HEALTH

CDC: Influenza-like illness rates reaching 4.2% nationwide

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — The incidence of influenza continued on an upward trajectory heading into the Christmas holiday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday. Nationwide for the week ending Dec. 22, 4.2% of patient visits reported through the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network were due to influenza-like illness, above the national baseline of 2.2%. 

New York City and 16 states experienced high ILI activity, primarily across the south, while eight states experienced moderate ILI activity. States along the West Coast reported minimal ILI activity. 

Data collected in ILINet are used to produce a measure of ILI activity by state. Activity levels are based on the percent of outpatient visits in a state due to ILI and are compared to the average percent of ILI visits that occur during spring and fall weeks with little or no influenza virus circulation. Activity levels range from minimal, which would correspond to ILI activity from outpatient clinics being below the average, to high, which would correspond to ILI activity from outpatient clinics being much higher than average.

ILI is defined as fever (temperature of 100°F or greater) and cough and/or sore throat. Region specific data is available here. 

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Biocodex: Yeast-based probiotics can be used in conjunction with antibiotics

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN BRUNO, Calif. — Biocodex last week sought to set the record straight regarding the use of probiotics with antibiotics. 

"There is a common myth that probiotics can’t be used with antibiotics," stated Kerry Neville, a registered dietitian in Seattle. "In fact, there are different probiotic options available that can be beneficial before, during, and after antibiotic use, like Florastor."

While it is commonly agreed that probiotic supplements can be a beneficial addition to the daily diet, contradictory messages may leave consumers confused about how to incorporate a probiotic into their routine, Biocodex noted. "This is particularly true for those looking to support an immune system that has been weakened by illness or antibiotic use," the company stated. "Use of a yeast-based probiotic can benefit the body during and after antibiotic use."

Because antibiotics attack all bacteria, they often upset the balance of the body by depleting the body’s naturally existing good bacteria in addition to any invasive bacteria. This can leave the body more vulnerable to infection. "While there may be concerns surrounding using a bacteria-based probiotic and simultaneous use of antibiotics, because yeast-based probiotics are not compromised, they can continue to support digestive health even when it is weakened from antibiotics," Neville said. "Incorporation of a yeast-based probiotic consistently supports your body before, during and after illness and antibiotic use.

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Sierra Research Labs licenses distribution of SeroVital-hgh through GNC to Novex Biotech

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Demand for SeroVital-hgh — a proprietary amino acid compound developed by Sierra Research Labs — has spiked in the past month, in part due to recent exposure on news channels like CNN and on news programs like "The Today Show," the company announced last week. To help meet demand, the company on Dec. 21 announced distribution expansion through GNC. 

According to the company, the dietary supplement encourages the pituitary gland to increase growth hormone production at a more youthful rate, naturally, without drugs or synthetic hormone injections. The product is distributed through prestige retailers Ulta and Sephora. The supplement is available through GNC under the brand name Growth Factor-9. 

"With all the recent media coverage, sales have gone through the roof and our suppliers have been having trouble keeping up," stated Kerry Pack, a communications specialist with Sierra. "So we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve recently issued a … license to sports supplement company Novex Biotech, which will sell the compound as Growth Factor-9 exclusively at GNC," she said. "This will give consumers an extra avenue to get their hands on our proprietary formula." 

Responding to skeptics suggesting the claims behind the Sierra formula sound too good to be true, Pack said, "You can’t sit on the couch eating French fries all day and expect this formula to work like a ‘magic pill.’ It’s designed to be one part of a healthy lifestyle. Plus, it needs to be taken on an empty stomach so the amino acids in food can’t interfere with the way the proprietary formula works."

 

 

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