Nursing Notes

August 23, 2012

We’re moving!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Shirley @ 12:46 pm

I am moving this blog to my own hosted site, The Nursing Notes.  As you can see, I have not been blogging regularly here in anticipation of moving to this new site.

I hope you will visit me at the new home where you will find the same value.  I will continue to post articles about nursing that are current and newsworthy along with my own editorials.  I will also post articles I write about nursing as well as blog posts about me and my work as a psychiatric nurse.

Please join me at our new home, won’t you?  Click on The Nursing Notes to be taken to the new site now.

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March 22, 2012

Millions of Patients Are Coming. Can Nurses Care For Them?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Shirley @ 2:28 pm

Here is an interesting article I found at Hospitals and Health Networks Daily.  This article talks about the need for more and better educated nurses to fill the need in the near future.  Won’t you read this article and leave me a comment?  I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on this topic.

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By Haydn Bush
H&HN Senior Online Editor

 

 

March 22, 2012
Nursing advocates call for increasing the role of RNs in primary care.

CHICAGO — With a wave of new patients expected to access primary care services when insurance provisions of the Affordable Care Act kick in starting in a little over 20 months, hospitals and other providers are bracing for a major shock to their already stretched delivery systems. And a growing chorus of health care leaders is calling for nurses to lead the way in filling expected gaps in primary care.

I heard two of those voices Wednesday at the American College of Healthcare Executives’ 2012 Congress, as Harvard Public Health Professor Jack Rowe and Tami Minnier, R.N., chief quality officer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, discussed the implications and reactions from the field to the landmark 2010 Institute of Medicine report on the issue, Leading Change, Advancing Health. The report’s big-picture takeaways include more responsibilities for nurses, increased educational opportunities and the removal of scope of practice barriers — issues that writer Whitney L. J. Howellexplores in depth in this month’s H&HN.

Rowe — who served on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Committee of Nursing that helped draft the report, noted that as global payments and accountable care organizations loom, nurses with increased responsibilities and better qualifications are going to be critically important.

“The more highly educated nurses have lower readmission rates, high quality outcomes and better coordination,” Rowe said.

Getting there isn’t easy, of course — while the report calls for doubling the number of nurses with doctoral degrees by 2020, Rowe noted that 40,000 qualified applicants are turned away from nursing school each year because of a lack of capacity. And calls to increase the number of nurses in the U.S. aren’t exactly new, he added.

“These are the exact same words as [another] blue ribbon panel 20 years ago, but they wanted it by 2010.”

Nursing advocates also have to contend with existing barriers around scope of practice arrangements in order to allow advanced practice nurses and BSNs to deliver more primary care services. Still, providers in 48 states have implemented some of the report’s recommendations, and Minnier explored how the report has informed a new nursing care model at UPMC that emphasizes the importance of responsiveness to patient needs.

“[Hospitals] get complaints like ‘They didn’t take me to the bathroom, they didn’t answer the bell,'” Minnier said. “In reality, that is the core of why they’re in the hospital. They need meds and treatments, but they also need the basics.”

The changes have led to an 85 percent reduction in call bell response time and a 70 percent increase in compliance with turning and repositioning patients.

“It’s a new nursing care model. Same work, same money, same space, and… a 60 percent increase in some of the outcomes.”

I had a chance to interview Minnier after her presentation for a future H&HN Daily videocast — look for it this April.

Email your thoughts on the role of nurses in health care’s ongoing transformation tohbush@healthforum.com.

The opinions expressed by authors do not necessarily reflect the policy of Health Forum Inc. or the American Hospital Association.

February 29, 2012

Nurses Get Pushed Around, Again

Filed under: Uncategorized — Shirley @ 12:02 am

I recently read this article about the Kennedy baby and the struggle with these nurses.  Upon first reading, I was confused as to what really happened.  Having been in a hospital with a Code pink is called, I can tell you that hospitals take infant safety extremely seriously.  This entire incident reeks of special interest being upset because they had to follow the rules like every other person in that hospital.

I hope the hospital is prepared to back up these nurses who were simply doing their job and protecting their very young and very vulnerable patients from harm.  Read this article from HealthLeadersMedia

____________________________________________________________________________

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media , February 28, 2012

Aggression involving nurses is at the center of a he-said-she-said dispute that pits Douglas Kennedy, son of the late Robert Kennedy, against the nurses caring for his newborn son. It seems that a misunderstanding between the two parties somehow escalated into a physical confrontation that’s gained national attention.

