The American Council on Science and Health advises making health maintenance a top New Year's resolution. The group of science and medical professionals gives 12 health-promoting tips:
--Focus on real risks, such as smoking or gaining too much weight, rather than on theoretical threats beyond your control, such as receiving an anthrax-laden letter.
--Do not smoke.
--Keep a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet and exercising 30 to 45 minutes three to five times a week.
--Handle foods safely by washing hands and surfaces, avoiding cross-contamination, cooking to proper temperatures and refrigerating promptly.
--Never drink and drive.
--If you drink, do so in moderation,
--Get regular preventive care, such as screening tests and immunizations.
--Guard against sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS.
--Check with your doctor before starting an "alternative" therapy, such as herbal medicine, massage, chiropractic treatment or aromatherapy.
--Use seat belts.
--Maintain your dental health.
--Install a smoke detector.
HERB MAY SPELL RELIEF FOR MIGRAINE SUFFERERS
U.S. scientists say an herbal extract may help prevent migraine headaches. Dr. Richard Lipton of Albert Einstein College of Medicine says the extract from the petasites hybridus root, commonly called butterbur, has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. "Our study shows that butterbur really does reduce the frequency of migraine attacks so it's a welcome addition to the therapeutic arsenal we have available to combat migraine," says Lipton, author of a report published in the journal Neurology.
LINK FOUND BETWEEN SLEEP, LABOR LENGTH
University of California, San Francisco, scientists say sleep-deprived women are more likely to have longer labors and cesarean births. The School of Nursing scientists found women who averaged less than six hours of sleep per night in late pregnancy had significantly longer labors and were 4.5 times more likely to have cesarean deliveries than women who averaged seven or more hours of sleep. Women who averaged between six and seven hours of sleep per night were 3.7 times more likely to have a cesarean delivery, they report in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
SALIVA USED TO DETECT CANCER
University of California, Los Angeles, scientists say saliva may provide a new way to detect head and neck cancer. The scientists from the Jonsson Cancer Center used the RNA in saliva to detect cancer, differentiating head and neck cancer patients from a group of healthy volunteers based on biomarkers found in their spittle, with 91 percent accuracy. The study may result in new diagnostic and early detection tools, they report in the journal Clinical Cancer Research. "This is a new direction, using a non-invasive fluid for disease diagnostics, particularly in cancer," says Dr. David Wong, professor and chairman of oral biology and medicine, director of the UCLA School of Dentistry, Dental Research Institute, and a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher.
(EDITORS: For more information about RESOLVE, contact American Council on Science and Health at (212) 362-7044 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For HERBAL, Karen Gardner at (718) 430-3101 or email@example.com. For SLEEP, Carol Hyman at (415) 476-2557 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For SALIVA, Kim Irwin at (310) 206-2805 or email@example.com)