ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
Genes May Help Drive Rotator Cuff Injury
Bone Density Predicts Chances of Breast Cancer
CANCER
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
CAREGIVING
High Rate of Rehospitalizations Costing Billions
Newborn Screenings Now Required Across U.S.
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome as Deadly as Ever
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
DIET, NUTRITION
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pilots May Face Greater Cancer Risk
As Earth Warms, Lyme Disease Could Flourish
Air Pollution Raises Risk of Heart Disease, Death
EYE CARE, VISION
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
FITNESS
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Vitamin D and Bone Health: Are You Getting Enough of This Important Vitamin?
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
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
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
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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