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Sep 22, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- OVER-COUNTER-COLD REMEDY WARNING

With cold season fast approaching, a sore throat or a runny nose has many seeking relief with over-the-counter cold remedies at U.S. drug stores. Pharmacist Anna Garrett warns that using over-the-counter cold remedies improperly can decrease the effectiveness of the product and spell trouble for a person's overall health. For example, people with irregular heartbeats or high blood pressure should be especially careful with decongestants such as pseudoephedrine because it may aggravate their condition. She suggests preventative measures, such as hand washing, getting sufficient rest and practicing healthy habits is the best approach to avoiding a cold. For more information, go to


A childhood obesity expert in Dallas said with rising obesity rates, it's important to closely monitor your children's diet. "Some kids and many teens skip breakfast, and a bag of chips is a common after-school snack," said Dr. Laura Scalfano, an assistant professor at the University of Southwestern Medical Center. "In the back-to-school rush, healthy snacks often give way to more convenient fast-food options but they don't have to." Scalfano recommends: preparing a low-fat milk shake made with yogurt, skim milk and berries for breakfast; while a handful of nuts, low-fat cheese, apples, berries, raw veggies, yogurt and lean luncheon meats make good snacks; and, when thirsty, reach for water or skim milk.


A U.S. study finds the combination of a pleasurable response to sweet taste and novelty seeking may predict alcoholism. Previous research has shown a relationship between a pleasurable response to sweet taste and a genetic vulnerability to alcoholism among children of alcoholic fathers, but liking sweets is insufficient in itself to predict alcoholism. However the study, published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, finds alcoholism can be predicted by the combination of the two independent factors. "It is believed that high novelty seeking causes early experimentation with alcohol and, as a result, higher lifetime rates of heavy drinking, alcohol abuse and dependence," says study leader Alexei B. Kampov-Polevoy of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.


A Seattle study of vitamins and supplements suggests four common supplements could help stave off weight gain in middle age. The 10-year study was conducted by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. The individuals who gained the least weight were those who had consumed multivitamins, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-12 and chromium and were categorized as either overweight or obese at age 45. The researchers suggest that chromium, which helps regulate blood sugar for diabetics, led to less food consumption, and that individuals lacking micronutrients such as B vitamins might eat in excess. The findings were presented American Association of Naturopathic Physicians 19th Annual Convention & Exposition in Seattle.


(EDITORS: For more information on COLDS, contact Alissa Pinck at (212) 725-4500 ext. 323 or For NUTRITION, Staishy Bostick Siem at (214) 648-3404. For ALCOHOLISM, Alexei B. Kampov-Polevoy at (718) 584-9000 x5180 or

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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