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Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
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ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
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BONES & JOINTS
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
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CANCER
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More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
CAREGIVING
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
Flu Strikes a Milder Blow This Season
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
DIABETES
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
To Feel Better, Low-Fat Diet May Be Best
Pesticides and How to Affordably Eat Organic or Reduce Pesticide Consumption
The Raw Food Diet
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pilots May Face Greater Cancer Risk
Rainy Areas in U.S. Show Higher Autism Rates
Short-Term Air Pollution Exposure May Damage DNA
EYE CARE, VISION
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
FITNESS
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Meet Exercise Guidelines
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Stressed and Exhausted: An Introduction to Adrenal Fatigue
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
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Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
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HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Cherry-Enriched Diet Cut Heart Risks in Rats
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
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INFERTILITY
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KID'S HEALTH
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School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
MEN'S HEALTH
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MENTAL HEALTH
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PAIN
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'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
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Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve

(HealthDay News) -- People with sleep apnea who are also obese may triple the chances of eliminating their sleep problems by losing weight, a new study suggests.

Losing about 10 percent of their body weight was enough to bring on total or near-total remission, said Gary Foster, head of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University in Philadelphia, and lead author of the study.

"It's been clear that obesity increases the risk of sleep apnea but less clear that if obese people or people with type 2 diabetes lost weight, it would result in significant improvements in their sleep apnea -- and it did," said Foster.

People who are overweight or obese are much more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which a person's breathing stops or becomes very shallow, sometimes several hundred times a night and sometimes for as long as a minute, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association.

"The soft palate in the back of mouth falls down and blocks the airway," said Dr. Mitchell Roslin, chief of bariatric surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "When you get to people with serious levels of obesity, it's virtually impossible to find those without [this type of] sleep apnea."

The condition can lead to cardiovascular problems, including stroke, and can raise the risk for dying prematurely.

"It really has tremendous detrimental effects on the cardiovascular system," Roslin said.

The study involved 264 obese men and women who also had type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea. They were randomly assigned to an intensive behavioral program intended to encourage weight loss or to a less intensive set of group sessions that mainly addressed the issue of diabetes management.

After a year, those in the intensive program had lost an average of about 24 pounds, compared with slightly more than a one-pound average weight loss for the others.

Those who lost the weight also saw a substantial reduction in the number of sleep apnea episodes they experienced, with more than three times as many people in the intensive group experiencing complete remission (13.6 percent versus 3.5 percent).

"The greatest benefit was seen in men and those with severe apnea," Foster said.

Any amount of weight loss brought on an improvement, but those who lost about 10 percent of their original body weight saw the greatest effect. "Any weight loss is good," Foster said.

Most experts recommend 10 percent as the weight loss needed to improve sleep apnea.

However, the study also found that people whose weight remained stable experienced a worsening in their sleep apnea. Just why that occurred remains unclear.

"This is one of the first and certainly the largest study ever conducted so we're at the point in the field, unfortunately, where we're just describing the effect," Foster said.

The study, published Sept. 28 in the Archives of Internal Medicine, does seem to confirm what common sense and experience have shown.

"We've seen that when patients gain five to 10 pounds, their sleep apnea is much worse. If they lose five to 10 pounds, the sleep apnea is much better," said Dr. Hormoz Ashtyani, director of pulmonary critical care and sleep medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. "It's usually not a resolution, but it's a significant improvement."

SOURCES: Gary Foster, Ph.D., director, Center for Obesity Research and Education, and professor, medicine and public health, Temple University, Philadelphia; Hormoz Ashtyani, M.D., director, pulmonary critical care and sleep medicine, Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, N.J.; Mitchell Roslin, M.D., chief, bariatric surgery, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Sept. 28, 2009, Archives of Internal Medicine