HEALTH

BSC, CRN join forces for Better Sleep Month

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The Better Sleep Council and the Council for Responsible Nutrition last week joined forces for Better Sleep Month in May to help consumers enjoy a stress-less, good night’s sleep. In order to get the best rest possible and help relieve stress, the BSC and CRN suggested it’s essential for Americans to make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

“When you’re stressed, and similarly when you are tired, every aspect of your waking life is affected, from work to personal relationships and even concentration,” stated BSC spokesperson and lifestyle expert Lissa Coffey. “Controlling stress and getting a good night’s rest start by evaluating your lifestyle and creating a healthy daily regimen that you can stick to. This includes adequate sleep, balanced diet, daily vitamins and healthy exercise.”

New research from Oklahoma State University confirms that cyclically poor sleep can elevate stress. The OSU study, “Back Pain, Sleep Quality and Perceived Stress Following Introduction of New Bedding Systems,” published in the March 2009 Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, also suggests that improved sleep quality not only reduces stress, but also helps us manage everyday stress.

“Studies show that healthy individuals tend to engage in many healthy habits — eating a healthy diet, taking supplements, exercising regularly and getting adequate amounts of sleep — as an integrative approach to wellness,” stated Douglas MacKay, VP scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN. MacKay, a licensed naturopathic doctor, suggested certain supplements, including melatonin, magnesium and calcium, may help individuals relax or promote healthy sleep patterns.

“Herbals and other dietary supplements can be safe and effective ways to help individuals achieve quality sleep,” MacKay said. “You should consult a doctor or healthcare professional to determine which supplements are the best regimen for your lifestyle.”

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CDC: Swine flu outbreak caused unique increase in flu incidence for season

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA The circulation of the novel H1N1 virus, also known as the swine flu, is responsible for a unique uptick in flu incidence for the 2008/2009 season.

According to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of confirmed H1N1 cases in the United States now totals 3,009 cases with three deaths in 45 states.

But for the seasonal picture, influenza activity increased across the United States for the week ended May 2, in part because of the H1N1 virus. For the week, seven states reported widespread activity; 12 states reported regional activity; the District of Columbia and 14 states reported local influenza activity; and Puerto Rico and 17 states reported sporadic influenza activity.

On a regional level, the percentage of visits for influenza-like illnesses ranged from 0.5% to 4.1%. Four-of-the-10 surveillance regions reported an ILI percentage above their region specific baselines.

During week 17, seasonal influenza A (H1) A (H3), and B viruses co-circulated with novel influenza A (H1N1), the CDC reported.

Click here to see a larger version of the CDC flu map.

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Matrixx Intiatives reports net sales jump

BY Michael Johnsen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Matrixx Initiatives on Monday reported a net sales increase of 11% to $111.6 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, despite a dismal cough/cold season.

“In fiscal 2009, Matrixx produced strong results despite an unusually weak cold season and declining economic environment,” stated Bill Hemelt, acting president and COO, Matrixx. “Significant growth within our core group of products has offset declines in sales of cough and multi-symptom products. During fiscal 2009, the performance of our core products was highlighted by a 16% increase in cold remedy sales, primarily driven by a 49% increase in our patented cold remedy swabs. Additionally, the introduction of our Allergy Swab product contributed to a 29% improvement in total allergy/sinus sales.”

“The 2008/2009 cold season had the lowest incidence of illness since Zicam was introduced in 1999,” he said. “Despite the weak season, sales of Zicam products at retail outperformed the cough/cold category. For the 52 weeks ended March 22, retail unit sales (three-outlet syndicated scanner data, not including Wal-Mart or club stores) of Zicam products decreased approximately 1%, while the total cough/cold category declined approximately 3%, compared with the prior year. This resulted in Zicam products maintaining a 2% unit share of the category. Although the weak cold season slowed our rate of growth during the current year, we believe our advertising campaign increased awareness of Zicam products, particularly our swab delivery items.”

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