Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Non-smokers live longer and better

Health and Fitness
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Wednesday October 15, 2008

Non-smokers live longer and better

HELSINKI, Finland (UPI) -- Smoking can shorten men's lives from seven and 10 years, but it also results in lower quality of life and and lower income, Finnish researchers said.

Dr. Arto Y. Strandberg of the University of Helsinki and colleagues tracked 1,658 white men born from 1919 to 1934 who were healthy at their first assessment, conducted in 1974. Participants were mailed follow-up questionnaires in 2000 that assessed their current smoking status, health and quality of life.

During the 26-year follow-up period, 22.4 percent of the men died. Those who had never smoked lived an average of 10 years longer than heavy smokers -- more than 20 cigarettes per day.

The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found non-smokers also had the best scores on all health-related quality of life measures, especially for physical functioning. Physical health deteriorated at an increasing rate as the number of cigarettes smoked per day increased, with heavy smokers experiencing a decline equivalent to 10 years of aging, the study said.

"In spite of the 69 percent cessation rate during follow-up, 44 percent of the originally heavy smokers had died, and those who survived to the mean age of 73 years had a significantly lower physical health-related quality of life than never-smokers," the researchers said in a statement.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International
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Why some fatty foods curb hunger

IRVINE, Calif. (UPI) -- Food rich in unsaturated fats -- like avocados, nuts and olive oil -- send an important message to the brain: Stop eating, you're full, U.S. researchers say.

University of California Irvine pharmacologists say these fats trigger production of a compound in the small intestine that curbs hunger pangs.

Daniele Piomelli and colleagues say the discovery points toward new approaches to treating obesity and other eating disorders.

The researches studied how a fat-derived compound -- oleoylethanolamide -- regulates hunger and body weight.

The study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, finds an unsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid stimulates production of oleoylethanolamide, which in turn decreases appetite.

Oleic acid is transformed into oleoylethanolamide by cells in the upper region of the small intestine. Oleoylethanolamide then finds its way to nerve endings that carry the hunger-curbing message to the brain, Piomelli says. There, it activates a brain circuit that increases feelings of fullness.

In previous studies, Piomelli found that increasing oleoylethanolamide levels can reduce appetite, produce weight loss and lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International
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Eating green helps planet and waistlines

DALLAS (UPI) -- For those wanting to reduce their carbon footprint, eating green may be as important as driving green, not to mention the health benefit, U.S. researchers say.

Nutrition experts at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas say eating green can benefit the waistline as well as the environment. To eat green, the experts recommend:

-- Buy local and seasonal. Farmers markets remain the best bet, but many grocery stores have started offering a greater selection of locally grown foods. While, there is no scientific proof that eating local foods is better for you, the food is generally fresher and more nutrient-dense -- and tastier.

-- Limit reliance on processed and packaged foods. Fresh foods have fewer fats and refined flours than many pre-packaged foods.

-- Doggy bag leftovers. Only buy and prepare what you intend to eat. If you go out or make too much at home, repurpose the leftovers for another meal later in the week such as pizzas, salads, soups, tacos or pasta dishes.

-- You don't have to become a vegetarian, but occasionally replacing beef with chicken or eggs can help reduce your carbon footprint and reduce fat intake.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International
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Pediatricians up vitamin D recommendations

BOSTON (UPI) -- Officials at the American Academy of Pediatrics Monday doubled the recommended amount of vitamin D for U.S. infants, children and adolescents.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all children receive 400 International Units a day of vitamin D, beginning in the first few days of life. The previous recommendation, issued in 2003, called for 200 IU per day beginning in the first two months of life.

"We are doubling the recommended amount of vitamin D children need each day because evidence has shown this could have life-long health benefits," report co-author Dr. Frank Greer said in a statement.

Breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for infants. However, because of vitamin D deficiencies in the maternal diet, it is important that breastfed infants receive supplements of vitamin D, the study authors said.

All non-breastfed infants, as well as older children, who are consuming less than one quart per day of vitamin D-fortified formula or milk, should receive a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU a day, the report said. Adolescents who do not obtain 400 IU of vitamin D per day through foods should receive a supplement containing that amount, the researchers added.

The finding is scheduled to be published in the November issue of the journal Pediatrics

Copyright 2008 by United Press International
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1 in 7 men have genetic risk of balding

MONTREAL (UPI) -- Researchers at McGill University in Montreal, King's College London and the British drug firm GlaxoSmithKline Inc. say 1 in 7 men have genetic risk of balding.

The researchers identified two genetic variants in Caucasians that together produce a sevenfold increase in the risk of male pattern baldness.

Dr. Vincent Mooser of GlaxoSmithKline, Dr. Brent Richards of McGill University and the affiliated Jewish General Hospital and Dr. Tim Spector of King's College London, along with colleagues in Iceland, Switzerland and the Netherlands, conducted a genome-wide association study of 1,125 Caucasian men who had been assessed for male pattern baldness.

Male pattern baldness, the most common form of baldness, results in hair lost in a well-defined pattern beginning above both temples.

The researchers found two previously unknown genetic variants on chromosome 20 that substantially increased the risk of male pattern baldness.

Although researchers consider their discovery to be a scientific breakthrough, they caution that it does not mean a treatment or cure for male pattern baldness is imminent.

"But the first step in finding a way to treat most conditions it is to first identify the cause," Richards said.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Genetics.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International
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