ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
Vitamin D Plus Calcium Guards Against Fractures
CANCER
Get to Know the Pap Test
Gene Screen May Predict Colon Cancer's Return
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
CAREGIVING
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out
Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
DIABETES
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
DIET, NUTRITION
Added Sugars in Diet Threaten Heart Health
Oregano Shown to be the Most Powerful Culinary Herb
Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
Seasons Arriving 2 Days Earlier, Study Says
Agent Orange Exposure Tied to Prostate Cancer Return
EYE CARE, VISION
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
FITNESS
Go To Work But Skip The Car
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
MRSA Infections Can Bug Fitness Buffs
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
SENIORS
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
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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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