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ANIMAL CARE
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CANCER
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Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors
CAREGIVING
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Many Hospital Patients Can't ID Their Doctors
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
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Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
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COSMETIC
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Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
DIABETES
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
10 Beginner Tips for Fast Weight Loss, the Low-Carb Way!
Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful
Six Healthy-Sounding Foods That Really Aren't
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Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
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Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Database Helps Assess Your Breast Cancer Risk
Ozone-Depleting Inhalers Being Phased Out
EYE CARE, VISION
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
Nearly 18 Million Will Have Macular Degeneration by 2050
FITNESS
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Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
After Job Loss, People Report More Health Issues
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
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HEARING
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HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
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INFECTIOUS DISEASE
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Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
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KID'S HEALTH
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
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MEN'S HEALTH
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MENTAL HEALTH
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Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
PAIN
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PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
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Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
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Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
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Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
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Eat Light - Live Longer

THURSDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) -- A new study that found that a lower-calorie diet slowed the aging process in monkeys could be the best proof yet that restricted diets might do the same for humans.

"The big question in aging research is, 'Will caloric restriction in species closely related to humans slow aging?'" said Richard Weindruch, senior author of a paper appearing in the July 10 issue of Science. "This is the first clear demonstration that, in a primate species, we're inducing a slowdown of the aging process -- showing increased survival, resistance to disease, less brain atrophy and less muscle loss.

"This predicts humans would respond similarly," added Weindruch, professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an investigator at the Veterans Hospital in Madison.

Another expert noted that, despite some highly publicized studies in certain species, the link between restricted eating and longer lifespan has been far from proven.

"The idea that dietary restriction extends lifespan in all species is not true. Many strains of rats and mice do not respond. In some strains, it's actually deleterious," explained Felipe Sierra, director of the biology of aging program at the U.S. National Institute on Aging (NIA), which supported the new study. "The fact that it didn't work in some mice but it does seem to work in monkeys is surprising and it gives us hope."

But there's a larger question: how to change humans' increasingly lax eating habits. "This [finding] doesn't give me hope that humans are going to go into dietary restriction," Sierra said.

Another expert agreed. "I think this is wonderful and it has promising benefits but the problem is not that we don't know this stuff, the problem is doing it, is getting people to eat less," added Marianne Grant, a registered dietitian at Texas A&M Health Science Center Coastal Bend Health Education Center in Corpus Christi.

As Sierra sees it, the ultimate value of this and other research like it will be to unveil the physiological mechanisms behind a slowdown in the aging process, and then come up with ways to mimic those processes with drugs or other interventions.

Previous research had shown that calorie restriction can increase survival and stave off many diseases in yeast, worms, flies and, as Sierra pointed out, in some strains of mice.

The new, two-decade-long study ultimately involved 76 rhesus monkeys, all of whom started the study as adults (aged 7 to 14 years). Thirty-three monkeys are still alive, 13 of whom are allowed to eat as they like. The other 20 are allowed a diet with 30 percent fewer calories.

Eighty percent of the original monkeys eating fewer calories are still alive, versus half of those in the control group, the researchers reported.

Among the benefits enjoyed by the lower-calorie group: fewer cancers, less cardiovascular disease, better preserved brain health (especially in regions of the brain involved in motor control and memory) and no diabetes whatsoever, despite this being a common problem in monkeys.

Weindruch said his group is continuing to study the monkeys, a process that could go on for 15 years. Meanwhile, they are collecting a new group of monkeys to more closely study mechanistic processes.

The NIA currently supports a study looking into calorie restriction in humans although, Sierra pointed out, such a study is difficult to conduct.

"Studies in humans can be done but they're not going to address longevity and it's a self-selected group," he said. "Monkeys are the closest we can get."

The findings come a day after U.S. researchers reported in Nature that rapamycin, a drug typically given to transplant patients, significantly extended the lifespans of mice.

SOURCES: Richard Weindruch, Ph.D., professor, medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison and investigator, Veterans Hospital, Madison, Wis.; Felipe Sierra, Ph.D., director, biology of aging program, U.S. National Institute on Aging; Marianne Grant, registered dietitian, Texas A&M Health Science Center Coastal Bend Health Education Center, Corpus Christi, Texas; July 10, 2009 Science