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For August 18, 2018

  • Study: Snoring Device Helps Couples
    Study: Snoring Device Helps Couples

    Gadget May Help More Wives Get Quality ZZZ�s

    (MSNBC Health) � ROCHESTER, Minn., Oct. 4 1999 � Research published Monday backs up what many wives have said for years � while their partners snore away, they�re left counting sheep. But a new device may offer some relief.

    INVESTIGATORS AT the Mayo Clinic studied 10 married couples in which the husband was being checked for obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing recurrently stops and starts as someone snores. Scientists monitored the sleep of patients and their spouses simultaneously, measuring the number of disordered breathing episodes in the patient and the number of sleep interruptions of the partner. They also checked the percentage of time each person spent sleeping.

    Results showed that when the husbands were fitted with an oxygen mask-like device that stopped snoring and irregular breathing episodes, wives on average got more than one hour extra sleep. �As we suspected, the spouses experienced significant improvements in sleep quality when their husbands were treated with the device,� said John Shepard, medical director at the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center and senior author of the study. �The average percentage of time that spouses spent sleeping increased from 74 percent to 87 percent, which adds more than an extra hour of sleep per night.�

    The research, published in the October issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, noted that obstructive sleep apnea is considered serious because it raises blood pressure and strains the cardiovascular system. It also makes uninterrupted sleep impossible for patients and bed partners, the article said.

    There are several other possible cures for snoring, but none are considered 100 percent effective. One such contraption consists of a molded mouthpiece to pull the lower jaw and tongue forward, opening the airway.

    The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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  • Dehydration Worsens Exercise-Induced Asthma
    Dehydration Worsens Exercise-Induced Asthma

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health)--With the return of hot weather, a word of warning to people with asthma: Dehydration can cause bronchospasm, a constriction or "tightening" of lung airways. And dehydration can make asthma brought on by exercise worse, report researchers.

    Lead investigator Paula Maxwell of the University of Buffalo, New York, and colleagues compared airway reactivity after 6 minutes of high-intensity exercise in eight young adults with exercise-induced asthma and eight without the condition. Subjects first exercised when fully hydrated and again after 24 hours of voluntary water deprivation.

    Hydration status had no effect on lung function in normal subjects, but the study showed that in individuals with exercise-induced asthma, dehydration resulted in a significant decrease in FEV1, a measure of lung function based on the amount of air blown out in one second.

    This decline in lung function was evident both before and after exercise in these individuals, the research team reported Friday at the American College of Sports Medicine meeting in Seattle, Washington.

    The investigators also noted that the rate of decline in lung function was the same in asthmatics whether they were hydrated or dehydrated, but when dehydrated, asthmatics start out with worse lung function than usual, and therefore experience more breathing problems than when they have enough water on board.

    "Asthmatics are more sensitive than non-asthmatics to dehydration, but we need to investigate this condition further to determine how it affects (lung) function," said study co-author Dr. Frank Cerny, associate professor and chair of the University of Buffalo department of physical therapy, exercise, and nutrition sciences.

    "The message continues to be, 'Drink fluids whenever you get the chance,'" he added. "If you have asthma, dehydration may make it worse, particularly during exercise."

    Source: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 1999;47:639-646, 755-756.

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  • Exercise As An Antidepressant
    Exercise As An Antidepressant

    Exercise is being touted as a viable component for treating depression, schizophrenia and alcohol addiction, according to a report published in the American Psychological Association.

    This is a review of studies going back to 1981, so it�s not new research. One thing that�s interesting is this review finds non-aerobic exercises such as weight lifting to be just as effective in treating psychological ailments as aerobics.

    The researchers say most regular exercises, including simply going for a 20-minute walk three times a week, is apparently more effective than placebo pills in reducing symptoms of anxiety in some patients.

    In my view, this study almost nailed it, but not quite. In my book, drawing on the best research, I contend exercise is a placebo. And while it makes you feel better, let�s not give it more curative power than it deserves.

    Just taking the time off to go exercise is something that can be psychologically good for you � because you�re taking a break from what�s bothering you.

    If you enjoy exercising, do it, and you�ll probably feel better. But this isn�t true if you hate it. The main point in my book, "Eat, Drink and Be Merry," is to embrace those activities that you have fun doing because, ultimately, they�ll be the most beneficial.

    Source: Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, June 1999.

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  • Vitamin C Can Lower Blood Pressure
    Vitamin C Can Lower Blood Pressure

    CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) � Heart patients with high blood pressure may receive substantial benefit from a daily dose of vitamin C - something researchers said could be an inexpensive alternative to prescription drugs.

