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Posted - Dec. 9, 2004 at 12:20 p.m.



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Dec 09, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- HEEL PAIN CAN REDUCE EXERCISE

Heel pain, caused by plantar fasciitis, affects almost one-third of U.S. adults who are overweight, a survey by Heeling Solutions has found. Excruciating heel pain can limit one's ability to exercise, making plantar fasciitis a contributing factor in the nation's obesity epidemic. Treatments often include exercise and medications, such as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, or NSAIDs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, as well as stretching, wearing proper footwear and using arch supports. "Plantar fasciitis is a disease where patient education and lifestyle changes are critical and can make a big difference for a lot of people," said Dr. Jeffrey Peterson of the Northern California Institute of Sports Medicine. "When heel pain is resolved," he said, "it helps a person to lose weight by enabling a more active, healthy lifestyle."

ALL-DAY DRIVERS AT CARDIOVASCULAR RISK

A Swiss study found drivers who must spend all day in a vehicle may be at risk of cardiovascular problems because of air pollution from traffic. Exposure to fine particles and pollutants that accumulate in vehicles driving at varying speeds in traffic enhances the likelihood of thrombosis and inflammation and alters the regularity of the heart rhythm, according to a study published in the journal Particle and Fiber Toxicology. Michael Riediker, of the Institute of Occupational Health Sciences in Switzerland, collaborated with several institutions in North Carolina to study the effects of different sources of motor-vehicle-related pollution on patrol police officers. Silicon and aluminum particles are emitted by road surfaces due to wear, while mechanical automotive parts produce iron, chromium and titanium particles and gasoline combustion contributes benzene and carbon monoxide.

STRESS MAY LEAD TO QUICKER SKIN CANCER

Stress speeds up the onset of skin cancer, at least in mice, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore. The study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, found mice exposed to stressful conditions and ultraviolet light -- which is contained in sunlight -- develop skin cancers in less than half the time it took for non-stressed mice to grow tumors. The researchers said if their findings are relevant in humans, then stress-reducing programs such as yoga and meditation may help those at high risk for skin cancer stay healthy longer. "Chronic stress dampens our immune system and impacts various aspects of our health," said study leader Dr. Francisco Tausk.

EPILEPSY DRUGS NEED BETTER MANAGEMENT

A Harris Interactive survey found 57 percent of U.S. epilepsy patients said they could not work as much as they would like. Anti-epileptic drugs, known as AEDs can cause side effects such as depression, weight gain, memory loss and "fogginess." The survey underscores the need for physicians and patients to fine tune medications to reduce side effects. In addition, there are therapies such as the medication Zonegran that can reduce side effects from some epilepsy drugs. Eisai Inc., the producer of Zonegran, has developed a national education and support program available on the Web site ChangingFacesofEpilepsy.com.

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EDITORS: For more information on HEELPAIN, contact media@heelingsolutions.com. For DRIVERS, Juliette Savin at 44-207-631-9931 or juliette@biomedcentral.com. For SKIN CANCER, Vanessa Wasta at (410) 955-1287 or wastava@jhmi.edu. For EPILEPSY, Dana Mortensen (215)928-2391

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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