also found some evidence that reminder packaging may be beneficial in improving clinical outcomes such as blood pressure. Reminder packing for certain individuals may represent a simple method for improving the adherence to medications; further research is needed to improve the design and targeting of these devices.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

Chronic Myeloproliferative Neoplasms Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: August 5, 2016

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