ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Fractures in Older Adults Up Death Risk
Healthy adults have potential autoimmune disease-causing cells
Autumn Sees More Women With Bunion Problems
CANCER
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
CAREGIVING
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
DIABETES
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Fatty Acid in Olive Oil Wards Off Hunger
The Raw Food Diet
Eat Up, But Eat Healthy This Holiday Season
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Ozone Pollution Taking Toll on American Lives
Artificial Light Linked to Prostate Cancer Risk
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
EYE CARE, VISION
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
FITNESS
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
The Yearly Flu Shot Debate
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
A Little Alcohol May Help the Heart: Studies
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Countdown to Hair Loss
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
SENIORS
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Natural Therapies for Menopause
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Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia

THURSDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Virgin coconut oil, added to antibiotic therapy, may help relieve the symptoms of community-acquired pneumonia in kids faster than antibiotic therapy alone, a new study finds.

Children who received coconut oil therapy along with antibiotics had fewer crackles (a wheezing sound in the lungs), a shorter time with an elevated respiratory rate and fever, better oxygen saturation in the blood, and shorter hospital stays, according to the study.

"Earlier normalization of respiratory rate and resolution of crackles could also mean possible earlier discharge," said the study's lead author, Dr. Gilda Sapphire Erguiza, a pediatric pulmonologist at the Philippine Children's Medical Center in Quezon City.

The study's findings were due to be presented Wednesday at the American College of Chest Physicians meeting in Philadelphia.

Community-acquired pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that is contracted outside a hospital setting. It is a serious infection in children and affects as many as 34 to 40 youngsters per 1,000 children in Europe and North America, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Lower respiratory infections are one of the leading causes of childhood mortality in developing countries, according to the AAFP.

The current study included 40 children between the ages of 3 months and 5 years old. All had community-acquired pneumonia and were being treated intravenously with the antibiotic ampicillin.

Half of the group was randomized to also receive oral virgin coconut oil in a daily dose of 2 milliliters per every kilogram of weight. The oil was given for three days in a row.

The researchers found that the respiratory rate normalized in 32.6 hours for the virgin coconut oil group versus 48.2 hours for the control group, according to the study. After three days, patients in the control group were more likely to still have crackles than those in the coconut oil group -- 60 percent of the controls still had crackles compared to 25 percent of the coconut oil group.

Those in the coconut oil group also had fevers for a shorter time, had normal oxygen saturation faster, and had shorter hospital stays, but Erguiza said these findings did not reach statistical significance.

How might the coconut oil work to ease pneumonia? Erguiza hypothesized that it may boost ampicillin's effectiveness because it contains lauric acid, which is known to have antimicrobial properties, she said.

One expert said the findings aren't definitive, however.

"This is a very interesting but small study. The jury's still out as to whether there's a real benefit here," said Dr. Daniel Rauch, director of the pediatric hospitalist program at New York University Langone Medical Center.

Rauch said he wouldn't discourage a parent from trying this treatment, as long as they were still using antibiotics, but he said it's important that children aren't forced to take virgin coconut oil, or any other oil for that matter. The concern, he said, is that if a child is forced to ingest something like coconut oil, and doesn't really don't want to, he or she may end up choking on it and aspirating the oil into the lungs, which is very dangerous.

In an effort to prevent some pneumonias from occurring in the first place, the Pneumococcal Awareness Council of Experts initiated a "Global Call to Action" on Oct. 24 to urge greater access to the pneumococcal vaccine in poor countries. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the pneumococcal vaccine has been introduced in 26 countries worldwide, though none are low-income countries.

More information

To learn more about pneumonia, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Gilda Sapphire Erguiza, M.D., pediatric pulmonologist, Philippine Children's Medical Center, Quezon City, Philippines; Daniel Rauch, M.D., director, pediatric hospitalist program, New York University Langone Medical Center, and assistant professor of pediatrics, New York University School of Medicine, New York City; Oct. 29, 2008, presentation, American College of Chest Physician's annual meeting, Philadelphia; Oct. 23, 2008, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Last Updated: Oct. 30, 2008

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