ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Varicose, Spider Veins May Be Inevitable for Some
Bone Loss Stable on Restricted Calorie Diet
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
CANCER
Study Cites Gains in Gall Bladder Cancer Treatment
Meditation May Reduce Stress in Breast Cancer Patients
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
CAREGIVING
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Health Tip: After Liposuction
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
DIABETES
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Iced Teas Pose High Risk of Kidney Stones
Compound in Berries May Lessen Sun Damage
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Common Pesticide Tied to Development Delays in Kids
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
EYE CARE, VISION
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
FITNESS
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Be Healthy, Spend Less
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
Vitamin B3 May Help Repair Brain After a Stroke
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
MENTAL HEALTH
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
SENIORS
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
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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