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Posted - Sep. 4, 2003 at 10:20 a.m.



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Sep 04, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- DRINKING HABITS LINKED TO BELLY FAT, HEART DISEASE

The way you drink alcohol can influence your risk of heart disease. University of Buffalo researchers found when men and women drink heavily -- even if infrequently -- it increases their accumulation of abdominal fat, a body characteristic shown to be an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. The men and women in the study who engaged in binge drinking grew more abdominal fat than people who consumed the same amount over time but drank more moderately each session. Wine drinkers showed the lowest abdominal fat accumulation, while liquor drinkers had the highest. Contrary to popular wisdom, beer did not accelerate belly fat accumulation. Also, study subjects who had consumed alcohol within the past 30 days had lower abdominal fat than both men and women abstainers. "The primary message is that binge drinking is an unhealthy way of consuming alcohol," said Joan Dorn, the lead author of the study. "These results do not suggest that persons with abdominal fat should start drinking," she added.

SURVEY FINDS NEW FATHERS OBSESS, TOO

If you are a new father suffering from obsessive worries over your baby's well-being or thoughts of harming your baby, you are not alone. New fathers as well as new mothers can have distressing thoughts -- called obsessional, because they are not acted on -- according to a new Mayo Clinic study. "Everyone occasionally has thoughts that are contradictory to their moral or ethical beliefs," researchers said. In a survey, 300 child-bearing women and their partners were asked to report thoughts such as: "My baby is going to die from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)" or "What if I drown my baby while bathing her?" Of those who responded, 69 percent of mothers and 58 percent of fathers reported having these types of thoughts. The finding counters previous thinking that such responses are an exclusively female problem brought on by hormonal fluctuations after childbirth.

SEIZURE PRONE? TELL YOUR DENTIST

About 3 percent of Americans will suffer an epileptic seizure at some point during their lives. A recent article in General Dentistry cautions people who already know they suffer from epilepsy to tell their dentist about their condition. Dentists not only should be prepared for a seizure that might occur during a tooth cleaning, but they also should be alerted to any anti-seizure medications that could conflict with anesthetics and other medications associated with more complicated dental procedures. "It's extremely important for patients to give their dentist a thorough history of their seizures and lists of medications, as well as their medication levels and blood test results, if necessary," said Dr. Eric T. Stoopler, the article's author. He added that drugs commonly used in dentistry could induce seizure activity in epileptics.

PHONE SUPPORT HELPS SENIORS WITH HIV/AIDS

A new study finds counseling via telephone can help older Americans suffering from depression related to serious illness. More than 90,000 people in the United States are over the age of 50 at the time they are diagnosed with AIDS and at least 25 percent of them suffer from depression. Researchers at Ohio University found those involved in a 12-session phone support program reported greater reductions in stress and suicidal thoughts and an increase in coping skills compared to a control group. Because older people suffering from HIV/AIDS may not be able to get out easily, the phone support offers a good alternative to on-site support groups. "Many of our participants noted that they don't have to dress up, drive in and try to present a good image when everything is not well," researchers said. "The telephone is financially and psychologically easier."

(Editors: For more information on ABDOMINAL FAT, contact Lois Baker at 716-645-5000, ext. 1417 or ljbaker@buffalo.edu. For OBSESSIVE FATHERS, Shelly Plutowski at 507-284-5005 or newsbureau@mayo.edu. For DENTIST, Susan Urbanczyk at 312-440-4308 or susanu@agd.org. For AIDS SUPPORT, Andrea Gibson at 740-597-2166 or gibsona@ohio.edu)

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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