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Sep 05, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- ACUPUNCTURE MAY PROVIDE ASTHMA RELIEF

Acupuncture may provide an option for managing symptoms of asthma, researches say. The 5,000-year-old Chinese practice was shown in an Austrian study to provide relief to patients with long-standing asthma. In the study by researchers at the University Hospital of Vienna, some 70 percent of participating patients reported an improvement in their symptoms after 10 weeks of acupuncture treatment. Asthma-related bronchospasms result from over-stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system, researchers said. Stimulation of acupuncture points can relieve physical and emotional stress because they trigger the release of endorphins in the brain, they said.


With proper nutrition and exercise, children can avoid overweight and such associated problems as diabetes and heart disease, researchers say. Pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Carol Foster, a childhood obesity expert at the University of Michigan Health System, says parents should ensure their child is gaining weight at an appropriate pace. If uncertain, they should talk to their child's doctor. He can make a comparison of the child's body-mass index, a number based on weight and height, with established charts for children of the same age and sex. For optimal health, Foster suggests some simple food strategies: Save sugary, fizzy drinks for a once-a-week treat; limit fruit juice to one small glass a day; give plenty of water and low-fat milk to your child; keep in mind there are no "unhealthy foods," just unhealthy portions. Parents also should encourage their children move more. They can burn off calories and build up bones and muscles through exercise and even such activities as walking the dog or playing in the yard, Foster said.


Researchers say nutritional therapy may help prevent migraine headaches, a painful condition suffered by some 28 million Americans. Dr. Alexander Mauskop, a neurologist at the New York Headache Clinic, has found a combination of riboflavin, magnesium and feverfew -- which in the past have been used individually -- may stave off a migraine. The therapy, MigraHealth, used to be available by prescription, but now can be purchased over-the-counter, he said. "Nutritional migraine treatments have long been popular in Europe," Mauskop said. "And now some U.S. researchers believe that deficiencies in key nutrients like magnesium and riboflavin (vitamin B2) may be associated with the onset of migraines." European studies suggest magnesium and riboflavin separately can reduce migraine frequency and severity in some patients. Scientists also have found about half of migraine sufferers have low blood levels of magnesium. This, Mauskp says, suggests a nutritional correlation.


British researchers say being one of the youngest students in the class increases a child's risk of developing mental health problems. The scientists surveyed more than 10,000 school children in England, Scotland and Wales. They looked at the children's emotions, behavior, activity level, peer relationships and social interactions. In England and Wales, the oldest children were born in September and the youngest in August. Comparison of their mental health scores showed those born in the summer months were more likely to have suffered from psychiatric disorders. In Scotland, the oldest children were born in March and the youngest in February. A similar mental health trend was seen there as well. The study shows a child's age relative to his peers, rather than the season of his birth, influences mental health, the scientists said. They say teachers should be more aware of age differences among students and adopt a more flexible approach toward the younger ones.

(Editors: For more information about ASTHMA, contact Rebecca Wilkowski at 800-729-0941. For TIPS, Andi McDonnell at 734-764-2220 or For MIGRAINE, Dasha Davis at 612-798-7262 or For RISKS, Robert Goodman +44 (0)207 848 471 or

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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