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Posted - Jul. 21, 2004 at 7:20 a.m.



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Jul 21, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- HIGH 'GOOD' CHOLESTEROL HELPS BRAIN

Higher levels of high density lipoprotein in middle age may help preserve brain function in later years, a Boston study says. Researchers at Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston told the 9th International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders in Philadelphia a consistent increase in cognitive health parallels higher levels of HDL or good cholesterol. "These results suggest the possibility that lifestyle modifications to increase HDL levels -- increased physical activity, moderate alcohol intake, and high intake of mono-unsaturated fatty acids -- could have a substantial public health impact beyond heart disease," says study author Elizabeth Devore.

THOSE WITH HEART DISEASE CAN TRAVEL

Millions of U.S. patients with heart disease are able to travel -- something not possible 25 years ago, a Yale School of Medicine study says. Concern about air travel by cardiovascular patients exists because altitude can decrease the oxygen content in blood and impair the breakdown of blood clots. The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, recommends heart patients refrain from travel for two weeks after coronary stent placement or three weeks after coronary artery bypass surgery, because most complications tend to happen within this period in non-traveling patients. Travelers should also carry an ample supply of medication, a health history and physicians contact numbers. Those at risk for venous thrombosis, should wear below-the-knee compression stockings.

'LIGHT' CIGARETTES NOT MUCH HELP

Japanese smokers who think "light" cigarettes with less nicotine will substantially reduce their nicotine intake are mistaken. Smokers who switch to cigarette brands with 0.1 milligram nicotine from those that yield 1.1 mg might expect their nicotine intake to be reduced eleven-fold but in reality it is less than two-fold, according to a BMC Public Health study. "Smokers heavily dependent on nicotine obtain no advantage by smoking low-yield cigarettes," says Atsuko Nakazawa of Kyoto First Red Cross Hospital. The researchers also say those who smoke more than 40 cigarettes per day would hardly reduce their nicotine at all by switching to milder brands.

CONFRONTATION LINKED TO HEART DAMAGE

Daily exposure to confrontation or defeat may increase the risk for long-term cardiac problems, an Italian study finds. A study finds mice adapted to adverse social conditions but, despite this coping capacity, the study found evidence that chronic psychosocial stress induced permanent cardiac structural changes. The University of Parma researchers say people who supervise individuals in a constant stress environment should consider the findings of this study -- the body may seem to adapt but long-term damage to the heart already could be occurring. The findings appear in the American Journal of Physiology.

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(EDITORS: For more information on CHOLESTEROL, contact Alzheimer's Association at (312) 335-4078 or media@alz.org. For TRAVEL, Karen N. Peart at (203) 432-1326 or karen.peart@yale.edu. For CIGARETTES, Atsuko Nakazawa at 81 75 533 1272 or aak83071@pop21.odn.ne.jp. For CONFRONTATION, Mayer Resnick at (301) 634-7209 or mresnick@the-aps.org)

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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