Kennedy was was arrested on misdemeanor charges of child endangerment and harassment after a Jan. 7 struggle with two nurses at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, NY. According to media reports, the nurses allege that Kennedy twisted one of their wrists and kicked the other when they tried to stop him from taking his newborn son outside for some “fresh air.”

In a statement provided to HealthLeaders Media, the hospital said:
“On January 7th, 2012 an incident occurred involving a patient’s family member and NWH staff members. At Northern Westchester Hospital, patient safety is our priority and we completely support the actions of our nursing staff in this case as they were clearly acting out of concern for the safety of a newborn baby. Out of respect to all parties involved, we are not elaborating on the details of this incident or providing any additional comments.”

Yet the folks in Kennedy’s corner have come out swinging hard against the nurses, saying that they tried to grab at his baby. He calls the allegations against him “absurd” and “sickening,” and says anything he did was simply an attempt to protect his son.

An emergency department doctor and family friend of Kennedy who witnessed the incident, calls the nurses the “only aggressors.” And Kennedy’s lawyer is accusing the nurses of trying to “cash in” on the events, according to media reports.

Surveillance camera footage of the incident shows the nurses trying to block Kennedy from leaving via the elevator and then the stairs. It also shows one of the nurses falling to the floor. The nurses said they called code pink, indicating child abduction.

Kennedy’s attorney, Robert Gottlieb, said in an ABC News interview that his client was only trying to protect his baby. “One of the nurses actually goes to grab the baby. How dare she?”

It’s hard to glean many details about the incident from the choppy security footage. But it seems even harder to imagine why any nurse would want to be an “aggressor” against a new dad.

In contrast, it is easy to imagine why a nurse would do everything she could to protect a newborn and comply with rules that aim to prevent infant abduction.

Although data from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children shows that infant abductions from hospitals are relatively rare—there were only 128 cases of completed infant abductions from healthcare facilities between 1983 and 2010—hospitals obviously take the threat of abductions very seriously.

Maternity wards are often locked, and the comings and goings of visitors and family are heavily monitored. Hospitals also tightly control babies’ whereabouts; in some hospitals, babies wear security bracelets that trigger an alarm if they’re carried beyond designated boundaries.

Penalties for lax security can be hefty: Last year, Santa Barbara Cottage…(read more)

January 8, 2012

Most in-hospital adverse events unreported: OIG

Here is an article from ModernHealthcare.com  that addresses the failure to report events causing patient

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harm.  The article goes on to point out reasons for such a failure and the reasoning does make sense.  However, I feel quite strongly that if nurses had the time to make reports and if those reports were simple and easy, there would be quite a few made.  As it is, nurses are drowning in patient loads, paperwork, and have little to no time to eat or use the restroom, so forgive me if we sometimes don’t stay after our shift to enter cumbersome reports into the computer about events that really did not cause harm but could have.

Please read this article and I would love to hear your take on this topic.

____________________________________________________________________________

By Maureen McKinney

Posted: January 6, 2012 – 4:00 pm ET
Read more: Most in-hospital adverse events unreported: OIG – Healthcare business news and research | Modern Healthcare http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20120106/NEWS/301069970#ixzz1isnhQ09U
?trk=tynt

The vast majority of in-hospital adverse events go unreported by staff, according to a report from HHS’ inspector general’s office (PDF).

Using a month of survey data from a sample of 189 hospitals, the inspector general’s office found that hospitals’ voluntary incident reporting systems captured only about 14% of events that cause patient harm, such as medication errors. Federal investigators attributed low reporting rates, at least in part, to poor knowledge among hospital staff about what patient harm actually means.

“For example, staff reported only one of 17 sample events related to catheter usage (e.g., infection and urinary retention), a common cause of harm to Medicare beneficiaries,” according to the report.Other types of events that went unreported included cases of excessive bleeding related to misuse of blood thinning medications, and hospital-acquired infections.Incident reporting systems are a requirement for participation in Medicare, but a lack of uniform requirements—such as lists staff can use to identify patient harms—can damage the systems’ reliability, according to the report.“Because hospitals rely on incident reporting systems to track and analyze events, improving the usefulness of these systems is critical to hospitals’ efforts to improve patient safety,” the report said.

