ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Scientists ID New Genes Tied to Crohn's Disease
'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes
Fractures in Older Adults Up Death Risk
CANCER
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
CAREGIVING
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
DIABETES
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Fruit Even Healthier Than Thought: Study Shows
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gas Stove Emissions Boost Asthma in Inner-City Kids
Vitamin D Deficit May Trigger MS Risk Gene
Think You Are Lead-Free? Check Your Soil
EYE CARE, VISION
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
FITNESS
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Food and Water Supply Poisoned by Perchlorate
Healthy Eating While On Vacation
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
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
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
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Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart

Scientists think they have uncovered at least one of the reasons why omega-3 fatty acids are good for your heart.

The more omega-3 that patients with coronary heart disease consumed, the slower their telomeres shrank. Telomeres are structures at the end of a chromosome that get shorter the more times a cell divides, making them a marker of biological age.

"We're certainly not saying that this is the reason for all the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, but it is a new pathway linking omega-3 fatty acids to biological aging in these patients," said study lead author Dr. Ramin Farzaneh-Far, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

The findings are published in the Jan. 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"What they're really saying is that there is quite an impact of omega-3s on cell support and cell functioning," said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. "If you supplement with omega-3s or eat omega-3s, your cells stay healthier, your cells age less quickly."

Said Farzaneh-Far: "Cardiologists have known for about 20 years that increased dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for patients with coronary artery disease, particularly those who have had a prior heart attack. It reduces the risk of subsequent heart attacks and death."

But the reasons for that benefit have not been well defined, said John Bowman, an associate professor of pharmacy practice at Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy. "We don't know the exact cellular mechanisms," he said.

Omega-3 fatty acids are plentiful in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna, according to the American Heart Association.

For the new study, the researchers followed about 600 patients in the San Francisco Bay Area with coronary artery disease. Blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and telomere length were measured at the beginning of the study and again about five years later.

"That allowed us to measure the change in telomere length over five years and see if that bore any association with levels of omega-3 fatty acids at the beginning of the study," Farzaneh-Far said.

And, indeed, there was a relationship.

"We found that as blood levels of omega-3 went up, the rate at which telomeres shortened decreased," Farzaneh-Far said. "To the extent that that is a marker of biological aging, the rate of biological aging went down."

The findings don't change current recommendations regarding omega-3 fatty acids or what people should be doing.

"The American Heart Association recommends that those with coronary heart disease get about a gram a day of omega-3 fatty acids," said Farzaneh-Far. "Our study certainly doesn't suggest any change in that."

Dr. Melissa Tracy, medical director of cardiac rehabilitation at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said the new study gives "some additional support to the use of omega-3 fatty acids." But, she noted, it's unclear how far these findings could be extrapolated to other groups of people, such as those who don't have coronary artery disease.

"There are other extraneous circumstances which can impact telomere length," she said.

And, Tracy added, "we should try to do as much with our own bodies that we can. I am an advocate of proper diet, exercise, for optimizing your lifestyle, meaning reducing stress and getting enough sleep."

SOURCES: Ramin Farzaneh-Far, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, University of California, San Francisco; Melissa Tracy, M.D., assistant professor of clinical medicine, and medical director, cardiac rehabilitation, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; John Bowman, M.S., associate professor of pharmacy practice, Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy; Suzanne Steinbaum, M.D., preventive cardiologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City and spokeswoman, American Heart Association; Jan. 20, 2010, Journal of the American Medical Association Published on: January 19, 2010