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Posted - Aug. 26, 2004 at 8:40 a.m.



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Aug 26, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- BLUEBERRIES MAY CUT CHOLESTEROL

A compound in blueberries may lower cholesterol as well as a prescription drug and with fewer side effects, a U.S. researcher says. Study leader Agnes M. Rimando, a chemist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, says the compound, pterostilbene, an antioxidant similar to resveratrol found in grapes and red wine, has the potential to lower cholesterol, particularly for those who don't respond well to conventional drugs. The same compound has been found to fight cancer and may have anti-diabetic properties as well. However, Rimando, who presented the finding to the national meeting of the American Chemical Society, cautions that until studies are conducted in humans, no one knows how many blueberries a person needs to eat to have a positive effect at lowering cholesterol.

MAMMOGRAPHY, LOW RISK OF FALSE POSITIVE

Only one in five women who have mammograms every two years will need to have a follow up evaluation for a false positive, a Norwegian study finds. The 20-year study finds only one in 16 will have an unnecessary invasive procedure over two decades, according to a Solveig Hofvind, of the Cancer Registry of Norway, who reviewed data of 83,416 women from the Norwegian Breast Cancer Screening program. Regular screening mammography has a proven benefit to saving lives, but false positives and the resulting follow-up evaluation create significant psychosocial distress, says Hofvind. The researchers say the study should reassure physicians and patients the risks of breast cancer screening are minimal given the benefit of early cancer detection. The study is published in the online edition of Cancer.

EXERCISE BOOSTS IMMUNITY IN OLD MEN

U.S. men over age 70 can have an immune response similar to that produced by much younger men -- if they get regular moderate physical activity. The findings are published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder find immune response in participants ages 60 to 79 offsets the immune system's progressive decrease in function from aging with at least six hours of physical activity a week. The researchers said, "Maintaining a physically active lifestyle improves health throughout the life span, but especially during times of immunocompromise, such as advancing age." Although most of the regular exercisers were runners, the researchers say the type of exercise didn't seem to matter.

PHYSICAL EVIDENCE FOR CHRONIC FATIGUE

A University of Alberta study has verified there is physical evidence for those who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. "There are a number of medical professionals who don't believe that CFS exists in the first place," writes study leader Hannah Pazderka-Robinson, in the International Journal of Psychophysiology. "Both CFS and depression are characterized by very similar profiles and some CFS patients are often given antidepressants -- that don't work or work poorly, since they do not address the underlying condition." The researchers found a clear biological basis to the condition using electrodermal activity -- electrodes were placed on each hand -- to investigate the differences among CFS, depression patients and healthy controls.

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(EDITORS: For more information on BLUEBERRIES, contact Michael Bernstein at (215) 418-5305 or m_bernstein@acs.org. For MAMMOGRAPHY, David Greenberg at (201) 748-6484 or dgreenbe@wiley.com. For IMMUNITY, Mayer Resnick at (301) 634-7209 or mresnick@the-aps.org. For CHRONIC FATIGUE, Phoebe Dey at (780) 492-0437 or phoebe.dey@ualberta.ca)

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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