The report urged the CMS and HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to develop a list of adverse events for hospitals to use. Additionally, the office said, the CMS should reassess its methods for judging hospital compliance with the reporting-system requirement.

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January 1, 2012

To all my nursing friends everywhere….

Filed under: Uncategorized — Shirley @ 3:16 pm

December 24, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Shirley @ 9:56 pm

May you know peace and great joy this season.  May you receive gifts of good cheer from all you meet.

Merry Christmas!

December 15, 2011

New Facebook Fan Page Created

Filed under: Uncategorized — Shirley @ 6:49 am
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I have just learned how to make a fan page on Facebook.  It was really quite easy and you can do quite a bit more with a page than with your personal profile.  I hope you will check it out and like it if you do.  Right now, there’s not much on it, but I intend to change that soon.  I’m working on autoposting from this blog and from another to that page, but I am still learning how to do that.  I hope you will try this for yourself.  Making Fan Pages is really fun!

Here’s the link:  https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Nursing-Notes/290893507619413

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December 2, 2011

More on Grief and Loss

Filed under: Uncategorized — Shirley @ 9:08 pm

As I am personally experiencing some of both, I found this article to be helpful.  I hope to get another guest posting but the author after the holiday season is over, but for now I will post this article she sent me.  I recommend her book and hope you will visit her website for more information about her.

I would like to invite other nurses to guest post here on this blog.  I try to make this blog a place to come and find viable and current information that reflects on the nursing profession as a whole, but most importantly, on the nurse at the bedside.  Any information that I can produce to empower that nurse, to educate that nurse, to give that nurse a voice is what I aim for here on this blog.  If your writings fall into that catagory, I would love to have you guest post.

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   LOSS, GRIEF AND THE WORK-0F-GRIEF: A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE

                                                                              By A. Barbara Coyne, Ph.D, MSN

 

Loss: Ever-Present in Living

 

“The hour that gives us life begins to take it away”…Seneca, first century philosopher

In the unfolding spiral of living, loss is inevitable and universal. If we heed the wisdom of Seneca, we know that we experience loss from the moment of birth until our own death. And throughout the subsequent twenty centuries, we have known that grief is the natural companion of all loss. Although much of what we know about grief is rooted in post-death grief, we also know that we experience other losses: we are connected to people, animals and things and when any of those connections break, we grieve and mourn. Some of these “other losses” include but are not limited to: loss of a job or home, friends who move away or choose to no longer be our friends, chronic but not life-threatening health conditions, divorce, separation and, of course, death (of people or beloved animals).

 

Every loss leaves an indelible print on the very core of one’s being and each becomes an integral aspect of the unfolding biography that makes you uniquely you. It is this uniqueness of each grief story that renders meaningless the well-intentioned cliché: “I know just how you feel because I’ve been there”. No one experiences your grief in your way. While there are identifiable commonalities in how grief shows itself, each individual’s experience of grief is unique in light of the meaning, context, and current circumstances in which the loss is embedded. Every loss, then, becomes a part of the historical context in which a loss in the present is experienced and expressed. It is in this sense that grief is over…but it’s never over: it changes over time as we learn the lessons that grief, our internal healer, teaches.

 

Grief: The Internal Healer

 

 Look well into thyself, there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look there.”…Marcus Aurelius, Stoic Philosopher and Emperor of Rome (161-180 A.D.)   

     Grief, the natural response to all loss, is a fundamental aspect of our humanness. It represents a vital energy within the healing life force, the creative power in all of us that propels our on-going shifting, changing growth. We can think about this vital energy as the “wisdom of the body”—a very old concept having to do with the body’s power to heal itself. This idea has changed over time, stretching from the ancient temples of Asclepius, god of healing, to the modern versions of “stress theory” in the medical model. But it is in the ancient sense of a healing life force of the whole person—not the modern construction of “body-mind-spirit” or “bio-psycho-social parts”—that grief can be recognized as our internal healer.

 

In this perspective of grief as internal healer, we recognize that grief is not a sickness from which we “recover” in a prescribed timeframe through the well-known five stages: it is the very essence of the human condition in whose wake we learn to live. The learning surfaces as we willingly, albeit reluctantly, engage the difficult process of the work-of-grief…not to be confused with the psychoanalytic concept of “working through issues”.  It is a process that sends us deep inside to wander through the depths of our pain, honor the truth of what we find as we seek the “strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look there”.

