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Jun 15, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- LISTERINE MAY BE AS GOOD AS FLOSSING

Dentists are always urging patients to floss their teeth to remove gum disease-causing plaque not removed by brushing alone but most don't. Approximately 90 percent of dentists say most patients do not floss daily, but a study finds rinsing with Listerine Antiseptic may be as effective as flossing at reducing plaque and gingivitis between teeth. Twice daily use of Listerine Antiseptic was compared to once daily flossing of 600 people ages 18-65 with mild to moderate gingivitis over a six-month period. The study, published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, says Listerine Antiseptic reduced plaque between the teeth by 20 percent and gingivitis by 11 percent, while flossing led to 3.4 percent and 4.3 percent reductions respectively.

'BODY SURVEILLANCE' EATING DISORDERS KEY

Women with a tendency to obsessively examine their bodies and consider how they appear to others are more likely to have eating disorders. An Ohio State University study, published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, finds that "body surveillance" was the strongest factor predicting which women were most likely to report symptoms of eating disorders. "About 3 percent to 8 percent of women have some type of eating disorder, but many women -- maybe most women -- are dissatisfied with their bodies," says study author Tracy Tylka. "This study shows there are factors such as constant body monitoring that strengthen the relationship between body dissatisfaction and eating disorders and may help identify women at risk."

INTERVENE AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE IN AUTISM

Many fear autistic children will never speak, but University of Michigan findings suggest just 14 percent of autistic children cannot talk by age 9. About 40 percent can speak fluently, but early intervention leads to better treatment, according to Catherine Lord, director of the University of Michigan's Autism and Communication Disorders Center. The center has been conducting a longitudinal study of children with autistic spectrum disorders. The program follows the children from age 2 into their teens. The best way to deal with autism is to intervene as early as possible to treat the condition, Lord says. "One third make incredible progress, with almost all children making real gains, even if they continue to have significant difficulties," she said.

ORANGE CAULIFLOWER MORE VITAMIN A

Cornell University plant breeder Michael Dickson has transformed the plain white cauliflower to an orange variety. "White cauliflower lacks the dark green pigments that give broccoli the nutritional advantage that health-conscious people are interested in," says Dickson of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. The vitamin content of orange cauliflower is higher because it contains 320 micrograms of beta-carotene per 100 grams, or approximately 25 times more vitamin A than white cauliflower, reports the Web site SeedQuest. The orange cauliflower, first found in a marsh in Canada in 1970, was a mutant but smaller and less tasty than its white cousin. Using conventional breeding techniques, Dickson crossbred the orange cauliflower and selected successive generations until he had a larger, more market friendly variety.

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(EDITORS: For more information on FLOSSING, contact Meghan Marschall at (973) 385-6120, or meghan.marschall@pfizer.com. For SURVEILLANCE, Tracy Tylka at (740) 389-6786, Tylka.2@osu.edu. For AUTISM, Joe Serwach at (734) 647-1844, or jserwach@umich.edu.)

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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