ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
Health Tip: Anticipating Acupuncture
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Bones
CANCER
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
Critically Ill Patients Lack Vitamin D
Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
DIABETES
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
DIET, NUTRITION
Compound in Berries May Lessen Sun Damage
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Cleaning House May Be Risky for Women With Asthma
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
FITNESS
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Have Fun But Put Play It Safe on the 4th
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
SENIORS
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
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Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk

(HealthDay News) -- Eating a Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, legumes and healthy fats, and increasing physical activity levels can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, a new study shows.

The latest research, published in the Aug. 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, is more evidence that healthy living can help ward off cognitive decline.

Following both healthy habits is a plus, said study author Dr. Nikolaos Scarmeas, an assistant professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. "There is some evidence [already] that a healthy diet, the Mediterranean diet, may be protective for our risk of getting Alzheimer's disease," he said. "In the current study we wanted to see if there was an independent effect of physical activity and diet."

So Scarmeas and his team looked at 1,880 men and women without dementia living in New York, average age 77, and gave them tests every 1.5 years from 1992 through 2006, evaluating how well they followed a Mediterranean-type diet and their weekly participation in various physical activities. Those in the highest group got a median of 1.3 hours of vigorous activity or 2.4 hours of moderate-intensity exercise every week.

Scarmeas' team followed the elders for an average of 5.4 years, finding that 282 developed Alzheimer's disease during that time.

"There was an association between both a healthy diet and physical activity and reducing risk for Alzheimer's disease," Scarmeas said.

Those who ate well and exercised had a 60 percent reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease compared with those who didn't follow either good health habit, he said. "It's a very significant reduction," he added.

Exactly which components of the Mediterranean diet seem to confer benefit isn't known. "It could be there are individual elements of the diet that are important," Scarmeas said. "But it could be the interaction."

In another study published earlier this year, Scarmeas found that those who adhere to a Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of developing cognitive impairment, and a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease if they already had cognitive impairment.

In a second study in the same journal, researchers (including Scarmeas) looked at 1,410 French adults and found adherence to a Mediterranean diet was linked to slower decline on one cognitive test but not others. They didn't find high adherence to the heart-healthy diet linked with the risk for dementia.

In an editorial, the Mayo Clinic's Dr. David Knopman writes that a healthy diet may help prevent Alzheimer's but does not seem to occur in isolation.

"For such a benign intervention as diet and exercise, 60 percent [reduction in Alzheimer's] is substantial," said Dr. Greg Cole, associate director of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research at the University of California Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine.

Already, about 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, according to the Alzheimer's Association, and up to 16 million may have it by 2050.

"So, the 60 percent reduction from diet and exercise can have a huge impact because we are talking about so many millions of people," Cole said.

The findings are in line with what the Alzheimer's Association already recommends in its "Maintain Your Brain" program, said William H. Thies, vice president for medical and scientific relations for the organization.

"One of the things that is important [to note] is, they are looking at normal people," he said, not those who already have the disease. "You aren't going to cure Alzheimer's disease by eating lots of olives."

SOURCES: William H. Thies, Ph.D., vice president, medical and scientific relations, Alzheimer's Association; Greg Cole, Ph.D., associate director, Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research, and professor, medicine and neurology, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine; Nikolaos Scarmeas, M.D., assistant professor, neurology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York City; Aug. 12, 2009, Journal of the American Medical Association Published on: August 11, 2009