Category Archives: Research

The evolution of fat guidelines

Since taking DC’s evidence-based decision-making course, I have become very selective about my background reading and if I do have some time to scan journals, articles and summaries, I focus on the areas where I practice — e.g, brain injury, stroke, dysphagia. One gem of a newsletter I regularly read is Heart Headlines.  (I always mentally insert “& Stroke” after heart because nutrition advice for health of the organ in our chest also applies to the one in our head.)

The Summer 2007 issue, which I received in the mail today but is also available online, features an interesting review article on how and why dietary fat guidelines evolved to the statements in the 2007 Food Guide.

Cochrane Review (1999): Interventions for dysphagia in acute stroke

Although this review was originally published in 1999, it was reprinted this year.  Because it includes a thorough, critical appraisal of many of the stroke references in my library, I’ve uploaded the document to my blog.

Interventions for dysphagia in acute stroke (Cochrane Review 1999)

FOOD Trials: Implications for Dietetic Practice

Earlier I posted a brief description of and links to the FOOD Trials, a series of three large, multi-centre, randomized controlled studies that attempted to answer questions about feeding stroke patients.

Here, in the researchers own words, are how the trial results can be applied to practice:

Study 1: Can oral supplementation improve stroke outcome?

On the basis of our results and our surveys of UK practice, it seems likely that patients who are judged to be undernourished on admission or who have deteriorating nutritional status in hospital will be offered oral nutritional supplements…..However, our data do not support use of routine supplementation of hospital diet for unselected stroke patients who are mainly well nourished on admission (The Lancet, Vol 365 February 26, 2005 p. 762).

Studies 2 & 3: Do timing and/or route of enteral feeding affect stroke outcome at 6 months?

Our data would suggest that to reduce case fatality, unless there is a strong indication to delay enteral tube feeding (such indications would have excluded such patients from the FOOD trial), dysphagic stroke patients should be offered enteral tube feeding via a nasogastric tube within the first few days of admission. Also, for enteral feeding within the first 2 or 3 weeks, nasogastric feeding should be the chosen route unless there is a strong practical reason to choose PEG feeding (eg, the patient cannot tolerate a nasogastric tube) (The Lancet, Vol 365 February 26, 2005 p. 771).

The authors also state:

Early tube feeding might reduce case fatality, but at the expense of increasing the proportion surviving with poor outcome. Our data do not support a policy of early initiation of PEG feeding in dysphagic stroke patients (The Lancet, Vol 365 February 26, 2005 p. 764).


Evidence for best nutrition practice in stroke care

Because June is Stroke Month, I’m going to end this last week of June with several posts on stroke research that provides evidence for best nutrition practice.

Today I’m highlighting the FOOD trials that tried to answer the why, when and how of feeding stroke pts. The questions were:

1. In patients who can take adequate oral fluids, does routine oral nutrition supplementation increase the proportion of stroke patients surviving without disability?
2. In patients who are unable to take an adequate diet orally, does early initiation of tube feeding (NG or PEG) increase the proportion of stroke patients surviving without severe disability?
3. In patients who need tube feeding, is a PEG tube, instead of the traditional NG tube, associated with improved outcomes after stroke?

The study results, along with a helpful commentary, were published in the 26 February 2005 issue of the Lancet. Here are the web links to the articles (note: subscription needed to read them):

Donnan GA, Dewey HM. Stroke and nutrition: FOOD for thought. The Lancet, Volume 365, Number 9461, pages 729-730.

Routine oral nutritional supplementation for stroke patients in hospital (FOOD): a multicentre randomised controlled trial. The FOOD Trial Collaboration. The Lancet, Volume 365, Number 9461, pages 755-763.

Effect of timing and method of enteral tube feeding for dysphagic stroke patients (FOOD): a multicentre randomised controlled trial. The FOOD Trial Collaboration. The Lancet, Volume 365, Number 9461, pages 764-772.

If you or your workplace do not have a Lancet subscription, you can still read summaries of the articles for free, although you do have to register. I did this, but to be honest, I didn’t find the summaries had enough information to be useful.

I had wanted to to upload the full articles to my blog but I can’t because of copyright restrictions. If you can’t access the articles easily, please email me and I will email you copies for your personal use. (The copyright policy permits this.)

My email address is on the About me page.

Protocol for Cochrane Review: Nursing interventions for improving nutritional status of stroke patients

Depending on where you work or go to school, you may have free access to the full Cochrane Library. Here’s the web link to this protocol: Nursing interventions for improving nutritional status of stroke patients.

I realize some readers may not have free access so I’ve uploaded the Introduction on my blog. I hope it will give you enough information to decide whether you’d like to read the entire report.

Introduction to protocol
Nursing interventions for improving nutritional status of stroke patients

The Science of Appetite

I was walking past the patient and family lounge at work today when a magazine cover caught my eye: a photo of a hot-fudge sundae in an Erlenmeyer flask with the caption “The Science of Appetite: Why we’re hardwired to crave the wrong things–and what new research says we can do about it.”  Because this was on the cover of Time (as opposed to the National Enquirer) I thought it would be worthwhile to peruse the article, especially after I read the first sentence, “Somewhere in your brain, there’s a cupcake circuit”!

 You can read the article online here: The Science of Appetite.

The online version has the same text as the print version but lacks some of the photos and side-bars. I will post some of the missing content (e.g., what makes us eat more) later today.

Addendum: I found this photo on Flickr. It doesn’t depict the science of appetite so much as the joy of eating.  Guilt-free eating. I wanted to share because it made me happy and may make you smile, too.

Enjoying ice cream

Photo credit: A New Ice Cream Shop Opened by Sister 72 .  Used under this Creative Commons license.

Post-Conference Impressions

At this year’s Dietitians of Canada national conference, we scanned the horizon and learned what the future holds for dietetic practice.

My brain is brimming over with information that needs to be processed, my dining room table is groaning under the weight of handouts and product samples, and my inner drive is revved up with inspiration–all of this requires me to do some blogging!

 Posts to come on: (1) Silken Laumann’s keynote presentation, (2) the vision of our future practice, (3) the power of PEN, (4) vitamin D, (5) the inaugural meeting of the Vegetarian network.