The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Vitamin C and encephalopathy

    Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is brain damage that results from a shortage of oxygen or blood flow.

    Researchers from Washington DC and Cairo, Egypt combined intravenous injections of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) with ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin; a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) to this condition.

    First, the details.

    • 60 asphyxiated infants were assigned to a treatment group.
      • Ascorbic acid injected into a vein + ibuprofen taken by mouth for 3 days
      • Placebo
    • Neither the researchers nor the patients knew the treatment given — double blind.

    And, the results.

    • There were no differences between groups in the severity of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy at enrollment.
    • There were no differences between groups in the following outcomes.
      • Concentrations of IL-1beta and IL-6 (proteins that affect immunity and inflammation)
      • Mortality
      • Nerve abnormalities at hospital discharge
      • Developmental delay at 6 months of age
    • IL-1beta and IL-6 blood levels correlated with the severity of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy at birth.
    • But only serum IL-6 correlated with neurodevelopmental outcome at 6 months.

    The bottom line?
    The anti-oxidant action of vitamin C had no effect on the outcome of this condition.

    The authors acknowledge that these results do not address issues related to dosing and route of administration of vitamin C or ibuprofen.

    3/19/09 18:13 JR

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