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Dec 21, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- CHERRIES MAY HELP AGAINST DIABETES

Michigan State University researchers say chemicals abundant in cherries could help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. In early laboratory studies using animal pancreatic cells, the chemicals, called anthocyanins, increased insulin production by 50 percent, according to a study scheduled to appear in the Jan. 5 issue of the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Anthocyanins are a class of plant pigments responsible for the color of many fruits, including cherries, which are potent antioxidants that have been increasingly associated with a variety of health benefits. "It is possible that consumption of cherries and other fruits containing these compounds could have a significant impact on insulin levels in humans," says study leader Muralee Nair.


A high-pressure work environment with tight deadlines can cause a six-fold increase in the risk of having a heart attack, a Swedish study finds. Short-term but intense pressure has a bigger impact on the heart than accumulated stress over time. The findings, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, are based on a study of more than 3,500 people participating in the Stockholm Heart Epidemiology Program. The researchers at the Karolinska Institute also find men were 80 percent more likely to have a heart attack if they had experienced a conflict at work within the preceding 12 months. For women, a change in financial circumstances tripled their risk of heart attack.


Immigrants who live in the United States for at least 15 years are nearly as obese as adults born in the United States. A study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, finds immigrants generally come from countries where obesity rates are lower than in the United States. Acculturation to U.S. norms, however, leads to an increasing prevalence of obesity among immigrants. Lead author Dr. Mita Sanghavi Goel, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, says immigrants also face more barriers to quality healthcare and are less likely to receive preventive healthcare than are those native to the United States. Goel and co-researchers from Harvard University also find immigrants are less likely to discuss diet and exercise with their doctors than are U.S. native adults.


Holiday food can contribute to many U.S. adults suffering from acid indigestion, says Dr. Steven Peikin of Robert Woods Johnson Hospital in New Jersey. Fatty or greasy foods, chocolate and alcohol can be some of the most heartburn-inducing holiday foods. However, a new Holiday Heartburn Survey showed even stuffing, eggnog and pie can bring on unwanted heartburn in some people. Avoiding some of these foods during the holidays can be a hardship, but a heartburn remedy, such as Pepcid Complete, can treat heartburn, acid indigestion, acid reflux and sour stomach, according to Peikin.


(EDITORS: For more information on CHERRIES, contact Michael Bernstein at (202) 872-6042 or FOR IMMIGRANTS, Ellen Soo Hoo at (312) 503-8618. For HEART BURN, Steven Sager at (212) 812-7082)

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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