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Friday, July 27, 2018

Exercise To Renew A Middle-Aged Heart : Shots - Health News : NPR

Exercise To Renew A Middle-Aged Heart : Shots - Health News : NPR

Hearts Get 'Younger,' Even At Middle Age, With Exercise

As early as your mid-40s, especially if you're sedentary, your heart muscle can show signs of aging, losing its youthful elasticity and power. But moderately strenuous exercise can change that.
Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Eventually it happens to everyone. As we age, even if we're healthy, the heart becomes less flexible, more stiff and just isn't as efficient in processing oxygen as it used to be. In most people the first signs show up in the 50s or early 60s. And among people who don't exercise, the underlying changes can start even sooner.

"The heart gets smaller — stiffer," says Dr. Ben Levine, a sports cardiologist at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, in Dallas.

Think of the heart muscle as a rubber band, Levine says. In the beginning, the rubber band is flexible and pliable. But put it in a drawer for 20 years and it will emerge dry and brittle.

"That's what happens to the heart and blood vessels," he says. And down the road, that sort of stiffness can get worse, he notes, leading to the breathlessness and other symptoms of heart failure, an inability of the heart to effectively pump blood to the lungs or throughout the body.

Fortunately for those in midlife, Levine is finding that even if you haven't been an avid exerciser, getting in shape now may head off that decline and help restore your aging heart. He and his colleagues published their recent findings in the American Heart Association's journal, Circulation.

The research team recruited individuals between the ages of 45 and 64 who were mostly sedentary but otherwise healthy.

Dallas resident Mae Onsry, an accounts payable manager, was 62 at the time. Raising two children and working full time, she says, she never had the flexibility to fit in exercise, although she knew it was important for her health.

"I have my hobbies," says Onsry, including ballroom dancing and gardening. But it was nothing routine, nothing "disciplined," she says.

So when she saw a flyer about Levine's study, she signed up — along with 52 other volunteers — for a two-year study.

Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The first group engaged in a program of nonaerobic exercise — basic yoga, balance training and weight training — three times a week. The other group, which Onsry was in, was assigned a trainer and did moderate- to high-intensity aerobic exercise for four or more days a week.

After two years, the group doing the higher-intensity exercise saw dramatic improvements in heart health.

"We took these 50-year-old hearts and turned the clock back to 30- or 35-year-old hearts," says Levine. Their hearts processed oxygen more efficiently and were notably less stiff.

"And the reason they got so much stronger and fitter," he says, "was because their hearts could now fill a lot better and pump a lot more blood during exercise."

The hearts of those engaged in less intense routines didn't change, he says.

A key part of the effective exercise regimen was interval training, Levine says — short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a few minutes of rest. The study incorporated what are often referred to as 4x4 intervals.

"It's an old Norwegian ski team workout," Levine explains. "It means four minutes at 95 percent of your maximal ability, followed by three minutes of active recovery, repeated four times."

Pushing as hard as you can for four minutes stresses the heart, he explains, and forces it to function more efficiently. Repeating the intervals helps strengthen both the heart and the circulatory system.

"The sweet spot in life to get off the couch and start exercising [if you haven't already] is in late middle age when the heart still has plasticity," Levine says. You may not be able to reverse the aging of the vessels if you wait.

"We put healthy 70-year-olds through a yearlong exercise training program, and nothing happened to them at all," Levine says. "We could not change the structure of their heart and blood vessels."

Anyone considering beginning this, or a similarly strenuous exercise program, Levine says, should check with a doctor first and ask about individual health issues that might warrant a less intense program initially.

For Onsry, who is now 65, the study was life changing. Today she exercises every day of the week, walking and jogging at least 5 miles around the lake near her home.

If she misses a day, she says, she just doesn't feel as good physically. And the regimen has helped her mental health, too.

"I'm not moody," she says. "I mean — I'm happy."

Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist and medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health at NYU Langone Medical Center, and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association, says Levine's research is important.

"Many studies that are done that look at [cardiovascular] health look at improvements in risk factors like high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes," Goldberg says. "But this study specifically looked at heart function — and how heart function can improve with exercise."

