ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
Acupuncture May Not Help Hot Flashes
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
A Winning Strategy to Beat Spring Sporting Injuries
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
CANCER
Study Cites Gains in Gall Bladder Cancer Treatment
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
Smoking Exposure Now Linked to Colon, Breast Cancers
CAREGIVING
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Caregivers Face Multiple Strains Tending Older Parents
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
DIABETES
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Antioxidants Abound in Cereals, Popcorn, Whole-Grain Snacks
Imagine Food Aromas That Prevent Overeating
Oregano Shown to be the Most Powerful Culinary Herb
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
EYE CARE, VISION
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Antioxidant-Rich Diet May Protect Against Eye Disease
FITNESS
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
What you need to know about swine flu.
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
Cherry-Enriched Diet Cut Heart Risks in Rats
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
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
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
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For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age

THURSDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Women who consume moderate amounts of alcohol in middle age are somewhat more likely than teetotalers to be in good physical and mental health in old age, new research finds.

The study doesn't prove that moderate drinking will lead to better health compared to not drinking, since it's possible that other factors could account for the difference. Also, the research doesn't examine the long-term cost of drinking, say, wine instead of milk with dinner.

And study author Dr. Qi Sun doesn't recommend that middle-aged women start drinking if they don't already. Still, "if you are an otherwise healthy person, and you're a long-term light-to-moderate drinker, this may have some benefits," said Sun, an instructor in medicine at Harvard School of Public Health.

Scientists have found evidence that moderate drinking can benefit health, particularly in terms of heart disease, stroke and brain function, Sun said. It's not clear exactly how alcohol benefits health, but Sun said it may have something to do with how alcohol reduces inflammation in the body.

In the new study, published in the September issue of PLoS Medicine , Sun and colleagues examined the medical records of 13,894 nurses who were middle-aged in the 1980s (median age was 58) and lived to be at least 70. The health of the women was updated through the decades, and the study excluded heavy drinkers or those with possible alcohol problems.

The researchers then focused on 1,491 women (11 percent) who had aged successfully, meaning they didn't suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes or report physical or mental limitations in old age. They compared them to the other women and tried to determine whether those who drank in midlife -- they tended to drink wine -- did any better health-wise.

Of those who had no major health problems in old age, only 22 percent were non-drinkers. Sixty-two percent drank about one drink a day (15 grams of alcohol); nearly 10 percent drank one to two drinks daily, and 3 percent downed two to three drinks a day.

After adjusting their statistics so they wouldn't be thrown off by factors such as the women's ages and whether they smoked, the researchers found that the healthiest women in old age were more likely to have been drinkers in midlife. Sun estimated that the moderate drinkers were about 20 percent more likely to be healthy later in life.

And routinely drinking light to moderate amounts of alcohol appeared to have more benefit than drinking only occasionally, the researchers said.

As for men, the study authors write that there's sparse research into the effect of midlife drinking on their health later in life.

David Melzer, a professor of epidemiology and public health at Peninsula Medical School in the United Kingdom, said people should be cautious about drinking too much. According to him, more than two drinks a day for women or three for men is bad for a person's health. And people should remember that those are "old-fashioned" sized drinks, not "supersized," he said.

He adds that the study limits itself to women who were in good shape in middle age. "The small possible benefit of alcohol may be outweighed in people with disease," he said, "and especially in those on many sorts of medication that can interact with alcohol."

More information

For more on alcohol use, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Qi Sun, M.D., ScD, instructor in medicine, Harvard School of Public Health, and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; David Melzer, Ph.D., professor, epidemiology and public health, Peninsula Medical School, Exeter, England; September 2011 PLoS Medicine