ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
The Zen Way to Pain Relief
Acupuncture May Not Help Hot Flashes
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Almost Half of Adults Will Develop Knee Osteoarthritis by 85
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
CANCER
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Vitamin D May Improve Melanoma Survival
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
CAREGIVING
Late-Life Fatherhood May Lower Child's Intelligence
Bariatric Surgery Centers Don't Deliver Better Outcomes
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
Soluble Fiber, But Not Bran, Soothes Irritable Bowel
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Short-Term Air Pollution Exposure May Damage DNA
Clear Skies Have Become Less So Over Time, Data Show
Old-Growth Forests Dying Off in U.S. West
EYE CARE, VISION
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
FITNESS
Vigorous Treadmill Workout Curbs Appetite Hormones
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
MEN'S HEALTH
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
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
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
SENIORS
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
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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