Goldberg says the findings are a great start. But the study was small and needs to be repeated with far larger groups of people to determine exactly which aspects of an exercise routine make the biggest difference.

Drinking Enough Water Changes Your Body In These 5 Ways

Drinking Enough Water Changes Your Body In These 5 Ways

Drinking Enough Water Changes Your Body In These 5 Ways

Despite the "8 glasses a day" rule, ideal water intake actually varies from person to person. Olichel/Pixabay

Drinking enough water is important for the proper functioning of your body. Dehydration, caused by insufficient fluid intake, often results in noticeable changes to let you know that you should be reaching for a glass.

While the "8 glasses a day" rule is popular, the ideal intake level actually varies based on the individual. Here are five changes you can expect to see once you start the daily habit of drinking enough water:

1. The color of your urine changes

Urine color is a good indicator of whether you are drinking enough water on a daily basis. A very pale shade of yellow is good news, suggesting that your intake of water is at a healthy level.

Regular yellow or a dark shade of yellow are signs that your body is feeling dehydrated. If your urine is transparent and has no color at all, you may be drinking too much water and should try to reduce your intake.

2. Your body stops craving empty calories

Sometimes, our body misinterprets thirst as a sign of hunger, said Dr. John Higgins, a professor at the University of Texas. "When you're dehydrated, it can be difficult for organs like the liver, which uses water, to release [stored glucose] and other components of your energy stores, so you can actually get cravings for food."

Typically, craving for sweets is a sign that the body is having a hard time trying to break down glycogen. Drinking enough water and consuming fruits through the day can help ease the process and regulate your appetite.

3. Your energy levels will increase

Experts have stated even mild dehydration can make you tired and reduce your energy levels. Due to an inadequate water supply, your body compensates by decreasing blood circulation. This, in turn, can slow down the process of getting oxygen to your muscles.

And this is why it is all the more important to stay hydrated through an intense workout or on a particularly hot day when you are likely to lose water via sweat. If you are prone to involuntary muscle contractions or cramps, try to increase your water intake. 

4. Your brain power will get a boost

Also, the benefit may not be exclusive to physical energy. Studies have suggested mild dehydration could also impair mental performance, potentially affecting your daily productivity.

"[Even] a minor degree of dehydration can disrupt brain functioning," said Professor David Benton from Swansea University, England. 

His research highlighted how the habit of drinking enough water should be taught to children who spend most of their days in the classroom.

5. Your bowel movements will be regulated

If you have been experiencing constipation, chances are your H2O intake is too low. Apart from ensuring that you consume enough sources of dietary fiber, the most effective way to improve your bowel movement is to drink enough water. 

"People who drink enough water usually have regular bowel movements. Hard bowel movements or constipation can be a sign that you aren't getting enough water," said Dr. Ronald Navarro, orthopedic and sport medicine surgeon at Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Treating Depression May StopRepeat Heart Attack

Treating Depression May StopRepeat Heart Attack

Treating Depression May StopRepeat Heart Attack

By Amy Norton

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 24, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- It's common for heart attack survivors to develop depression. Now a new trial has found that antidepressant treatment may help those patients avoid a second heart attack.

The study, of 300 heart patients with depression, found that treatment with the antidepressant escitalopram (Lexapro) almost halved the risk of suffering another heart attack in the next eight years.

Patients on the medication also had a lower death rate and less need for angioplasty -- a procedure that opens blocked heart arteries.

Experts said they were encouraged by the findings.

"This is a very important clinical trial," said James Blumenthal, a professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, N.C.

Blumenthal, who was not involved in the trial, studies the role of psychological factors in heart disease.

He said it's known that heart attack patients with depression typically fare worse than those without the condition. That includes a higher risk of a repeat heart attack.

But proof has been lacking that depression treatment can translate into a better outlook.

The new findings, Blumenthal said, show that it can.

"Treating depression results not only in improved quality of life, but also improved clinical outcomes," he said. "This is good news for heart patients with depression."

