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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
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Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
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Minorities Distrust Medical System More
Study Cites Gains in Gall Bladder Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
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Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
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COSMETIC
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DENTAL, ORAL
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Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
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Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Vitamin B12 Key to Aging Brain
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
The Raw Food Diet
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Lead Exposure in Childhood Linked to Criminal Behavior Later
Improved Fungicides May Be Easier on Environment
Former Inmates at Increased Risk for High Blood Pressure
EYE CARE, VISION
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
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Be Healthy, Spend Less
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
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Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
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Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
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HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
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HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
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Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
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HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
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Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
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INFERTILITY
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KID'S HEALTH
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Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
MEN'S HEALTH
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Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
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MENTAL HEALTH
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PAIN
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'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
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Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
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Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss

An ingredient in agave -- the plant used to make tequila -- may help fight bone-weakening osteoporosis and other diseases, Mexican researchers say.

Agave, artichokes, garlic, onions and chicory are rich, natural sources of fructans -- nondigestible carbohydrates consisting of molecules of fructose linked together into chains, according to background information in a news release from the American Chemical Society.

"Experimental studies suggest that fructans may be beneficial in diabetes, obesity, stimulating the immune system of the body, decreasing levels of disease-causing bacteria in the intestine, relieving constipation and reducing the risk of colon cancer," Mercedes Lopez, of the National Polytechnic Institute in Guanajuato, said in the news release.

Previous research has also suggested that fructans stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the large intestine in a way that increases the body's absorption of minerals, including calcium and magnesium, which are needed for bone growth.

In this study, Lopez and colleagues tested the effects of agave fructans on bone growth in mice. Compared to other mice, those fed agave fructans absorbed more calcium from food, excreted less calcium in their feces, and had a 50 percent increase in levels of a protein associated with the build-up of new bone tissue.

"These results suggest that the supplementation of the standard diet with agave fructans prevented bone loss and improved bone formation, indicating the important role of agave fructans on the maintenance of healthy bone," Lopez said. "They can be used in many products for children and infants to help prevent various diseases, and can even be used in ice cream as a sugar substitute."

But drinking tequila won't help, the study authors noted. The fructans turn into alcohol when agave is processed into tequila, they said.

The study was to be presented Tuesday at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco.

SOURCES: American Chemical Society, news release, March 23, 2010 Published on: March 23, 2010