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Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
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Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller
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'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
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More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
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Exercise During Pregnancy May Help Baby
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Bye, Bye Back Fat?
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Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
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What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
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With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
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24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
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The Food Irradiation Story
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Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
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Vest Monitors 'Individual' Air Pollution
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When Gauging Age, the Eyes Have It
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
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Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Run for Your Life
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New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Heavy Alcohol Use Linked to Cancer
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
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Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
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Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
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Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
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Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
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Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
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Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
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More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
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SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
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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,