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QUICK STUDY : A weekly digest of new research on major health topics

THIS STUDY involved 232 adults diagnosed with panic disorder. Half were randomly assigned to participate in six sessions of cognitive behavior therapy over 12 weeks, followed by six brief telephone counseling sessions during the next nine months; the other half were referred to community mental health resources, which was considered "usual treatment." All participants were given prescriptions for anti-anxiety drugs. A year later, 29 percent of the therapy group was in remission, compared with 16 percent of the others; 63 percent had shown a positive response to the therapy, vs. 38 percent of the others.

WHO MAY BE AFFECTED BY THESE FINDINGS? Any adult who has panic attacks. Women are twice as likely as men to have these attacks. Nearly 2 1/2 million American adults have a panic attack each year.

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CAVEATS Therapy sessions were free, but participants had to pay for any medications; the study did not monitor whether medications were taken. Because participants also took medications, the study results cannot be attributed solely to cognitive behavior therapy. Findings were based on the participants' reporting of panic attacks.

BOTTOM LINE People with panic disorder may want to talk with a therapist about cognitive behavior therapy.

FIND THIS STUDY March issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry; abstract available online at www.archgenpsychiatry.com.

LEARN MORE ABOUT panic disorder at www.apa.org and www.adaa.org.

kidney failure

Vitamin D injections may help people on dialysis live longer.

THE QUESTION In most people, the kidneys convert vitamin D from food or supplements into a form the body can use. But when the kidneys fail, needed vitamin D goes unused. Might injections of the vitamin, already broken down, help people with kidney failure live longer?

THIS STUDY analyzed the medical records of 51,037 people with end-stage renal disease who were undergoing kidney dialysis. About 73 percent got vitamin D injections (mostly Calcijex or Zemplar). Injections were given for varying lengths of time; the average number of doses was 117. After two years, 24 percent of those given vitamin D had died, compared with 41 percent of the others.

WHO MAY BE AFFECTED BY THESE FINDINGS? People with total and irreversible kidney failure, known as end-stage renal disease. About 375,000 Americans have this disease.

CAVEATS The analysis did not determine whether differing doses of vitamin D produced different results. It did not account for the possible effect of factors such as varying nutritional status and other medications, including vitamin D supplements. The study was not randomized.

BOTTOM LINE People with end-stage renal disease may want to ask a doctor about injectable vitamin D.

FIND THIS STUDY April issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology; abstract available online at www.jasn.org(in the Quick Search box, type "Teng" as the author).

LEARN MORE ABOUT vitamin D at ods.od.nih.gov. For more on treating kidney failure, go to kidney.niddk.nih.gov.

-- Linda Searing

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