ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Know Your Asthma Triggers
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
CANCER
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
CAREGIVING
Medication Errors Could Be Cut: Experts
Study Links Pesticides to Birth Defects
Distance No Bar to Kidney Transplants in Remote Areas
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
DIABETES
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Vitamin D Vital for the Heart
TV Food Ads Promote Bad Diets
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Hurricane Threats: Time to Batten Down the Hatches
Short-Term Air Pollution Exposure May Damage DNA
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
EYE CARE, VISION
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
FITNESS
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
Seniors Who Exercise Help Their Health
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Afternoon Nap Might Make You Smarter
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
When It Comes to Toys, Shop Smart, Shop Safe
3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Slim
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
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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