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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

How not to cure a cold

By Harvard Health Letters





JewishWorldReview.com | Q. I always catch colds during the winter and they last more than a week. I heard that zinc and echinacea help to shorten colds. Should I try them?

A. As cold and flu season ramps up, we're reminded how common the "common cold" truly is. The average adult experiences two to four colds per year, with symptoms that can linger seven to 10 days. Most colds get better without treatment, but many people searching for a shorter illness have turned to two "natural" therapies: echinacea and zinc.

Echinacea: Laboratory studies have shown that substances in the echinacea flower and roots activate immune cells and block inflammation. This has spurred excitement about echinacea's potential to shorten the duration of the common cold.

Early studies suggested that echinacea reduced cold symptoms, but more recent research has not documented any benefit, including a study of 719 cold sufferers published in 2010. People in both the echinacea and the placebo group reported symptoms lasting for about the same period: seven days.


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Zinc: The element zinc has antiviral effects, including against rhinoviruses, which are the most common cause of colds. Studies of zinc supplements for colds have been equally split, with half of the studies showing a benefit, and the other half showing no effect. Also, the zinc studies have a serious flaw: Zinc's bad taste could alert people to the fact that they were taking the zinc lozenges rather than the inactive placebo version. This could have biased the results in favor of zinc working.

A recent analysis combined the results of 17 studies that included over 2,000 people. It concluded that zinc shortened the duration of colds in adults by an average of 2.6 days. On the downside, zinc lozenges, besides leaving a bad taste in your mouth, can cause nausea.

It is difficult to interpret the medical research on vitamins and herbal supplements. The ingredients in supplements sold over the counter are not standardized, and there's no requirement for quality control, so it's hard to know for sure if you're taking the same thing as people in the studies. There are now consumer agencies that will provide a "seal of approval" to indicate that the product has passed certain quality measures.

Also, the people enrolled in these studies often have a variety of illnesses with differing levels of severity, making general conclusions difficult. Finally, there's a strong placebo effect in any study with self-reported symptoms as the outcome. In the echinacea study mentioned above, researchers compared a group that received no pills with a group that received placebo pills. The people who took the inactive placebo tended to have shorter and less severe symptoms than the people who took no pill at all.

So, the evidence that echinacea fights colds is weak. Although zinc may shorten cold duration, it may leave you with a bad taste in your mouth and a sick feeling in your stomach. The best treatment for colds may actually be prevention. Hand washing decreases the number of colds transmitted, and flu shots prevent about 80 percent of influenza cases in a typical year. -- William Kormos, M.D., Editor in Chief, Harvard Men's Health Watch

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