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Posted - Sep. 14, 2004 at 7:40 a.m.



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Sep 14, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- DRINK A DAY KEEPS NARROWED ARTERIES AWAY?

Scientists say moderate drinking can cut the rate of further narrowing after surgery to open blocked arteries. The study, published in the journal Heart, analyzed 225 men who underwent balloon angioplasty. The procedure, which is less invasive than bypass surgery, involves the insertion of a stent, or small tube, into the artery, a maneuver that at times can cause inflammation and raise the risk of further narrowing of the blood vessel. The researchers found patients who drank about six drinks a week had fewer blocked arteries, better heart function and healthier cholesterol levels than those who imbibed less. The results showed patients with diabetes were significantly more likely to require a repeat angioplasty, and so were those who drank less than alcohol a week. This is not an open invitation to drink, the authors stress. However, they say, the finding "supports that moderate consumers of alcohol with an increased-risk cardiovascular risk profile should not be advised to stop drinking."

TOO MUCH RED MEAT, ALCOHOL CAN INFLAME COLON

High consumption of red meat and alcohol may triple the risk of relapse in patients with ulcerative colitis, scientists say. The findings, published in the journal Gut, are based on a study of 183 men and women with the inflammatory bowel disease, characterized by bloody stools. Of the 52 percent of patients who relapsed during the year-long study, those who ate the most meat were three times as likely to suffer symptoms of the disease again as those who ate the least. Patient who ate high amounts of red meat had a fivefold risk of relapse. Those who drank the most alcohol -- more than two drinks a day -- were also almost three times as likely to relapse as those who drank less than one a day.

CHECK BEFORE WHITENING TEETH

Specialists advise seeing a dentist to have your teeth checked before whitening them. "People should have their teeth cleaned and examined before using any teeth bleaching product," says University of Alabama, Birmingham, prosthodontist Mike McCracken. "In some cases, darkening teeth can signal more than a cosmetic problem." Those wishing for a brighter smile may have a variety of diseases, including large cavities, periodontal disease or even some oral cancers, McCracken says. In addition, some medications can stain or darken teeth, he adds, and whitening products work best on teeth that have yellowed with age or tobacco, red wine, coffee or tea use.

HOMEWORK LESSONS FOR PARENTS

Specialists say parents should consider whether they can keep a cool head before offering to help out with their child's homework. Tonya Perry of the University of Alabama, Birmingham, says if you or your child get overly frustrated and you can't soothe him or her, back away and consider a tutor. If you do help out, know the purpose of the assignment -- ask whether the teacher will want the English paper to be returned without any errors or whether she is trying to determine the child's skill level, Perry advises. "If they are trying to determine a child's skill level, parents should resist correcting errors," Perry said. "Also, resist doing your child's projects and reports yourself. Ultimately, it's their homework."

(Editors: For more information about ALCOHOL, contact Teresa Hagan at 020-7383-6174. For MEAT, call +44-(0)-7810-523722. For TEETH, Tracy Bischoff at (205) 934-8935 or tracy@uab.edu. For HOMEWORK, Gail Short at (205) 934-8931 or gshort@uab.edu)

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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