ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Human Ancestors Put Best Foot Forward 1.5M Years Ago
Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Bones
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More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
CAREGIVING
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
Simpler Sleep Apnea Treatment Seems Effective, Affordable
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
DIET, NUTRITION
To Feel Better, Low-Fat Diet May Be Best
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Chemical in Plastics May Cause Fertility Problems
Seasons Arriving 2 Days Earlier, Study Says
EYE CARE, VISION
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
When Gauging Age, the Eyes Have It
FITNESS
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Health Gains From Lowered Smoking Rates in Jeopardy
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Healthy Living Adds Years to Life
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
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Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients

THURSDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- The inability to focus is a common problem for stroke survivors, and a new study finds they might benefit from attention-training.

New Zealand psychologists evaluated 78 stroke patients who underwent attention process training (APT) and found significant improvement on one test of attention compared to those who had standard stroke therapy, according to a report in the July 23 issue of Stroke.

But the improvement in attention was not accompanied by significant improvements in performance, and no differences were seen in three other tests of attention.

The study is "really important and exciting," said McKay Moore Sohlberg, an associate professor in the department of communication disorders and sciences at the University of Oregon. She and a colleague, Catherine A. Mateer, developed APT in the 1980s when both were at the University of Washington. Mateer, a neuropsychologist, now is at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. They designed APT for accident victims with brain injuries.

"It's an exciting paper in terms of being a rigorous, controlled trial," Sohlberg said. "There has not been a lot of information available on APT after stroke. The positive results suggest that it might be something that is helpful."

APT is a series of exercises designed to improve cognitive function. "For example, you listen for a particular stimulus, a letter or word, and perform an appropriate response," Sohlberg said. "Different exercises are matched to different problems."

The New Zealand study is "a first step to establish whether people who have strokes can profit from APT," Sohlberg said.

"What we don't know from this paper is how well the results generalize to functional tasks," she said. "Does doing better on cognitive tests translate to a better ability to hold conversations or read? That is the next step, looking at the functional effects of it."

Loss of the ability to focus attention is a major problem for people after a stroke, said Dr. Larry B. Goldstein, director of the Duke University Stroke Center in Durham, N.C. "You can be sitting in a room and something is going on in the hallway and you have no idea of what's going on out there," he said. "Or your left arm is not working well, and you might not even realize that it's your arm."

But the New Zealand study does not establish the value of APT in stroke therapy, Goldstein noted. It is a small and very preliminary study, he said. "It looks like only half the participants completed the therapy. They found some benefit, but no significant changes in quality of life or global level of deficit," Goldstein said.

Nevertheless, the results indicate that use of APT in stroke therapy "is worthy of further research," he said.

SOURCES: McKay Moore Sohlberg, Ph.D, associate professor, department of communication disorders and sciences, University of Oregon, Portland; Larry A. Goldstein, M.D, director, Duke University Stroke Center, Durham, N.C.; July 23, 2009,