By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – A common vitamin could reduce the severity of asthma attacks in people with the condition.

London researchers reviewed a number of previous studies involving almost a thousand patients with asthma and found that supplementation with vitamin D reduced the need for ER visits and hospitalizations for asthma by 50 percent.

Patients on vitamin D also appeared to reduce the need for treatment with steroids by 30 percent.

Most of the study subjects were adults with mild to moderate asthma so it is unclear what the effects might be with children or people with more severe asthma.

And the patients were continuing to take their standard asthma medication, not replacing it with vitamin D.

But clinical trials are currently underway to take a closer look at this so we can decide whether we should recommend routine vitamin d supplementation in people with asthma.

SMELL TEST COULD PREDICT RISK OF DEMINTIA

You sense of smell could reveal your risk of dementia.

Researchers looked at nearly 3,000 middle-aged and older adults and asked them to identify five scents:  peppermint, fish, orange, rose, and leather.

The study subjects who could not identify at least four out of the five odors were more than twice as likely to develop dementia within five years.

This data, along with data from other studies, suggest that your sense of smell is closely related to brain function and loss of smell could indicate that something is wrong with the brain.

Perhaps, one day, a simple smell test could be used to identify patients at risk for dementia.

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