ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Holistic Treatment for Candida Infection
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Vitamin K Doesn't Slow Bone Loss
CANCER
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
CAREGIVING
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
Moms Who Breast-Feed Less Likely to Neglect Child
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
DIET, NUTRITION
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
The Raw Food Diet
Fatty Acid in Olive Oil Wards Off Hunger
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Smog Tougher on the Obese
EPA Alerts Seniors to Carbon Monoxide Dangers
Sunken, Unexploded Bombs Pose Cancer Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
FITNESS
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Be Healthy, Spend Less
Antioxidants Blunt Exercise Benefit, Study Shows
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Simple Holistic Approach to Fight the Common Cold
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
Sleep and Do Better
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
Protect Your Kids From Swine Flu While at Camp
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
MENTAL HEALTH
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
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Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A new review shows that the omega-3 fatty acids found in certain fish not only prevent cardiovascular disease, but may even help treat it.

"A lot of people know that omega-3 fatty acids are a good thing, but have thought of them in the area of nutritional or health foods," said study author Dr. Carl J. Lavie, medical director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention at the Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans. "They don't realize there is so much data, a lot of data from big studies, that they are not only preventive but also help in therapy for a number of conditions, such as atrial fibrillation, heart attack, atherosclerosis and heart failure."

The report in the Aug. 11 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology cites four trials with almost 40,000 participants that show benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, in treatment after heart attack and, most recently, in heart failure patients.

The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are such an old story that such studies can go unnoticed, Lavie said. "If you polled cardiologists about whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, I don't know if they would recognize how much has been done in this area," he noted.

As far back as 2002, the American Heart Association issued a scientific statement endorsing omega-3 fatty acid intake, from fish or supplements. It recommended specific amounts of omega-3 fatty acids each day for people in general, with greater intake recommended for people with heart disease.

"For the general population, it should be 500 milligrams a day," Lavie said. "If you have heart disease, it should be 800 or 1,000 milligrams a day."

Lavie includes himself in the second category, because "I have a family history of heart disease. I eat a lot of fish and take a supplement just to be sure."

It's got to be the right kind of fish, the oily species that have a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, Lavie added. "Redfish, trout, salmon," he said. "Salmon is my favorite."

Not much effort is needed for most people to achieve the recommended intake, Lavie said. "Five hundred milligrams a day is two fatty fish meals per week," he added.

But too many people eat non-oily fish such as catfish, Lavie noted. "And they have it fried, which reduces its health benefits," he added.

His review did turn up a few negative studies, including one showing no benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in people who had heart attacks. But it was a relatively small (4,000 people), short (one-year) trial, and the patients in the trial were already getting intensive drug therapy including clot-busting clopidogrel, cholesterol-lowering statins, beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, Lavie noted.

Set against that one trial are the many larger studies cited by Lavie, and epidemiological evidence showing that populations such as Asians and Alaskan Eskimos, whose diets are rich in fish oil, have a low incidence of cardiovascular disease.

The picture is not complete, the new report noted. Studies still must be done to determine the relative benefits of DHA and EPA, the long-chain fatty acids in the omega-3 family. And the American Heart Association says that Omega-3 supplements should be taken only after consulting with a doctor, because too much can cause excessive bleeding in some people.

Another study now in the recruiting stage will test omega-3 fatty acids to prevent not only cardiovascular disease but also cancer, said Dr. JoAnn Manson, chief of preventive medicine at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.

She is a leader of the trial, which is now recruiting 10,000 men aged 60 and older and 10,000 women aged 65 and older. The researchers will test not only the effect of omega-3 fatty acids but also of vitamin D.

Both are "very promising nutrients in prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer and other chronic diseases," Manson said. In the five-year trial, a quarter of the participants will take both vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, a quarter will take the vitamin, a quarter will take the fatty acids and a quarter will take a placebo.

Enthusiasts shouldn't anticipate the results of the trial and start taking large doses of omega-3 fatty acids, Manson warned. "It's too early to jump on the bandwagon and take megadoses, but moderate doses seem reasonable," she said.

SOURCES: Carl J. Lavie, M.D., medical director, cardiac rehabilitation and prevention, Ochsner Clinic, New Orleans; JoAnn Manson, M.D., chief, preventive medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; Aug. 11, 2009, Journal of the American College of Cardiology