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Oct 08, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- BREASTS BENEFIT FROM WORKING OUT

Women who work out just a few hours a week may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. A study at the University of Southern California, which included more than 1,000 women, finds those who exercise are 35 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than their inactive counterparts. The trend may be due to decreases in female hormones associated with exercise, but the causes are poorly understood. "It's critical to know which factors are important at each stage of disease because this knowledge may help you devise interventions or earlier means of detection," said senior author Leslie Bernstein. Physical activity did not reduce risk among women with a family history of breast cancer.


Some people suffering from clinical depression find conventional treatments, such as psychotherapy and drug therapy, offer no respite. Researchers in the United Kingdom say the brain activity of the 30 percent to 40 percent of people enduring persistent, debilitating depression differs significantly from that of healthy people. Among a group of 12 women, researchers found differences in emotional response to both negative and positive stimuli, and different patterns of neuronal activity in those with treatment-resistant depression. "This is a significant step in unraveling the reasons why these people may not be responding to the antidepressant drugs currently available," said Tonmoy Sharma, director of the Clinical Neuroscience Research Centre in Dartford, U.K. By better understanding the neurology of such atypical depression, the researchers hope to gain insight toward developing a new class of antidepressants.


The risks air pollution poses to asthma-prone children could be underestimated. A Children's Health Study conducted on 475 children with asthma in 12 southern California communities concluded organic carbon and nitrogen dioxide deserve greater attention as potential causes of chronic bronchitis in children with asthma. Particulate air-bound organic carbon -- largely in emissions from gasoline and diesel vehicle exhaust in Southern California -- was strongly associated with bronchitis attacks. Between 1996 through 1999, the children's symptoms followed seasonal variability in the amount of particulate matter.


A hereditary disorder resulting in liver and lung disease may go unrecognized by doctors. A report by a large group of international experts strives to establish guidelines for catching symptoms of Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency before it is too late. The characteristic symptoms include early onset of emphysema at age 45 or less; emphysema without the presence of other recognized risk factors such as smoking, occupational dust exposure; and, a family history of emphysema. Cirrhosis and carcinoma of the liver affect about 30 percent to 40 percent of those with AAT deficiency over age 50. Lung complications resulting from AAT are treatable with proper medical management.


(EDITORS: For more information on BREASTS contact Jon Weiner at (323) 442-2830 or For DEPRESSION contact Linda Berkowitz at 44-1322-286-862 or For ASTHMA contact Cathy Carlomagno at (212) 315-6442 or For AAT contact Cathy Carlomagno at (212) 315-6442 or

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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