 

The Process of the Work-of-Grief: Discovering and Creating New Meanings

        The Essence and the Elements of the Process

v    The Essence:

           “Adopt the pace of nature—her secret is patience”….Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

The very essence of the work-of-grief has to do with using energy to heal the pain of loss as we struggle to discover and create different meanings in a world that seems suddenly chaotic and meaningless. All life processes require energy: from the fundamental basics of cellular function to the increasingly complex human engagement with living, we use vital energy and constantly revitalize it in a variety of ways. Since all losses are embedded within the on-going process of living, when we experience a loss, grief—that internal healer—alerts us that we are now using even more of that vital energy. It explains why one of the “identifiable commonalities” in the experience of grief is an unremitting and overwhelming fatigue. It is this further depletion of vital energy that can contribute to making us sick. Respect this “wisdom of the body”: it is telling us to gentle down, slow our pace, attend to the myriad messages coming from within, nurture our patience and carefully nourish our “self” as we embrace the difficult process of the work-of-grief. It is a time to “adopt the pace of nature”, whose secret is “patience”—to help us tolerate the pain of loss as we inexorably move toward relinquishing our grief through actively embracing the elements of the work-of-grief.

 

v    The Elements: (three simultaneously unfolding elements)

               “The only way out of the desert is through it”……An African aphorism      

 

  • DISCONNECTING-CONNECTING which has to do with disconnecting from the familiar rhythm lived with the person/thing lost and at the same time, connecting with the unfamiliar pattern your life is now taking. This creates a profound struggle as you try to “understand” and “make sense” of your loss—as you

 

  • NARROW THE KNOWING-BELIEVING GAP . “Understanding” has to do with knowing and believing, two different ways of interpreting our world: knowing has to do with “facts” before us; believing has to do with coming to know these facts from our inner experience of them. There is often a wide gap between these two ways: it’s why a common expression following a loss is some variation of “I can’t believe it”—even though you know it: you saw him in the casket, touched him and knew he didn’t feel alive; you hold the divorce  papers in your hands; your friend has moved across the country so you don’t see her every day, your beloved cat does not greet you at the door—so yes, you know it, but you do not believe it: yet! And no, this is not the psychiatric mechanism of the stage of “denial”. It is the “wisdom of the body” offering you a slowing of the process as you come eventually to narrow the gap between what you know and what you believe. You come to this understanding in myriad ways as you live the reality of your changing pattern of living.  FOR EXAMPLE, EACH TIME YOU:

 

  • reach for the telephone to call your mother for your “daily 3:00 call…..
  • wander through your “empty house’ in the after shock of your spouse’s “moving out”….
  • see the dog’s empty dishes…
  • wonder why and how this could have happened….
  • question how or what you could or should have done better/different/sooner/not at all……….you are narrowing the gap!

Many similarities cross the spectrum of loss—whether related to death, divorce or separation; whether from person, animal or thing. But there is at least one significant difference: for those grieving a loss through death, the reality becomes more concrete in light of the absolute finality of death; for separations or divorce, the person is still “out there” and while communication may be changed or non existent, thoughts of “what if” persist over time. It is important to let all this confusion and disorientation tumble through you as you grieve and mourn your loss…..inexorably you

 

  • RESOLVE THE WORK-OF-GRIEF which has to do with becoming more familiar with your changed living pattern. Grief, your internal healer, has guided you through this very painful process, to a higher order of wholeness as you integrated new awareness, explored  some difficult truths about connections, relationships and ways you participated in the rhythm of their unfolding. You tolerated the discomfort of engaging the truth presented in your questions and doubts.  In search of peace and perhaps serenity, some choose not to engage their truths because the risk of “seeing” may be greater than the risk of “not seeing” and yet, profound growth surfaces in our willingness to honor our truths, no matter how painful or incongruous. The theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr said it this way: “The final wisdom of life requires not the annulment of incongruity but the achievement of serenity within and above it.” You have lived the incongruity and found your way “out of the desert of your grief”.

