Friday, October 27, 2006

Research for Alaskan FP residents: Vitamin C and hand infections in Fishermen

A colleague of mine is a serious fisherman. He spends weeks in remote Alaska, hanging out with professional and insane amateur fisherfolk. The fish are big and sharp, and hand cuts are routine. He tells me the cuts develop quite an array of persistent local infections, presumably due to the exotic bacteria -- but there's a preventive therapy. A routine megadose of vitamin C will prevent the local infections.

I wasn't able to find any Google references to this, and we have pretty good evidence that vitamin C does nothing for colds or any other form of infection, so it seems a longshot. On the other hand, it's also easy to study and it appears to be a genuine folk practice (like copper bracelets for arthritis -- which also do nothing). It seems like it could be a nice research product for an Alaskan family practice resident, or for an interested local physician. Persuade some fishermen to join a randomized double-blinded trial of vitamin C vs. placebo and study their hand infections. The truly intrepid could experiment on themselves of course, which would get around the informed consent issues.

If you do the study, let me know!

No comments: