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Sep 15, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PREVENTS HEART DISEASE

A woman's level of physical activity appears to be a more useful predictor of existing coronary artery disease and future cardiovascular events. A study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, finds that among 906 participants, 76 percent of the women studied were categorized as overweight and 41 percent obese, but there was no difference in the presence or severity of heart disease, based on angiograms. "The tendency to focus only on weight as a risk factor fails to address the related but more important lack of physical fitness among overweight individuals," says senior author Dr. C. Noel Bairey Merz, director of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Preventive and Rehabilitative Cardiac Center. "Increased activity appears to be an ideal therapy for women with coronary heart disease."


Future mothers who eat more vegetables, fruit and protein before pregnancy may lower the risk of having a child who develops leukemia. "This is the first time researchers have conducted a systematic survey of a woman's diet and linked it to the risk of childhood leukemia," says Dr. Kenneth Olden, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. University of California at Berkeley researchers compared 138 women who each had a child diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia with a control group of 138 women whose children did not have cancer. The study, published in Cancer Causes and Control, finds the higher the intake of vegetables, fruit and foods in the protein group, the lower the risk of having a child with leukemia.


The level of cancer-causing particles in the air of smoke-filled bars and casinos is higher than on truck-choked highways, researchers said. The study, conducted in a casino, six bars and a pool hall in Wilmington, Del., assessed air quality in the eight hospitality venues on Friday evenings before and after a state smoking ban was implemented. "This research clearly shows that it is far worse for your health to be a bartender or casino dealer in a smoking-permitted establishment than it is to be a turnpike toll collector," says study author James L. Repace of Boston's Tufts University School of Medicine. The findings are published in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine.


A new way of taking pictures of the retina could give medics a powerful new tool in diagnosing and monitoring the most common eye diseases. Eighty percent of eye diseases are preventable, but screening and early detection are crucial, according to Sonny Ramachandran, of Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. The researchers found a technique that uses spectral imaging, a non-invasive and safe method of taking pictures of the retina, to study the blood vessels of the eye to detect disease progression. Ramachandran presented the finding to the Institute of Physics conference Photon '04 in Glasgow, Scotland.


(EDITORS: For more information on HEART DISEASE, contact Sandra Van at (800) 880-2397 or For LEUKEMIA, contact John Peterson at (919) 541-7860 or For EYES, David Reid at

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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