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A Swiss study found that dietary supplements improved the recovery of older patients with hip fractures.

A group led by Dr. C.H. Rapin of the University Hospital of Geneva gave a nutritional supplement containing extra protein to 32 hip-fracture patients whose average age was 82.

The rate of complications and deaths was half that of a similar group that didn't get the supplement, the researchers reported in the journal Lancet. The supplemented patients spent only 24 days in the hospital, compared with 40 days for those on the ordinary diet.

Hidden malnutrition is more common in older patients than is generally realized, the researchers say.

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