ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
New Clues to How Fish Oils Help Arthritis Patients
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
Returning to the Road Tricky After Injury
CANCER
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
CAREGIVING
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
DIET, NUTRITION
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
Go Healthy, Not Hungry for Holiday Eating
DASH Diet Has Extra Benefits for Women's Health
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
City Kids Find the Breathin' Is Easier Elsewhere
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
EYE CARE, VISION
Americans Losing Sight of Eye Health
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
FITNESS
Go To Work But Skip The Car
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
As Temperature Plummets, It's Still Safe to Exercise
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Internet Program Helps Problem Drinkers
Eating Lots Of Vegetables, Olive Oil May Extend Life
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
Don't Leave Your Kids In The Car !
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
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Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp

TUESDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- Eat right, exercise and hope that your genes don't predispose you to dementia.

That's the recipe for preserving cognitive function as you age, according to four new studies that were presented this week at the Alzheimer's Association annual meeting, in Vienna.

The findings echo other research suggesting that clean living can safeguard mental sharpness. However, one of the studies did contain a surprise finding -- that strenuous exercise actually impaired cognitive skills later in life.

That should be viewed, for now, with some skepticism, said William Thies, chief medical and scientific officer of the Alzheimer's Association.

"That's something I wouldn't take on faith from a single study," he stressed.

But the heart-healthy diet advice seemed sound, he said, and confirms other research. In that study, Heidi Wengreen, an assistant professor of nutrition at Utah State University, asked 3,831 adults, aged 65 and older, to complete a food survey. They then tested their cognitive skills over an 11-year period, beginning in 1995.

The researchers looked to see how well the participants followed the DASH diet, an eating regimen that protects against hypertension and heart trouble. Those who followed the DASH diet more closely had higher scores on the cognitive tests at the start of the study and over time, Wengreen found.

Although Wengreen said more study was needed, "I believe there is plenty of evidence to suggest that diet plays a role in delaying cognitive decline and perhaps preventing Alzheimer's disease among the elderly."

Two exercise studies found staying active can also help.

In one study, Deborah E. Barnes, of the University of California, San Francisco, followed more than 3,000 adults aged 70 to 79. Those who were sedentary had the lowest level of cognitive function at the start and higher rates of decline over the course of the seven-year study.

A third study found moderate long-term exercise helped cognitive skills later, but that strenuous long-term exercise might hamper them.

Mary Tierney, a professor of family and community medicine at the University of Toronto, evaluated 90 women, aged 50 to 63, taking into account their long-term activity, both moderate and strenuous. Each woman got a score for strenuous and moderate activity.

Strenuous activities included swimming laps, aerobics, calisthenics, jogging, running, basketball, biking on hills and racquetball. Moderate included brisk walking, golf, volleyball, cycling on level streets, tennis and softball.

"The average long-term strenuous activity was for 2.5 hours a week, and the average long-term moderate activity was 3.2 hours a week," Tierney said.

"The worst groups [on cognitive function tests] were the ones highest in strenuous and lowest in moderate," she said.

Exactly why the link showed up isn't known, she said. But it may be that the strenuous exercise is lowering estrogen levels and lowered estrogen lowers cognitive skills. "Estrogen is bad for breast cancer, but good for the brain," Tierney explained.

It's impossible to say how much exercise is too much, Tierney added.

Yet another study in which researchers followed nearly 1,800 men and women aged 60 and older found that physical activity boosts cognitive function, except in those who carried the so-called Alzheimer's gene, known as APOE-e4.

Thies said the study on the DASH diet may be especially valuable because the diet gives detailed information about what to eat and the plan is widely available.

The link found between strenuous exercise and lowered cognitive skills may be explained by something else in future research, he said. "You could propose that people who exercise perhaps are a little more tired when they take the test," Thies noted.

"I think the general recommendation that exercise is good [for cognitive skills] is still valid," he said.

SOURCES: William Thies, Ph.D., chief medical and scientific officer, Alzheimer's Association, Chicago; Mary Tierney, Ph.D., professor, family and community medicine, University of Toronto; Heidi Wengreen, R.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, nutrition, Utah State University, Logan; July 13-14, 2009, presentations, Alzheimer's Association annual meeting, Vienna