ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
CANCER
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
HPV Vaccine Has Higher Allergic Reaction Rate
CAREGIVING
Transition From Home to Hospital Rarely Seamless
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
DIABETES
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Heavy Traffic Can Be Heartbreaking
Vest Monitors 'Individual' Air Pollution
Small Doses of Carbon Monoxide Might Help Stroke Victims
EYE CARE, VISION
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
FITNESS
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Run for Your Life
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Olde Time Medicine Therapy May Prevent Alcoholic Relapse
U.S. Prepares for Possible Return of Swine Flu in Fall
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
The Unmedicated Mind
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
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Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay

Women who are overweight or obese appear to have an increased risk of developing the chronic pain syndrome known as fibromyalgia, a new study suggests.

If they are also sedentary, the risk is even greater, said lead researcher Paul Mork, of Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway.

The study is published in the May issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

Fibromyalgia is marked by widespread pain lasting more than three months. The pain strikes so-called "tender points" in the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms and legs.

The condition is also marked by fatigue without apparent cause, mood disturbances, sleep problems and headaches. More women than men have it, and experts don't thoroughly understand its cause.

The condition may be due to dysfunction in the nervous system and other problems, and it is thought to be affected by genetic susceptibility.

In the new study, Mork and his colleagues turned to a data base of nearly 16,000 women in Norway who had responded to health surveys. Among the participants were 380 who developed fibromyalgia during the 11-year follow-up.

Mork's team compared the data from patients with the healthy respondents, including body-mass index (BMI) and exercise habits.

Exercise and a healthy body weight were found to be protective.

"According to previous findings reported in the literature, we expected that regular leisure-time physical exercise would have a protective effect on future development of fibromyalgia [FM]," Mork said. "However, we only found a weak association between development of FM and exercise. However, it should be noted that we were not able to differ between different types of exercise, and it might be possible that some exercise types are more beneficial than others in protecting against future development of FM," he added.

"Women who reported exercising four times per week [or more] had a 29 percent lower risk of fibromyalgia compared with inactive women," Mork said in a news release about the study.

Those who exercised two to three times a week were about 11 percent less likely to get fibromyalgia.

Being overweight -- with a BMI of 25 or higher -- was a strong independent risk factor, with the heavier women having a 60 percent to 70 percent higher risk of developing the condition compared to the healthy weight women.

The overweight women who exercised an hour or more a week, however, were less likely to get the condition than were overweight women who were inactive.

Mork's advice: Regular exercise, which can help maintain weight, may serve as a "buffer" against the symptoms that eventually lead to fibromyalgia.

The results are entirely plausible, said Dr. Patrick Wood, senior medical adviser for the National Fibromyalgia Association, who cares for many fibromyalgia patients.

But with the condition, there are often the chicken-egg questions, he added, such as whether the pain leads to the inactivity or weight gain or vice versa. "It's difficult with any level of assurance to know what's driving what," Wood said. There could be underlying factors driving both excess weight and pain sensitivity, he noted.

The inflammation that is associated with obesity may heighten pain sensitivity, Wood added.

More study is needed, Wood said. Until more is known, however, he would advise people who want to avoid the condition to maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly. That's especially wise for those with a family history of fibromyalgia, he stressed, because he has found that it does tend to run in families.

For those already diagnosed with the condition, Wood said, "some data show if you exercise and keep your weight down you may have less pain."

SOURCES: Patrick Wood, M.D., senior medical advisor, National Fibromyalgia Association, and family medicine physician, Renton, Wash.; Paul Mork, D.Phil., Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway; May 2010, Arthritis Care & Research Published on: April 29, 2010