 

     And finally…grief always offers us the opportunity to grow in light of the many losses throughout living. We embrace this growth when we acknowledge the transitory nature of life, hold firm our beliefs and values, honor the truth of our participation in the world and focus on the gifts we have to give. With Hemingway, who tells us (A Farewell to Arms) that “the world breaks everyone, and afterward many are strong at the broken places”, we embrace the strength at our broken places—and we create different ways to be happy.

 

This perspective can be further explored in my recently published book: You Don’t Have to Like It, But You Do Have to Live It (Visit me at www.barbaracoyne.com )

 

October 25, 2011

The Truth about Nursing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Shirley @ 8:28 pm

Here is a video about nursing that is really hillarious until you realize it is too sad because it is true.

The public’s view of who a nurse is and what a nurse does has not changed since the inception of the profession, despite our best efforts to give the public correct information.  It is sad that most people still view nurses as sexually loose women or as doctor’s handmaidens–there is no room for any other stereotype in their collective minds.

As a nurse, I am appalled when my profession is maligned in the media.  I hope you feel the same way.

Here is a video to articulate this issue:

October 21, 2011

Vitamin Studies Spell Confusion for Patients

Filed under: Uncategorized — Shirley @ 6:43 am

As a proponent for taking multiple vitamins daily, I am always upset when there is an article or new story about how dangerous and unhealthy it is to take them.  I am always suspect of any and all articles that say “vitamins will cure you”  or “vitamins will kill you”.  This is the type of news reporting that seems to be in favor right now and with most of the public relying on news for their information, I think this is a shame.

The article below, presented by ABC News,and found on MedPage Today is just one of a myriad of articles that say, in effect, don’t take vitamins because you don’t need them.  But, the healthcare system has just recently begun to even check to see if patients show any vitamin deficiency with lab draws.

We all were taught in school that there are several diseases that can be prevented with a simple vitamin.  Is that not still true?  We are told that all we have to do is eat correctly and we will get all that we need.  Who do you know right this minute who eats correctly 100% of the time–that eats 6 servings a day of fruits and vegetables, moderate meat, moderate starch, low fat?  I have to say that I don’t know anyone to fit that description, including me.

What I would hope is happening, but the title to this article seems to think not, is that people are doing their own research and making informed decisions about whether or not they need to supplement their daily intake.  With the crisis in healthcare today, it seems we would be trying to encourage self-care and healthy lifestyles with supplementation of vitamins being only a part of that picture.

Who funds these studies?  My experience, after I dig and dig, is that most of them are funded by Big Pharmacy.  The supplement industry is large and that money is getting away from them because they cannot patent a natural substance.  What is showing up now are called “nutraceuticals”, which are a blending of vitamins and herbs with known prescription drugs.  These can be patented and sold at exorbitant prices to the unwitting public.

Please let me know what your thoughts are on this hot topic, won’t you?

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By Kristina Fiore, Staff Writer, MedPage Today
Published: October 14, 2011

 

If it’s Monday, it must be bad news about multivitamin day — or was that Wednesday? No, Wednesday was good news about vitamin D, not so good news about vitamin E — if you’re confused, join the club.

The alphabet soup of vitamin studies making headlines in the last few weeks has left more than one head spinning, and most clinicians scrambling for answers.

As the dust begins to settle, physicians interviewed by MedPage Today and ABC News agreed on a bit of simple wisdom — a healthy diet is more important than a fistful of supplements.

“I had already asked my patients to stop their vitamin supplements four to five years ago, with the exception of those with a deficiency of vitamin D, … pregnant patients [who should get] folate and prenatal multivitamins, or those with cognitive impairment, when I would recommend a vitamin B complex,” Albert Levy, MD, a primary care physician in New York, said in an email to MedPage Today and ABC News.

Whether patients heed the advice is another question, as recent research has shown that more take supplements now than ever before. More than half of Americans report taking a multivitamin or other dietary supplement, up from 40% just two decades ago.

And there’s sure to be pushback from the largely unregulated dietary supplements market — estimated to be a $20 billion industry — which has already launched multiple critiques of the latest evidence.

The Deluge

Here’s a sample of the supplement headlines over recent weeks: B12 deficiency leads to cognitive decline, vitamin D helps fight off tuberculosis, vitamin E ups the risk of prostate cancer, calcium won’t improve outcomes for Mom or baby.

