Research from the Medical Journals - 2013

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Meta-Analysis: cranberries offer protection against UTIs
Cranberry intake appears to lower the risk of urinary tract infections, according to a recent meta-analysis.

In 13 randomized controlled trials comprising some 1600 participants, those consuming cranberry products showed a roughly 30% lower rate of urinary tract infection than controls. The effect was most notable in women with recurrent infections, female populations in general and children. The authors urge "great caution" in interpreting their analysis, given the heterogeneity found among study designs.
Long used as a folk preventive for urinary tract infections, cranberries were thought to exert their protective effect through urinary tract acidification. That notion, the authors write, was disproved a half century ago. Current explanations include cranberries' effect on limiting the ability of bacteria to attach to uroepithelial cells.
Arch Intern Med 2012;172(13):988-996

Sleep disordered breathing in children with Chiari malformation type II and myelomeningocele
The prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in children with Chiari malformation type II (CM-II), a known association of neural tube defects (NTD) including spina bifida has not been well documented. This study aimed to assess the prevalence and possible predictive factors of SDB in patients with CM-II.
The research confirmed that CM-II and NTD were linked to potential brainstem compression and respiratory dysfunction during sleep. Indeed, SDB is highly prevalent, and clearly underreported and undertreated in patients with CM-II associated with NTD.
Pediatr Int 2012 Oct;54(5):623-6

Problematic psychosocial adaption and executive dysfunction in women and men with myelomeningocoele
Myelomeningocoele (spina bifida) affects physical, cognitive and adaptive functioning. This study aimed to characterise women and men with problematic psychosocial adaption with respect to cognitive functions and psychological symptoms. It was expected that cognitive functions and executive functions in particular would show the most impairment.

The neuropsychological findings showed that this was indeed the case. However while there were no obvious differences between men and women on the tests, women had more pronounced symptoms of psychopathology and men were less capable of structuring daily living.
Disabil Rehabil 2012;34(9):740-6

Levels of mobility in children and adolescents with spina bifida: clinical parameters predicting mobility and maintenance of these skills
This study discovered that it is not only the level of lesion but also stable and ambitious aftercare in specialised settings which have a positive effect on mobility. Furthermore most patients were able to maintain their mobility skills over a long period of time.
Eur J Pediatr Surg 2012 Oct 23 [Epub ahead of print]

A review of the potential for cardiometabolic dysfunction in youth with spina bifida and the role for physical activity and structured exercise
Children and adolescents who have decreased mobility due to spina bifida may be at increased risk for the components of metabolic syndrome, including abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia due to low physical activity. Like their nondisabled peers, adolescents with spina bifida who develop metabolic risk factors early in life have set the stage for adult disease.

Exercise interventions can improve metabolic dysfunction in nondisabled youth, but the types of exercise programs that are most effective and the mechanisms involved are not known. This is especially true in adolescents with spina bifida, who have impaired mobility and physical function and with whom there have been few well-controlled studies. This paper highlights the current lack of knowledge about the role of physical activity and the need to develop exercise strategies targeting the reduction of cardiometabolic risk and improving quality of life in youth with spina bifida.
Int J Pediatr. 2012;541:363