ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Chronic Low Back Pain Is on the Rise
Drinking Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
Living Near Major Road May Boost Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
CANCER
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Vitamin E, Selenium and Soy Won't Prevent Prostate Cancer
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Fasting on Alternate Days May Make Dieting Easier
Fruit Even Healthier Than Thought: Study Shows
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Small Doses of Carbon Monoxide Might Help Stroke Victims
EPA Alerts Seniors to Carbon Monoxide Dangers
Global Warming Biggest Health Threat of 21st Century, Experts Say
EYE CARE, VISION
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
FITNESS
Bursts of Vigorous Activity Appear to Be a 'Stress-Buffer'
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
Vigorous Treadmill Workout Curbs Appetite Hormones
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Can You Talk Your Way to Happy?
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
MEN'S HEALTH
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
The Unmedicated Mind
Brain Scans Show How Humans 'Hear' Emotion
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
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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