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Health Tips ... from UPI

By ALEX CUKAN, UPI Science Writer   |   March 17, 2005 at 9:00 AM   |   Comments

RECREATIONAL SWIMMING HEALTH THREAT

There is a growing U.S. public health threat from recreational water illnesses caused by germs such as cryptosporidium, shigella, and E. coli O157:H7. "People need to keep in mind they share the water with everyone else in the pool who may spread illness, including kids in diapers," says Dr. Michael Beach, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. CDC asks swimmers to forego swimming when they have diarrhea. It also recommends swimmers refrain from getting pool water in their mouths and practice good hygiene by showering before swimming and washing their hands after visiting the restroom or changing diapers.


LAUGHTER MAY FIGHT ARTERIOSCLEROSIS

Baltimore researchers have shown for the first time that laughter is linked to healthy function of blood vessels. Principal investigator Dr. Michael Miller of the University of Maryland Medical Center says laughter appears to cause the tissue that forms the inner lining of blood vessels, the endothelium, to dilate or expand to increase blood flow. "The endothelium is the first line in the development of arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, so, given the results of our study, it is conceivable that laughing may be important to maintain a healthy endothelium and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease," Miller told the Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology in Orlando, Fla.


OILY FISH MAY REDUCE INFLAMMATION

A diet high in oily fish like salmon and mackerel improves inflammatory conditions, particularly in combination with low doses of aspirin, finds a U.S. study. Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston identified a new class of aspirin-triggered bioactive lipids, called resolvins that may partly explain the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids. Resolvins, made from the omega-3 fatty acids by cellular enzymes, can reduce inflammation in mice. The main bioactive component of this class of lipids was identified in mice and named resolvin E1. Human resolvin E1 inhibits both the migration of inflammatory cells to sites of inflammation and the turning on of other inflammatory cells, the authors conclude in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.


COLLEGE STUDENTS NOT AT GREATER RISK

U.S. college students have higher rates alcohol use than peers not in college, but don't appear to be at greater alcohol dependence risk. Wendy S. Slutske, from the University of Missouri at Columbia, compared alcohol use disorders in young adults attending college and their peers not attending college. The study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found that in the past year, 18 percent of U.S. college students -- 24 percent of men, 13 percent of women -- had alcohol-related problems, compared with 15 percent of their non-college-attending peers -- 22 percent of men, 9 percent of women. The college students drank more, yet they weren't more likely to be diagnosed with alcohol dependence, according to the study.

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(EDITORS: For more information on SWIMMING contact Jennifer Morcone at 404-639-1690. For LAUGHTER, Bill Seiler at 410-328-8919 or bseiler@umm.edu. For INFLAMMATION, Nickey Henry at 212-327-8366 or henryn@rockefeller.edu. For STUDENTS, Jeff Neu at 573-882-3346.)

© 2005 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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