In the interest of full disclosure on this topic: I’m a dog person. I have a huge Golden Retriever and his boss, a French Bulldog, so I may be a bit biased. Even if I am biased, I hope the researchers at the University of Michigan (Hail!) weren’t. They just published a study showing that exposure to dust from dog owners’ homes led to less asthma in laboratory mice. Interestingly, the primary change they found in the mice was not in their airways but in their guts. The dog-exposed mice had higher levels of Lactobacillus johnsonii in their GI tracts, suggesting a link between gut flora and the development of allergic disease. It’s just mice, but it’s still interesting. Read more here.
This month’s Annals of Internal Medicine, probably the most respected Internal Medicine journal, has three scholarly papers dealing with vitamin supplementation and health. One looks at cognitive decline, one at cardiovascular mortality after a heart attack, and the other at primary prevention of cancer and heart disease. The accompanying editorial doesn’t mince words in its title, “Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements“. Suffice to say that none of the trials showed any benefit and they join a long line of similar trial outcomes that failed to show benefit, or even showed possible harm, from vitamin supplementation. Supplements are a 30 billion dollar a year business in the U.S., and it’s time they were held to the same standards as medications. The New York Times has a good summary here.