For the trial, Korean researchers led by Dr. Jae-Min Kim, from Chonnam National University Medical School in Gwangju, screened over 1,100 heart patients for depression. All of the patients had experienced an "acute coronary syndrome" within the past two weeks. The term refers to heart attacks, as well as unstable angina -- severe chest pain caused by obstructed blood flow to the heart.

Over 400 of those patients met the definition of either mild or major depression. Ultimately, 300 entered the trial and were randomly assigned to take either escitalopram or placebo pills for six months.

Over the next eight years, nearly half of all patients either died, had a repeat heart attack or needed angioplasty. However, the rate was lower among patients taking antidepressants: just under 41 percent, versus almost 54 percent among placebo patients.

The benefit was most clear when it came to the risk of suffering another heart attack: less than 9 percent of antidepressant patients did, compared with over 15 percent of placebo patients, the findings showed.

The death rate was also lower for those taking antidepressants -- about 21 percent, versus 24.5 percent for those taking a placebo. That difference was not significant in statistical terms, however.

The trial was funded by Korean government grants. The report was published in the July 24/31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

If antidepressant treatment does thwart future heart trouble, it's not clear why from this study, Blumenthal said.

One possibility, he suggested, is that when patients see their depression lift, they become more physically active or better able to stick with lifestyle changes.

But, improvement in depression might also have direct effects -- including less inflammation in the arteries and a healthier heart rate, Blumenthal suggested.

Donald Edmondson is director of the Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health at Columbia University, in New York City.

He called the findings "exciting and important."

Why did this trial show benefits when past studies turned up empty? A likely reason, Edmondson said, is the long-term follow-up. It may take years for the benefits of depression treatment to show up.

The bottom line for patients and families is that they should never dismiss lingering psychological symptoms, he explained.

After a heart attack, Edmondson said, people sometimes want to "move on and forget it happened."

But close to 40 percent of the initial group in this study screened positive for depression. "It's common," he said.

Edmondson suggested that family members be aware of that, and remember to check in: "Ask questions. Ask them how they're feeling."

There are non-drug treatments for depression, including "talk therapy." This trial did not test them -- but Edmondson said he suspects any therapy that sends depression into remission might improve patients' heart outlook.

In this study, he pointed out, patients whose depression went into remission within six months fared better -- even if they were in the placebo group.

Those on medication were, however, more likely to see a remission: Over half did, versus 35 percent of placebo patients.

Blumenthal said that some research has found that regular exercise can help ease depression -- and may be as effective as antidepressants.

He is currently leading a trial that's testing exercise against escitalopram for treating anxiety in heart disease patients.

WebMD News from HealthDay


Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

No Scientific Proof That Multivitamins Promote Heart Health

No Scientific Proof That Multivitamins Promote Heart Health

Taking multivitamin/mineral (MVM) supplements does not prevent myocardial infarction, stroke, or death from a cardiovascular cause, according to a comprehensive meta-analytic review of relevant research.

"The take-home message is simple: there is no scientific evidence that MVM supplements promote cardiovascular health. We hope that our paper helps to settle the controversy on MVM use for CVD prevention," lead author Joonseok Kim, MD, University of Alabama at Birmingham, told theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology.

The study was published online today in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

"Vitamin and mineral supplements are taken by nearly half of US adults, yet few benefits have been documented," said JoAnn Manson, MD, who was not involved in the study and is chief of preventive medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, both in Boston, Massachusetts.

Multivitamin supplements will never be a substitute for a healthful and balanced diet. Dr JoAnn Manson

"Regarding multivitamins and cardiovascular disease, specifically, neither observational studies nor randomized clinical trials have demonstrated clear benefits for primary or secondary prevention," Manson told theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology.

"Importantly, clinicians should emphasize with their patients that multivitamin supplements will never be a substitute for a healthful and balanced diet, which have many beneficial components for vascular health. Additionally, micronutrients in food are typically better absorbed by the body than those from supplements," she advised.

