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Eating broiled, baked fish aids the heart

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BOSTON, Jul 19, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- U.S. researchers said Monday that eating broiled or baked fish appears to lower irregular heartbeat among the elderly.

Researchers at Harvard University Medical School and at Brigham and Women's Hospital said the study is the first to examine whether fish intake affects atrial fibrillation. It also is the first to focus on the kind of fish meals eaten.

AF affects more than 2 million Americans and is a chronic condition that causes disability through fatigue, shortness of breath and reduced exercise tolerance. It occurs when the heart's two upper chambers quiver instead of beat effectively. Blood is not pumped completely out of the chambers, so it may pool and clot.

The researchers found that higher consumption of tuna fish -- either fresh or canned -- or other fish that was broiled or baked was associated with lower incidence of AF. People who reported eating those fish one to four times per week had a 28 percent lower risk of AF, while those who had five or more servings had a 31 percent lower risk compared to those who ate fish less than once a month.

In contrast, researchers found that eating fried fish or fish sandwiches was not associated with lower risk of AF.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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