ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Bone Loss Stable on Restricted Calorie Diet
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
CANCER
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
CAREGIVING
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Smog Tougher on the Obese
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
DIABETES
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Mediterranean Diet May Help Prevent Depression
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Antioxidants Abound in Cereals, Popcorn, Whole-Grain Snacks
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Main Ingredients in Household Dust Come From Outdoors
Air Pollution Raises Risk of Heart Disease, Death
Hypertension May Hit Black Males Earlier
EYE CARE, VISION
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
FITNESS
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Will the Wii Keep You Fit?
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
When Clocks Change, Body May Need Time to Adjust
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Healthy Eating While On Vacation
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
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
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Drink Away Dementia?
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
SENIORS
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Add your Article

The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help

(HealthDay News) -- People regularly turn to the Internet for games and gossip, news and entertainment, essential information and high weirdness.

And now, apparently, for their health as well.

A number of successful online medical interventions have been reported in recent months, helping folks quit smoking, lower their blood pressure and deal with any number of ailments.

New York City cardiologist Dr. Nieca Goldberg figures it's a great trend, as long as people are going to reliable and trusted sources for help.

"I think it is the wave of the future and, theoretically, it seems like a great idea," said Goldberg, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association, a clinical associate professor of medicine and medical director of the Women's Heart Program at New York University Langone Medical Center and author of Dr. Nieca Goldberg's Complete Guide to Women's Health. "There could be multiple interactions with patients that are brief and effective."

Online interventions have spanned a variety of medical issues. One program, for instance, used Internet and telephone interactions with heart attack survivors and cardiac patients to help improve their heart health. A study found that participants' blood pressure and cholesterol levels fell, more of them quit smoking and they were one-third less likely to die than cardiac patients who did not receive the attention.

Several programs have popped up to help smokers quit. An analysis of 22 clinical trials found that Internet- and computer-based smoking cessation programs gave smokers nearly twice the chance of successfully quitting than if they had tried to quit without help.

Those successes have led the University of Illinois at Chicago to spearhead a $2.9 million federal effort to encourage young adults to use proven online smoking cessation programs.

Alcoholics also can find online support. A Dutch study found that one in five excessive drinkers who used an online self-help Web site to help them with their problem reported that they had lowered their alcohol intake to levels less likely to cause health problems.

And chronic conditions such as psoriasis also have been shown to be helped by online interventions. One study in Boston found that half of the users of online psoriasis support groups believed that the quality of their lives had improved, and two in five reported improvement in the severity of their psoriasis.

In some instances, the Internet also provides "nudges" to help push people into healthy habits. One worksite e-mail health program developed by Kaiser Permanente, for instance, provided participants with weekly e-mails and mid-week reminders that set personalized health goals for them based on an earlier survey they had filled out. They were encouraged to eat more fruits and vegetables, lower their intake of fats and sugars, and exercise more.

A study of the program found significant health improvements among people who received the e-mails. They were, in fact, eating better and exercising more.

Even those with advanced fitness goals can receive online assistance. The magazine Runner's World currently offers online training programs featuring personal advice from world-class runner Bart Yasso.

Dr. Robert Mallin, an associate professor at the Medical University of South Carolina, said such online programs could appeal to people who don't like going to doctors, therapists or support groups for help with their problems.

"There's certainly an advantage to having face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball contact, but I think also people who would never step into a doctor's office or a room with a support group will explore those things online," said Mallin, a spokesman for the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Online support groups, for example, allow people to gather information and communicate with others who have a similar problem while retaining their anonymity. "You don't have to participate," Mallin said. "People don't even have to know you're there."

However, both Goldberg and Mallin voiced concerns, too.

Goldberg wants to see large-scale studies of the effectiveness of these online programs before they are pursued to such an extent that they supplant regular modes of health care.

"When there's a concern about cost containment, we have to make sure the cost containment occurs within the context of quality care," she said. "This is a great idea, but I don't think we're 100 percent there yet."

Mallin worries about people getting bad information from Web sites.

"The biggest worry everyone has about health information on the Web is how accurate it is," he said. "I always ask my patients to run something by me they've read on the Internet or on one of those chat sites."

SOURCES: Nieca Goldberg, M.D., clinical associate professor of medicine and medical director, Women's Heart Program, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City; Robert Mallin, M.D., professor, Department of Family Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, S.C.