ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Help Restore Lost Sense of Smell
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Improved Hip Implants Can Last 20 Years
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Stem Cells Might Treat Tough Fractures
CANCER
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
Smoking Exposure Now Linked to Colon, Breast Cancers
Green Tea Compound Slowed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
CAREGIVING
Falls Are Top Cause of Injury, Death Among Elderly
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
With Alzheimer's, Health-Care Costs Could Triple
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
DIABETES
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Fruits, Vegetables, Teas May Cut Smokers' Cancer Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Database Helps Assess Your Breast Cancer Risk
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
FDA Faulted for Stance on Chemical in Plastics
EYE CARE, VISION
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
FITNESS
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
Moderate Aerobic Exercise Lowers Diabetics' Liver Fat
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Coffee Is Generally Heart-Friendly
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Decline of Underweight Children in U.S. Continue to Fall
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
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Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay

FRIDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- High levels of vitamin D might help keep the brain healthy as people age, new research suggests.

For the study, which included more than 3,000 European men aged 40 to 79, the researchers assessed the men's memory and how quickly they processed information. They also examined other factors that affect mental agility, such as physical activity levels and mood. Blood samples were taken to measure the men's circulating levels of vitamin D, which the body produces through exposure to sunlight and obtains through dietary sources.

The study authors found that high circulating vitamin D levels were associated with high scores on memory and information-processing tests, while low vitamin D levels were associated with poor scores. The findings appear online in advance of publication in the print issue of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

The exact link between circulating vitamin D levels and mental agility isn't clear, but it's possible that vitamin D increases certain hormonal activity or protects neurons and chemical-signaling pathways, according to the researchers.

"Previous studies exploring the relationship between vitamin D and cognitive performance in adults have produced inconsistent findings, but we observed a significant, independent association between a slower information processing speed and lower levels of vitamin D," said study author David M. Lee, of the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, in a news release from the university.

"The main strengths of our study are that it is based on a large population sample and took into account potential interfering factors, such as depression, season and levels of physical activity," Lee added. "Interestingly, the association between increased vitamin D and faster information processing was more significant in men aged over 60 years, although the biological reasons for this remain unclear."

If vitamin D supplements can help reduce the effects of aging on the brain, the health implications could be significant because many people, particularly the elderly, are vitamin D-deficient, the researchers pointed out.

More information

The American Psychological Association explains memory changes in older adults.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: University of Manchester, news release, May 20, 2009

Last Updated: May 22, 2009

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