ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Cane Use May Cut Progression of Knee Osteoarthritis
B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
CANCER
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
Falls Are Top Cause of Injury, Death Among Elderly
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
Bariatric Surgery Centers Don't Deliver Better Outcomes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
DIABETES
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Hypertension May Hit Black Males Earlier
1976 Italian Dioxin Release Damaged Babies' Thyroids
Global Warming May Bring More Respiratory Woes
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
FITNESS
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Week of Historic Senate Hearings on Integrative Medicine May Open New Doors
Health Gains From Lowered Smoking Rates in Jeopardy
Smog Tougher on the Obese
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
When It Comes to Toys, Shop Smart, Shop Safe
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Natural Relief for Painful Menstrual Cramps
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
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Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers

t's well-known that smoking is bad for the heart and other parts of the body, and researchers now have chronicled in detail one reason why -- because continual smoking causes progressive stiffening of the arteries.

In fact, smokers' arteries stiffen with age at about double the speed of those of nonsmokers, Japanese researchers have found.

Stiffer arteries are prone to blockages that can cause heart attacks, strokes and other problems.

"We've known that arteries become more stiff in time as one ages," said Dr. William B. Borden, a preventive cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. "This shows that smoking accelerates the process. But it also adds more information in terms of the role smoking plays as a cause of cardiovascular disease."

For the study, researchers at Tokyo Medical University measured the brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity, the speed with which blood pumped from the heart reaches the nearby brachial artery, the main blood vessel of the upper arm, and the faraway ankle. Blood moves slower through stiff arteries, so a bigger time difference means stiffer blood vessels.

Looking at more than 2,000 Japanese adults, the researchers found that the annual change in that velocity was greater in smokers than nonsmokers over the five to six years of the study.

Smokers' large- and medium-sized arteries stiffened at twice the rate of nonsmokers', according to the report released online April 26 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology by the team from Tokyo and the University of Texas at Austin.

That's no big surprise, said Borden, noting there's definitely a dose-response relationship. "The more smoking, the more arterial stiffening there is per day."

The study authors measured stiffening by years, not by day, but the damaging effect of smoking was clear over the long run.

The finding gives doctors one more argument to use in their continuing effort to get smokers to quit, said Dr. David Vorchheimer, associate professor of medicine and cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

"One of the challenges that physicians face when trying to get people to stop smoking is the argument, 'Well, I've been smoking for years and nothing has happened to me yet,'" Vorchheimer said. "What this study emphasizes is that the damage is cumulative. The fact that you've gotten away with it so far doesn't mean you'll get away with it forever."

The stiffening of arteries is "one of the earliest and most subtle changes that occur" in smokers' bodies, Vorchheimer said. "Some people's arteries can be safe for a few years. The good thing about that is the possibility that the damage will heal if you give up smoking."

Another notable aspect of the study was the analysis of the effect of smoking on C-reactive protein, a molecular marker of inflammation that appears to play a role in cardiovascular disease. The study found no relationship between blood levels of C-reactive protein and arterial stiffening.

That finding adds one more piece to the puzzle of C-reactive protein and cardiovascular disease that researchers are trying to assemble, Borden said. "We're still trying to understand the role of CRP, whether it's a cause or a marker of other factors that lead to cardiovascular disease," he said.

SOURCES: William B. Borden, M.D., M.B.A., assistant professor, medicine, Nanette Laitman Clinical Scholar in Public Health, Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York City; David Vorchheimer, M.D., associate professor, medicine, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York City; April 26, 2010, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, online Published on: April 26, 2010