The Level 4 lockdown due to COVID-19 during April and May 2020 in New Zealand (NZ) provided a unique opportunity to investigate if the use of natural supplements and remedies had changed in NZ due to the perceived threat of the pandemic. Participants were invited via social media posts to complete a short anonymous online survey during the 2-week window between the Level 4 and Level 3 lockdowns in May 2020. Of the 121 respondents who identified their gender, 98 were female, with just over one third of all respondents indicating their use of natural supplements had increased during lockdown in an effort to minimise the risk of falling ill with COVID-19. When supplements were taken, there was a wide perceived benefit that the supplements helped them in some way. Supplements were mainly purchased from supermarkets or pharmacies, with most people not telling their registered heath professional they were taking natural therapies or supplements. As the risk of community spread was relatively low compared to many other Western countries, this may have affected decisions people were making around taking perceived immune-boosting natural supplements.
The relationship between a patient’s selenium (Se) intake, status and health has been described as complex. Through selenoproteins, Se can have a positive impact on human health by contributing to the body’s antioxidant system. However, Se can build up in plasma, binding to non-specific Se-containing proteins which, over time, may actually induce oxidative stress. Therefore, having an understanding of the relationship between Se and health, although complex, will aid the practitioner in connecting the dots between this nutrient and each patient’s unique health context.
In a healthcare setting, plasma Se is a validated, short-term marker reflecting a person’s recent Se intake. However, plasma Se may be influenced by a range of factors, including test-related (e.g., diurnal variation), physiological (e.g., gender) and behavioural (e.g., exercise), which may confound test accuracy. A thorough review of the research on this topic provides us with a clear understanding regarding ideal collection conditions and, together with a review of correlational studies linking plasma Se levels to a range of health effects and factors, strengthens clinicians’ interpretation of such results. Furthermore, the review substantiates an ideal plasma Se for Australian populations to be ≈1.60–1.90µmol/L, which is higher than the current reference range of 0.75–1.35µmol/L.
Background A minimum data set (MDS) helps patients to improve their self-management practices and allows doctors to better analyse their patients’ health status. This study is designed to identify a MDS for a mobile-based self-care application (app) using herbal treatments for 19 common skin and hair diseases.
Methods In this descriptive and analytical study, a comprehensive study of a MDS for a self-care program for the herbal treatment of 19 common skin and hair diseases is outlined. The research tool was a questionnaire developed by the researchers. The developed questionnaire had three main axes – app functionality (eight questions), elements of the temperament survey (ten questions), and a clinical section (273 questions). The content validity of the questionnaire was assessed using a content validity ratio (CVR) and the reliability of the questionnaire was assessed using a 5-point Likert scale. The data were analysed using SPSS 0.19.
Results Out of 291 data elements that were placed on the initial survey, 19 components having a CVR below 62% were eliminated. In the results of the subsequent 5-point Likert scale, the average scores of respondents – except one that was 65% and was deleted – were above 75% and acceptable. The Cronbach’s alpha (α) was found to be excellent (α=94.8%). This resulted in a total of 271 items in the final questionnaire.
Conclusion Determining a MDS for self-care from the viewpoint of relevant specialists will be effective in caring for patients. As such, the present study provides information on the most common skin and hair diseases.
These abstracts are brief summaries of articles in recent issues of medical journals. Articles selected are of a general nature for the information of practitioners of naturopathy and herbal medicine. A dominant theme is often present throughout the journals, which will be reflected in the reviews.
The AJHNM-based CPD questionnaire system is a voluntary system designed to assist members in the accumulation of NHAA CPD hours. Each question refers to an article in this issue of the Australian Journal of Herbal and Naturopathic Medicine. Hours accumulated through completion of these questions should be recorded in the NHAA CPD diary. The completion of answering each issue’s questions qualifies for 4 hours within the Formal Learning category. Your completed CPD diary should be returned with your membership renewal at the end of the financial year. For further information, please see the NHAA CPD Guide on the NHAA website www.nhaa.org.au.