RELIGIOSITY MAY SLOW ALZHEIMER'S
Spirituality and the practice of religion may help slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, researchers say. They told a meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Miami Beach, Fla., their study of 68 Alzheimer's patients, ages 49 to 94, shows those with a stronger spiritual bent may have a significantly slower progression of cognitive decline. Study author Dr. Yakir Kaufman, who conducted the research as a fellow at the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care in Toronto and is now the director of neurology services at the Sarah Herzog Memorial Hospital in Jerusalem, says: "Spirituality and religiosity have been linked to better health outcomes. Our research addressed the question whether this link is also relevant in Alzheimer's disease."
IBUPROFEN MAY LOWER PARKINSON'S RISK
Over-the-counter pain relievers may help prevent or delay the onset of Parkinson's disease, researchers report. They noted at a meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Miami Beach, Fla., their results are preliminary and further study is needed. The study of 413 volunteers who were tracked for an average 8.5 years found the men and women using such non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as ibuprofen had a 35 percent lower risk of the neurodegenerative disease, says lead author Dr. Honglei Chen of the Harvard School of Public Health and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The risk level seemed to depend on the weekly dosage, he says. Those who took ibuprofen daily had a 38 percent lower risk than those who did not take it regularly.
EXERCISE CAN HELP LOWER HEART DISEASE RISK
Exercise and stress management can cut levels of depression and distress and improve markers of cardiovascular risk in heart disease patients, scientists say. They say psychosocial factors play a key role in the development of ischemic heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. In the 16-week study of 134 patients, James Blumenthal of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues found those participating in aerobic exercise for 35 minutes three times weekly and those undergoing 1.5 hours of stress management a week were less depressed and distressed, and showed improvement in certain cardiovascular risk markers, than those who received routine medical care alone. The authors of the study, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, say more research is needed to determine the long-term effects of exercise and stress management on heart health.
WAIST SIZE LINKED TO DIABETES RISK IN MEN
The circumference of a man's waist can predict his risk of developing type 2 diabetes, scientists say. The 13-year study of 27,270 men, described in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found men with larger waists or higher overall body fat had a greater risk of developing the sugar imbalance. Compared to men with the smallest waists, measuring 29 inches to 34 inches, those with heftier midriff measures -- 34.3 inches to 35.9 inches; 36 inches to 37.8 inches; 37.9 inches to 39.8 inches; 40 inches to 62 inches -- were, respectively, two, three, five and 12 times more likely to develop diabetes, says lead author Dr. Youfa Wang of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Abdominal fat measured by waist circumference can indicate a strong risk for diabetes whether or not a man is considered overweight or obese," Wang says.
(Editors: For more information about ALZHEIMER'S, contact Marilee Reu at 651-695-2789 or firstname.lastname@example.org. PARKINSON'S, Marilee Reu at 651-695-2789, email@example.com. For EXERCISE, Richard Merritt at 919-684-4148. For WAIST Kenna Lowe at 410-955-6878 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)