ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
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Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
CANCER
Vitamin D May Improve Melanoma Survival
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
CAREGIVING
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
Robots May Come to Aging Boomers' Rescue
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
DIABETES
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
Myrrh May Lower High Cholesterol
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Clear Skies Have Become Less So Over Time, Data Show
Population-Based Strategy Urged to Cut U.S. Obesity Rate
As Earth Warms, Lyme Disease Could Flourish
EYE CARE, VISION
Decorative Halloween Eye Lenses May Pose Serious Risks
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
FITNESS
Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Meet Exercise Guidelines
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Bursts of Vigorous Activity Appear to Be a 'Stress-Buffer'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
New Options Offered for Sleep Apnea
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Treat Kids to a Safe Halloween
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
MEN'S HEALTH
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
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Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure

(HealthDay News) -- Although new research links mercury in seafood with high blood pressure, this isn't reason enough for most people to stop eating fish, the study leader says.

"The small increase of blood pressure due to methylmercury will never outweigh the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids," said Dr. Eric Dewailly, a professor in the department of social and preventive medicine at Laval University in Quebec and lead author of a report in the Oct. 5 issue of Hypertension.

Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish, such as fatty sardines, herring, trout and salmon, are associated in many studies with a reduced risk of death from heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating two meals a week containing four to six ounces of such fish.

But because fish can contain high levels of methylmercury, which can interfere with the normal development of the nervous system and brain in fetuses and newborns, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises pregnant women, those trying to get pregnant, nursing women and children to limit their fish intake.

FDA guidelines limit intake of low-mercury fish for those individuals to 12 ounces a week and high-mercury fish to three 6-ounce servings a month. The FDA also advises avoiding fish most like to carry the highest levels of mercury -- shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish.

At first glance, the Canadian study appears to add high blood pressure to the list of problems linked to methylmercury in fish. Dewailly and his colleagues conducted a survey of Inuit residents of 14 Nunavik communities in northern Quebec, where the traditional diet is based on fish and marine mammals.

It found an average blood mercury level of 50 nanomoles per liter of blood, much higher than the 4-nanomole level of the general U.S. population. It also found a relationship between blood mercury levels and blood pressure after adjusting for other factors, such as smoking and physical activity.

Studies have shown that exposure to environmental mercury can affect the endothelium, the delicate lining of blood vessels, and decrease the ability of smooth muscles to relax, which could explain the slight increase in blood pressure seen in the study, Dewailly said.

It was not a great effect, he said. "For every 10 percent increase in blood mercury level, there is a 0.2 millimeter increase in blood pressure," Dewailly said. "Even if you apply that to an entire population, that is a small effect."

So, a 10 percent increase in blood mercury would raise a blood pressure reading from 120/80 to 120.2/80, Dewailly indicated. That is not a reason to avoid fish "if you look at the fish nutrients that are reported to be associated with so many benefits," he said.

But it's important to eat the right kind of fish, the oily species, Dewailly said. Anyone worried about blood pressure should avoid fish that have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids and high mercury content, such as big predator fish, including swordfish, marlin and shark, he said.

Another heart expert concurred.

"Many Americans can safely enjoy eating fish as a regular part of their diet to achieve the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids," said Penny Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University and a member of the American Heart Association Council on Nutrition Metabolism and Physical Activity Committee.

"And this includes canned light tuna, which is significantly lower in mercury than white tuna," she said in a statement.

SOURCES: Eric Dewailly, M.D., professor, preventive medicine, Laval University, Quebec, Canada; Oct. 5, 2009, Hypertension