Kim and colleagues did a systematic review and meta-analysis of 18 studies with more than 2 million adults (mean age, 57.8 years) with mean follow-up of 11.6 years. Eleven studies were from the United States, 4 from Europe, and 3 from Japan. Only 5 studies specified the dose and type of MVM supplement.

Overall, there was no association between MVM supplement use and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality, the investigators report.

Table. MVM Supplementation and Outcome Risks

Outcome Relative Risk (95% Confidence Interval)
CVD mortality 1.00 (0.97 - 1.04)
Coronary heart disease mortality 1.02 (0.92 - 1.13)
Stroke mortality 0.95 (0.82 - 1.09)
Stroke incidence 0.98 (0.91 - 1.05)

There was also no link between MVM supplements and CVD or coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality in prespecified subgroups categorized by mean follow-up; mean age; period of MVM use; sex; type of population; exclusion of patients with history of CHD; and adjustment for diet, adjustment for smoking, adjustment for physical activity, and study site.

MVM supplement use did appear to be associated with a lower risk for CHD incidence (relative risk [RR], 0.88; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79 - 0.97). However, this association did not remain significant in the pooled subgroup analysis of randomized controlled trials (RR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.80 - 1.19).

"It has been exceptionally difficult to convince people, including nutritional researchers, to acknowledge that multivitamin and mineral supplements don't prevent cardiovascular diseases," Kim said in a news release. "I hope our study findings help decrease the hype around multivitamin and mineral supplements and encourage people to use proven methods to reduce their risk of cardiovascular diseases — such as eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising and avoiding tobacco."

The American Heart Association does not recommend use of MVM supplements for CVD prevention.

"Plausible but Failed Practice"

In a linked editorial, Alyson Haslam, MD, and Vinay Prasad, MD, both from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, note that practices in biomedicine are often adopted because they "appeal to our hopes and there is biologic plausibility.

In the case of multivitamins, it is logical that some vitamins may reduce cardiovascular events because they are anti-inflammatory or more broadly improve health and well-being. Yet, in this case, it appears they do not, and as such, multivitamins for cardiovascular disease joins the list of plausible but failed practices in cardiology," they conclude.

Although multivitamins tend to be moderately dosed and are likely to be safer than mega-doses of individual dietary supplements, "they are not completely free of risk in all patients," Manson told theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology.

For example, dietary supplements may interact with some medications, such as vitamin K and warfarin; interfere with the measurement of some clinical laboratory tests, such as biotin and troponin levels; they also have side effects, such as gastrointestinal symptoms, for some patients, she explained. 

"Thus, routine multivitamin supplementation is not recommended for the general population, but a targeted approach is appropriate for certain life stages and high-risk groups," said Manson.

Some examples of relevant life stages include pregnancy, where supplementation with folic acid/prenatal vitamins is of benefit, and in midlife or older adults, some of whom may benefit from supplemental vitamin B12, vitamin D, and/or calcium. High-risk groups, such as those with malabsorption syndromes, restricted eating patterns, osteoporosis, pernicious anemia, and age-related macular degeneration, and those with long-term use of metformin or proton-pump inhibitors also may benefit from dietary supplements, she said.

Manson also noted that the Physicians' Health Study II, a large-scale randomized clinical trial of multivitamins in men, demonstrated that these supplements may modestly reduce the incidence of cancer. This finding is being explored further in the ongoing COSMOS trial, which is testing whether multivitamins, with or without cocoa flavonols, can reduce the risk for cancer and CVD in older men and women.

 "Results from the COSMOS trial are expected in 2 years, so stay tuned," said Manson.

The authors report no outside funding or relevant disclosures. Prasad has received royalties from his book Ending Medical Reversal and payments for contributions to Medscape.

Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. Published online July 10, 2018. Full text, Editorial

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CHAMP-HF: Heart Failure Treatment in US Remains Subpar

CHAMP-HF: Heart Failure Treatment in US Remains Subpar

CHAMP-HF: Heart Failure Treatment in US Remains Subpar

Major gaps remain in use and dosing of evidence-based, guideline-recommended medications for heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), according to a new analysis of data from the Change the Management of Patients with Heart Failure (CHAMP-HF) registry.

