ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
Bone Loss Stable on Restricted Calorie Diet
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
CANCER
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
CAREGIVING
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
Late-Life Fatherhood May Lower Child's Intelligence
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
DIABETES
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Purple Tomato Extended Lives of Cancer-Prone Mice
Trans Fat Labeling Gets Tricky
Added Sugars in Diet Threaten Heart Health
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Population-Based Strategy Urged to Cut U.S. Obesity Rate
Cleaning House May Be Risky for Women With Asthma
EYE CARE, VISION
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
FITNESS
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
MRSA Infections Can Bug Fitness Buffs
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Maximize Your Run
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Countdown to Hair Loss
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
MENTAL HEALTH
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
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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