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News briefs from the journal Chest, December 2005

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS CAN IMPROVE LUNG FUNCTION
A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish, canola oil, and walnuts, can have anti-inflammatory effects and improve the exercise capacity for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). For two years, Japanese researchers followed 32 patients with COPD on an omega-3 fatty acid-rich diet (treatment group) and 32 patients with COPD on a non-omega-3 fatty acid-rich diet (nontreatment group). Every three months, dyspnea scores, levels of inflammatory mediators, and exercise capacity were recorded. Overall, results showed that dyspnea scores and exercise capacity significantly improved and inflammatory mediators significantly decreased for patients in the treatment group, while there was no significant change in the nontreatment group. Researchers suggest that nutritional support with an omega-3 fatty acid-rich diet is a safe and practical method for treating COPD. The study appears in the December issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

SHORTER ICU SHIFTS DO NOT COMPROMISE PATIENT CARE CONTINUITY
Shorter work shifts for hospital fellows and resident physicians do not compromise continuity of patient care, shows a new study. Researchers at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine compared outcomes between traditional long hours of continuous care, with a 14-hour work-shift model in a medical intensive care unit (MICU) over a five-week pilot period. During the nonpilot periods, which included two months prior to and two months after the pilot, residents and fellows worked six days a week and were on in-house call (28 to 30 continuous hours) once every fourth night, averaging 73.3 duty hours weekly. During the pilot program, residents and fellows worked in 14-hour shifts, averaging 61.3 duty hours and 65.3 duty weekly hours, respectively. When patient care outcomes were compared, results showed no significant differences
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Contact: Jennifer Stawarz
847-498-8306
American College of Chest Physicians
12-Dec-2005


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