"Even in the absence of any new heart failure therapies being discovered, if the existing guideline-recommended medical therapies were optimally implemented and dosed, tens of thousands of additional deaths in patients with heart failure could be avoided each year," senior author Gregg Fonarow, MD, University of California, Los Angeles, told theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology.

"Despite a robust database and well-articulated clinical practice guidelines, the findings from the CHAMP-HF registry demonstrate the care deficit that still needs to be addressed," said Clyde Yancy, MD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, who wasn't involved in the study.

The study was published online July 16 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

There is substantial opportunity to improve care and outcomes for patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction. Dr Gregg Fonarow

The investigators, led by Stephen J. Greene, MD, Duke Clinical Research Institute, Durham, North Carolina, examined data from 3518 outpatients with HFrEF (mean EF, 29%) receiving at least one oral medication for management of HF from 150 primary care and cardiology practices across the United States. Their mean age was 66 years, and 29% were women.

Among patients eligible to receive medication, 27% were not prescribed an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor/angiotensin II receptor blocker/angiotensin receptor–neprilysin inhibitor, 33% didn't get a β-blocker, and 67% were not prescribed a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist, the researchers found.

Even when patients did receive recommended medications, they generally received the medications at a dose lower than the recommended target dose. Fewer than one in four eligible patients were receiving all three guideline-recommended drug types, and only 1% were receiving the target dose of all three medications, the researchers found.

Factors associated with lower medication use or dose were older age, lower blood pressure, more severe functional heart class, renal insufficiency, and recent HF hospitalization. Social and economic characteristics were not independently associated with medication use or dose.

"As these medications have been demonstrated to improve health status, quality of life, reduce the need for hospitalization, and mortality when provided at recommended doses, these findings suggest that there is substantial opportunity to improve care and outcomes for patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction," Fonarow told theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology.

"There is a compelling need for multifaceted quality improvement systems to be implemented in every setting in which patients with heart failure receive care. These systems have been shown to help improve the use and dosing of guideline-directed medical therapies and, in turn, improve outcomes," he said.

Fonarow also noted that traditional measures to assess quality of care have focused on whether eligible patients were treated with a class of medication (yes vs no). "These findings suggest that new quality measures that also focus on whether there was adequate dosing of the medication, in the absence of contraindications or intolerance of higher doses, may also be useful," he said.

Sobering but Not Surprising

The finding that only 1% of patients with HFrEF with clear eligibility for all classes of guideline-directed medical therapy (GDMT) were receiving indicated therapies at the appropriate doses is "sobering but not unexpected because the translation of evidence into practice, ie, implementation science, remains a still nascent and poorly informed process," Yancy told theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology.

"As well, the exigencies of clinical practice — access to medical care, appropriate insurance for drug benefits, absolute and relative contraindications, and importantly patient preferences — all serve as rate-limiting steps," Yancy explained. While tools to support the guidelines and the construct of optimal medical regimens for HFrEF have been developed and are readily available, "there is much more that needs to be explored and developed to effectuate ideal implementation" of guideline-directed care for HF, he said.

"We and others have demonstrated clearly that doing the right thing for the right patient at the right time and in the right manner yields lives saved and hospitalizations prevented. That should be sufficient for us to be ever diligent in our quest to improve the quality of care for heart failure," said Yancy.

John L. Jefferies, MD, MPH, The Heart Institute, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Ohio, and Nasrien E. Ibrahim, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, are also not particularly surprised by the findings of Fonarow and colleagues.

Despite published clinical practice guidelines, adoption of such therapies with established survival benefit "continue[s] to be dismally low and show[s] no significant improvement over the last 8 years," they note in a related editorial titled, "Are Guidelines Merely Suggestions?"

Jefferies and Ibrahim say efforts to improve uptake of GDMT among patients with HFrEF should be aimed at the clinician, the patient, and the system factors that contribute to "clinical or therapeutic inertia. If we can address the clinician, patient, and system factors that are modifiable…we can improve the implementation of GDMT and, in turn, reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with HF," they predict.

