Taking dietary supplements will not extend life, researchers report, and taken in large quantities may even be harmful. In a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Tufts University scientists gathered dietary information from almost 31,000 men and women 20 and older.

They found that using dietary supplements had no effect on mortality. Adequate intakes of vitamins A and K, magnesium, zinc and copper were associated with reductions in all-cause mortality, but only when they came from food.

Taking 1,000 or more milligrams of calcium a day was associated with an increased risk for death from cancer, and vitamin D supplements in doses above 400 IU a day were associated with increased cancer death and death from any cause.

Telemedicine’s role in antibiotics, kids

Children seen via telemedicine visits were far more likely to be prescribed antibiotics than those who went to a doctor’s office or clinic, said a study published in the journal Pediatrics. Many of those prescriptions disregarded guidelines, raising the risk they could cause side effects or contribute to the rise of antibiotic-resistant germs.

Dr. Kristin Ray of the University of Pittsburgh and her colleagues looked at more than 340,000 insured children who had acute respiratory illness medical visits in 2015 and 2016. Children received prescriptions for antibiotics more than half the time in telemedicine visits, compared with 42 percent at urgent care clinics and 31 percent at doctors’ offices. They also found telemedicine physicians appeared to be ignoring other guidelines. For example, doctors are supposed to take a throat swab and run a lab test before diagnosing strep throat. But that rarely happened in telemedicine visits, Ray said.

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