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Feb 18, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- MORE COMMUNICATION HELPS EASE FEARS

A survey of dentists finds one of the best ways to cope with anxieties and fears associated with dental work is to talk about them with your dentist. In the poll of more than 600 dentists, done by the Chicago Dental Society, many also recommended taking medication to help you relax, such as nitrous oxide or anti-anxiety medicine. Other tips included establishing a stop signal with your dentist so you remain in control during procedures, as well as meeting with the staff before making the first appointment.

DIETS CHANGE, SALT INTAKE STAYS SAME

People with high blood pressure could benefit from reducing salt intake, according to an Institute of Food Technologists researcher in Chicago. "Moderating sodium intake as part of a healthy diet regimen is sound advice, which may reduce the risk of elevated blood pressure," said Roger Clemens, a nutritional biochemistry expert with the IFT. Diet choices have changed considerably in recent decades but the rate of salt intake by U.S. consumers has stayed relatively flat over the past 25 years. Clemens reminds people that sodium can be added to food for reasons beyond taste, such as fermentation, texture or leavening.

FDA SHUTS DOWN FAKE CONTRACEPTIVE SITES

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has shut down three foreign Web sites that allegedly sold counterfeit contraceptive patches. The agency said usarxstore.com, europeanrxpharmacy.com, and generic.com were found to be selling counterfeit Ortho Evra patches that could be unsafe or ineffective. Another site, rxpharmacy.ws, was shut down earlier. The bogus patches, which lacked a key active ingredient, were received in Ziploc bags without identifying materials, lot numbers, or expiration dating. Photos of the patches can be found at fda.gov/bbs/topics/news/photos/contraceptive/counterfeit.html.

SHORT WALKS MAY CLEAR HEADS

Simple exercise can improve the focus and decision-making abilities of older adults, University of Illinois researchers report. Magnetic resonance imaging was used to measure brain activity in adults ages 58-78 over the six-month study. Those who increased their aerobic workout to three 45-minute walks per week found it easier to ignore distractions and make decisions. They also showed noticeable improvement in their middle-frontal and superior parietal regions of the brain, associated with decision-making and spatial attention, respectively. Those who stuck with only stretching and toning regimens did not improve significantly, the researchers noted.

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(EDITORS: For more information about DENTISTS, contact Erica Ringewald or Nora Ferrell at (312) 408-2580. For SODIUM, James Klapthor at (312) 782-8424, ext. 231, or jnklapthor@ift.org. For CONTRACEPTIVE, (301) 827-6242. For WALKS, Jim Barlow at (217) 333-5802 or jebarlow@uiuc.edu)

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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