"[J]ust as stop signs are not merely suggestions for drivers at intersections, neither are published guidelines for clinicians managing patients with HF," they conclude.

CHAMP-HF was supported by Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Fonarow has consulted for Amgen, Bayer, Medtronic, and Novartis. Greene has received support from a National Institutes of Health grant, the Heart Failure Society of America/Emergency Medicine Foundation Acute Heart Failure Young Investigator award funded by Novartis, and Novartis. Jefferies has consulted for Bayer, Novartis, and Sanofi Genzyme and has received grants from Medtronic. Ibrahim is supported in part by the Dennis and Marilyn Barry Fellowship in Cardiology. Yancy has no relevant disclosures.

J Am Coll Cardiol. Published online July 16, 2018. Abstract, Editorial

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Omega-3 supplements don't help prevent disease - Business Insider

Omega-3 supplements don't help prevent disease - Business Insider

Omega-3 supplements are essentially useless for preventing diseases, according to a new study

fish oil omega 3 pillsBaoyan zeng / Shutterstock
  • A new Cochrane review has found omega-3 supplement pills probably don't do that much for our health.
  • Out of over 112,000 people, 8.8% died while taking fish oil pills, compared to 9% of those who didn't take any.
  • This is not a significant difference.
  • For some reason, we have been looking at omega-3 as a magical pill for health and intelligence for a long time.
  • But it's becoming increasingly clear this is not the case.

There's a growing body of evidence to suggest most vitamin supplements don't do all that much. In fact, a study earlier this year found how some of the most popular vitamin supplements, including vitamin C and calcium, don't really have major health benefits.

The next pill in the firing line is fish oil. Also known as omega-3, fish oil has been widely publicised as being protective against heart disease, but according to a new Cochrane review, led by the University of East Anglia, the supplements offer little benefit to those taking them.

Omega-3 fats like alpha­linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid, are certainly good for you, because they are essential for our health.

But the review, which combined the results from 79 different trials, involving over 112,000 people, found that omega-3 supplements like fish oils didn't seem to protect the heart.

Participants were randomly assigned to either increase their omega-3 fat intake, or maintain their usual amount of fat in their diet for a year, then they were assessed for diseases of the heart and circulation.

Results showed no significant difference in death rates, with 8.8% of people taking omega-3 dying compared to 9% of those in control groups. There was also no significant difference in the rates of heart attacks or strokes.

Lee Hooper, a researcher at UEA's Norwich Medical School, who led the study, said the results show there is little evidence that omega-3 pills benefit the heart, or reduce the risk of death from any cause.

She told The Times it's much better to include oily fish in your diet rather than take supplements, because it's not just the omega-3 you're ingesting.

"You're also getting a protein source that replaces something else in your diet like saturated fat, and seafood has selenium, iron and vitamin D. All of these are useful nutrients," she said.

She added that the review did find some evidence that one omega-3 fat alpha­linolenic acid (ALA), found in rapeseed or canola oil and walnuts, may be slightly protective against heart and circulation diseases.

"However, the effect is very small," she said. "143 people would need to increase their ALA intake to prevent one person developing arrhythmia. One thousand people would need to increase their ALA intake to prevent one person dying of coronary heart disease or experiencing a cardiovascular event."

Fish oil seems to have been blown up in our health estimations for a long time. Over a decade ago, 3,000 children in Durham were given fish oil to see if it improved GCSE performance. Academics, including journalist and doctor Ben Goldacre, pointed out this wasn't how a scientific study should be conducted — there was no control group, and it would likely produce false positive results.

The results were further skewed by the fact over 2,000 children dropped out of the trial. But this didn't stop journalists picking up on the line that "832 pupils had 80% or greater compliance."

Journalists also jumped on a story that suggested omega-3 improved school performance and behaviour in children, despite no paper saying anything of the sort.

This isn't to say omega-3 is useless for everything. It's a staple of our diet, just as many vitamins and minerals are. But what's becoming increasingly clear is that if you're looking for a magical supplement pill to work wonders on your health or mental agility, you probably won't find one.