ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Human Ancestors Put Best Foot Forward 1.5M Years Ago
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
CANCER
Get to Know the Pap Test
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
CAREGIVING
Few Hospitals Embracing Electronic Health Record Systems
Caregivers Face Multiple Strains Tending Older Parents
Older Caregivers Prone to Worse Sleep Patterns
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
DIET, NUTRITION
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
Healthy Eating While On Vacation
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
Cleaning House May Be Risky for Women With Asthma
Staying Slim Is Good for the Environment
EYE CARE, VISION
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Contact Lens Cases Often Contaminated
FITNESS
Walking Golf Course Affects Swing, Performance
Football Can Shrink Players
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Can You Talk Your Way to Happy?
Olde Time Medicine Therapy May Prevent Alcoholic Relapse
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
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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