The research article authored by Meydani et al. (2004) described the outcome of administering vitamin E to geriatric patients that have been positively diagnosed with respiratory tract infections. The investigation was based on the premise that geriatric patients are often observed to experience respiratory tract infections and this medical condition affects their daily routines. In addition, the advanced age of the elderly is also strongly associated with longer recovery periods, as well as a higher frequency of requesting healthcare and hospital services.
There may also be cases wherein an elderly individual suffering from respiratory tract infection will also experience additional medical complications that are linked to the infection and the resulting physical effects are magnified by their advanced. It has been previously estimated that almost half of the elderly population in the United States is admitted to a senior nursing home, of which a great majority will reside in these healthcare homes for the rest of their lives (Muder 320). In addition, the most common cause of mortalities in nursing homes is respiratory tract infection (Marston 1716).
It has been suggested that the deterioration of the immune system of the elderly individuals has also contributed to the high prevalence rate of respiratory tract infections in nursing homes (Wayne 46). It is thus important to review the nutritional condition of elderly individuals who are housed in nursing homes, in order to objectively determine whether vitamin supplementation should be conducted to maintain their healthy physical and physiological conditions. Previous investigations have shown that the addition of vitamin E supplements to the daily diet of elderly individuals has augmented their immune systems (Meydani 1381).
In addition, the study subjects showed a 30% decrease in the rate of respiratory tract infections after administering vitamin E supplements for a short trial period of 6 months. In order to further strengthen the previous observation of improvement of the immune system through vitamin E supplementation, the same group conducted another study that involved a longer duration for monitoring elderly participants with the same vitamin E administration and screening for incidence of respiratory tract infections. Approximately 33 nursing homes were included in the study which lasted for one year and 5 months.
The study consisted of 617 elderly individuals aged 65 years and above. Around 73% of the study participants were able to complete the double-blind study in which placebo and control groups were determined through a double-blind method of testing. Case participants were administered 200 IU of vitamin E each day, while the control participants were given a placebo tablet each day. Aside from these variables, all the participants were provided with another capsule that contained only half of the recommended dose of multivitamins each day (NRC 25).
The results of the testing were measured in terms of the number of cases of respiratory tract infections that occurred during the study period. In addition, the duration of the respiratory tract infection was also taken note of, as well as any antibiotics that were prescribed during a study participant’s illness. Additional information regarding the study participants were also collected, including current medications and immunizations that were administered in their medical history.
Prior to the experimental period, baseline conditions of the participants were also collected through fasting blood collection, to check for clinical readouts, cell counts and analysis of specific nutrients, including vitamin E in the plasma. The heart rates and body temperature of the study participants were also checked before starting them on the assigned supplemental regimen. An examination of the participants’ respiratory system was also checked before the start of the experimentation.
Lastly, the weight of each participant was also recorded as part of the baseline data. Data analysis of the collection information was evaluated for rate ratios (RR) as well as regression. The rate ratios were normalized for any other pulmonary disorders and conditions including lung disease and prevalence of smoking among the participants. Other physiologic conditions were also considered during the analysis, such as diabetes, mental disorders and anemia. Significance values were also calculated at P values set at < 0. 05 for determination of significance.
The results of this study showed that the administration of vitamin E at 200 IU daily did not influence the incidence of respiratory tract infection among elderly individuals. In addition, the duration of the respiratory tract infection was not different between the case and the control groups. On the other hand, there were a number of elderly participants that suffered from respiratory tract infection even when they were taking vitamin E supplements during the study period. Interestingly, a lower number of elderly individuals were observed to acquire the common cold during the testing period. This observation was observed 83% of the time.
The study also described that vitamin E supplementation among elderly individuals taking antibiotics did not alter their physiologic conditions as they were going through respiratory infection. The relative rates of respiratory tract infection in both case and control groups did not differ significantly, with value of 60% for the case group and 68% for the control group. However, the study was able to determine that the administration of vitamin E to elderly individuals provides additional protection to these subjects, as shown in the lower incidence rate for the common cold. Works cited Marston BJ, Plouffe JF and File TM Jr.
“Incidence Of Community-acquired Pneumonia Requiring Hospitalization: Results Of A Population-based Active Surveillance Study In Ohio: The Community-Based Pneumonia Incidence Study Group. Archives of Internal Medicine, 157(1997):1709-1718. Meydani SN, Leka LS, Fine BC, Dallal GE, Keusch GT, Singh MF and Hamer DH. “Vitamin E and Respiratory Tract Infections in Elderly Nursing Home Residents: A Randomized Controlled Trial. ” Journal of the American Medical Association, 292(2004):929-836. Meydani SN, Meydani M and Blumberg JB. “Vitamin E Supplementation And In Vivo Immune Response In Healthy Elderly Subjects: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
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