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Nov 13, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- WOMEN CHOOSE SNOOZING OVER SEX

Decreased sex drives in older women may be linked to a lack of sleep, researchers say. Sleep-deprived as a result of menopause, nearly one-half of women over 45 given a choice would choose slumber over sex, a national survey by the independent firm IMR MarketEffect finds. Among those who participated, 87 percent in this age group have trouble sleeping -- to the point where lack of sleep becomes more aggravating than other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and weight gain. The women reported sleep debt affects their energy levels, concentration and motivation, and as a result, 47 percent said they would rather get more sleep than have sex, while 29 percent could not make the choice. Researchers emphasized basic treatment options are available to women, such as nutritional supplements, to help relieve menopausal symptoms, and melatonin to facilitate sleep, but less than 25 percent of the women surveyed had tried either supplements or melatonin.


Age-related macular degeneration could be avoided simply by taking appropriate daily vitamin supplements, Johns Hopkins researchers find. It is estimated 8 million people in the United States age 55 or older are at high risk for advanced forms of AMD, a disorder that destroys central vision and is the leading cause of blindness in developed countries. Taking supplements of antioxidants and zinc over the next five years, however, could help 300,000 of these individuals avoid AMD-associated vision loss. A study of almost 5,000 adults finds a dietary supplement of 500 milligrams of vitamin C, 400 mg of vitamin E, 15 mg of beta carotene, 80 mg of zinc as zinc oxide, and 2 mg of copper as cupric oxide lowered the risk of progressing to advanced disease by about 25 percent. "The challenge lies in identifying individuals at risk, since many with the intermediate stage of AMD do not have symptoms," said lead author Neil M. Bressler.


Still experimental heart valves, engineered from a patient's tissue, soon could be a top option for those needing valve replacement surgery. Other options include drug therapy, and donor and mechanical valve replacements. A review of the first 23 people to receive human tissue valve transplants finds after three years of follow-up the valve's performance continues to be "excellent," says Dr. Pascal M. Dohmen of the Charite Hospital in Berlin. Patients also were discharged from the hospital relatively early and in fairly good shape. "Using this tissue-engineered valve overcomes many of the problems with mechanical or donor valves because it is a living structure from the patient's own tissue, and so it does not cause an immunological reaction," Dohmen said. In the new procedure, doctors made new pulmonary valves by growing endothelial cells on a donor valve scaffold in the lab. In surgery, they replaced the failing aortic valve with the patient's own pulmonary valve, and replaced the pulmonary valve with the engineered pulmonary valve.


The flu season is closing in and while getting a flu shot is a good preventive -- so is getting some exercise. Moderate exercise has been found to increase immune function and decrease the risk of infection. Researchers at the University of South Carolina find moderate exercise or training can decrease susceptibility to respiratory infection in mice.


(Editors: For MENOPAUSE contact Sue Preziotti at (646) 495-3139 or For VISION contact Karen Blum at (410) 955-1534 or For HEART contact Carole Bullock at (214) 706-1279 or For FLU contact Donna Krupa at (703) 527-7357 or

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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