ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Drinking Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
CANCER
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
CAREGIVING
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
With Age Comes Greater Risk of Hypothermia
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
DIABETES
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
For Fitness, Cutting Calories May Not Be Enough
The Food Irradiation Story
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Used Legs and Arms Like Birds
Common Pesticide Tied to Development Delays in Kids
Clear Skies Have Become Less So Over Time, Data Show
EYE CARE, VISION
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
FITNESS
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Good Warm-Ups Could Halve Sports Injuries
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
The Brain Comes Alive With the Sounds of Music
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Whole Grains Lower Risk of Heart Failure
A Little Alcohol May Help the Heart: Studies
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
When It Comes to Toys, Shop Smart, Shop Safe
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
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Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome

People who eat a typical "Western diet" or drink diet soda have a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in the journal Circulation.

"This is a red-alert wake-up call," said Suzanne Steinbaum, director of Women and Heart Disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, who was not involved with the study.

Metabolic syndrome is the name for a cluster of symptoms that are known to predispose people to cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. The symptoms include a large waist circumference, high blood pressure, high fasting blood sugar levels, low HDL ("good") cholesterol and high triglycerides. A person with three or more symptoms is considered to have metabolic syndrome.

Researchers had nearly 10,000 people fill out food frequency questionnaires on their eating habits, then categorized them as following either a "Western" diet pattern or a "prudent" pattern. Higher scores in the Western category were given for more consumption of refined grains, red and processed meat, fried food, eggs and soda, and for lower consumption of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and fish. A higher score in the prudent category came from a higher intake of cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli and cabbage; carotenoid vegetables, including squash and carrots; fruit; whole grains; seafood; poultry and low-fat dairy.

People with the highest "Western" score had an 18 percent higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome than those with the lowest score. People with high consumption of meat had a 26 percent greater risk than those with a low consumption. Fried food was also linked with metabolic syndrome.

More surprisingly, the researchers found that the consumption of diet soda increased the risk of metabolic syndrome, while drinking sugary sodas or fruit drinks did not. This is the second study to find such a connection.

"The first time this came up, we didn't believe it," Steinbaum said. "Take two, and it's now part of another large study."

-David Gutierrez