The one that garnered particular attention reported an increased risk of death in postmenopausal women taking multivitamins, as well as vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc, and copper.

Though multivitamins carried only a slightly increased mortality risk, many clinicians say they’ve written off the supplement for good.

That’s because multivitamins were never recommended on the basis of strong evidence anyway, David Katz, MD, of Yale’s prevention research center, told MedPage Today.

“What we had was a notion that this was an insurance policy,” he said in an interview. “Many people don’t eat the way they ought to, so they’re not getting the optimal doses of nutrients from food. Instead, we can rely on a pill that ought to do you some good, and certainly couldn’t do you harm. That was the thinking.”

But more studies have suggested that the health outcomes in patients taking multivitamins appear to be slightly worse, Katz said.

Still, he cautions that the present study is merely observational and can’t prove cause and effect. For instance, some patients may take supplements as a result of being diagnosed with a condition, or they take them because they have a family history of chronic disease and are trying to prevent it, he said.

And clinicians certainly are not concerned that taking multivitamins will kill their patients. It’s just that there is no longer a dearth of evidence that they won’t confer any harm at all, Katz said.

“Considering the weak basis for recommending multivitamins in the first place,” he said, “when you combine that with evidence that maybe it could hurt, the rationale for making routine use of multivitamins goes away.”

Which Supplements Are Supported?

That’s not to say supplements shouldn’t be used at all, Katz said. He recommends omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D for most of his patients, plus calcium for women. Prenatal vitamins and folic acid supplementation are also on that list.

There’s evidence behind those supplements, he said. The GISSI trial found cardiovascular benefits for omega-3s. Study after study has shown that the majority of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, and the supplement study flood included more positive findings for folic acid supplementation around the time of conception.

As for the rest of the supplement lot — give them only in the face of deficiencies, Katz said.

It’s long established, for instance, that B12 deficiency plays a role in dementia and other neurological disorders, and supplementation can stave that off.

As well, certain vitamins are established treatments for a host of diseases, from vitamin C in scurvy to B12 in pernicious anemia.

Who Is Deficient?

But how can clinicians be sure that their patients actually need specific nutrients, especially since there are usually no obvious symptoms?

Katz said, in most cases, doctors should ask about their patients’ diets and about what vitamins they currently take, though he makes the exception for children who are meeting growth milestones or for adults with good muscle tone.

The majority of clinicians reporting in a MedPage Today poll — 70% — said they supported annual screening of specific vitamin levels to treat deficiencies.

They may simply be following recommendations — in June, the Endocrine Society recommended screening for vitamin D deficiency in at-risk patients, setting various levels of treatment for different risk populations, to keep at bay rickets and bone complications.

Rise and Fall

Just as vitamin E was recently found to be unable to prevent prostate cancer — it was actually associated with an increased risk of developing the cancer, albeit a “marginally significant” one — several other nutrients once touted for their preventive benefits flopped in trials.

“We fell in love with vitamin C in middle of the century, but trials didn’t confirm the benefits of preventing colds or cancer,” Katz said.

Similarly, B-complex vitamins promised to lower heart disease risk, he said. While they did lower homocysteine, trials turned up no clinical cardiovascular benefits.

The carotenoid antioxidants beta-carotene and lycopene also proved to be a bust, with both having no benefit in prostate cancer and the former no use in eye disease nor heart disease.

“We have a long litany of barking up the wrong tree,” Katz said.

Why Don’t They Work?

It’s not clear why these vitamins don’t do what they’re expected to do, and researchers are actively looking into why.

The latest theory is that vitamin isolates don’t work quite as well on their own. The vitamin E isolate used in the prostate cancer trial was alpha-tocopherol, which is only one in the family of E-complex vitamins, Katz said.

Rather, it may take the full blend of antioxidants and phytochemicals found within the context of a whole food in order to deliver any potential benefits.

That appears to concur with clinician consensus on the majority of supplements, particularly in healthy patients: they’re not needed. Eat a healthy diet instead.

“[Patients] should stop trying to look for health in a pill,” Lee Green, MD, of the University of Michigan, said in an email. “Health is not found in pills. It’s found in good food and regular exercise. There’s something in our psyche that makes us want to believe in magic, and that desire to believe has focused on vitamins.”

This article was developed in collaboration with ABC News.

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