    A dose of 500 milligrams each day lowered blood pressure by up to 9 percent, a level comparable to expensive prescription drugs, according to researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine and the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.

    "It may provide a way to bring their blood pressure back within acceptable levels without the cost or possible side effects of prescription drugs," said Balz Frei, director of the Linus Pauling Institute and one of the lead researchers.

    He was quick to caution, however, that more study is needed and that vitamin C is not a substitute for medication.

    "It's not an alternative therapy," Frei said. "We certainly don't want people to discontinue their medication."

    Others said the study was far too small to be conclusive. "I think it would be unfortunate if people with hypertension went out and started taking extra vitamin C on the basis of a single study," said Alice Lichtenstein, spokeswoman for the American Heart Association and a nutrition professor at Tufts University in Boston.

    Still, other researchers said the study published this week in the British medical journal Lancet shows promise.

    "This is one of the best studies to date," said Dr. Kenny Jialal at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "When you get 500 milligrams of vitamin C you clearly show a reduction."

    The study divided a group of 39 patients with mild to moderate hypertension into two groups. About half took daily doses of 500 milligrams of vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, while the others took a placebo.

    After one month, the average blood pressure of patients who took vitamin C dropped 9.1 percent, significantly more than the patients in the placebo group, who averaged a 2.7 percent decline.

    Both groups continued to take their regular medication for hypertension during the vitamin C study.

    Frei said vitamin C may improve the way the body synthesizes nitric oxide, a compound important for keeping blood vessels relaxed. The vitamin also may work to improve anti-hypertension medication, he said.

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  • Wrap it Up: Delicious Ways to Save Time and Cut Calories
    Wrap it Up: Delicious Ways to Save Time and Cut Calories

    Meal Makeover

    (Prevention, September 1999) � Wraps are the latest sandwich sensation -- all thanks to health-conscious Californians, who have turned eating on the go into an art form. So, next time you go for a boring, condiment-heavy sandwich for lunch, reach for a wrap instead.

    The availability now of a variety of soft flatbreads such as tortillas, lavosh (or lavash), naan and others is key. These unleavened breads are often made with whole grains and are turning up in savory flavors like spinach, sun-dried tomato, chipotle chili and garden herb. With fewer calories than two pieces of traditional sandwich bread, tortillas are thin and pliable. For the recipes that follow, we've used large wrappers (about 10 inches for the tortillas) to make one sandwich per serving. If you prefer, you can use smaller wrappers and make two apiece.

    Use these recipes as starting points for your own creations. Once you master the art of wrapping, you'll appreciate how ideal these fast-fix sandwiches are for satisfying meals in a snap.

    Here is one example of a great wrap recipie:

    Sunshine Burritos

    Frozen potatoes, jarred salsa, and jalapenos make this a super-easy breakfast dish. For variety, spread prepared guacamole on the tortillas in place of the salsa or add some sliced avocado when assembling the wraps. Fat-free liquid egg substitute works fine for the filling; use about 1 cup and eliminate the milk.

    2 c frozen Potatoes O'Brien
    2 eggs
    2 egg whites
    2 tbsp skim milk
    1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
    1/4 tsp pepper
    1/2 c prepared salsa
    2 lg whole wheat tortillas
    2 Boston lettuce leaves
    1/2 c chopped tomatoes
    2 tbsp pickled jalapeno pepper slices

    1. Coat an 8-in. nonstick frying pan with vegetable cooking spray. Add 1 c potatoes and saute until lightly browned.

    2. In a sm bowl, beat together eggs, egg whites, and milk. Stir in cilantro, pepper, and 1/4 c salsa. Pour half of the mixture over the potatoes. Cook over med-high heat until eggs are set; use a spatula to let any uncooked egg reach the bottom of the pan.

    3. Spread 1 tortilla with 2 tbsp of remaining salsa. Slide eggs onto tortilla. Top with half of the lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers. Roll tightly and serve immediately.

    4. Repeat to make a second burrito. Serves 2.

    Diet Exchanges: Milk 0.1; Vegetable 0.4; Fruit 0; Bread 3.3; Meat 1.4

    Nutritional info: Cal 314; Fat 8.2 g (23% of cal); Sat fat 1.6 g; Chol 213 mg; Fiber 9.8 g; Pro 16.9 g; Carb 53.1 g; Sodium 770 mg

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  • Canadian study offers new evidence of exercise's benefits
    Canadian study offers new evidence of exercise's benefits
    By Nelle Nix Exclusive to SHN

    September 17 -- A University of Calgary study is one of the first to indicate that fibromyalgia patients may benefit from an exercise program that includes strength training.

    Published in the June 1996 issue of The Journal of Rheumatology, the study found that a short-term exercise program led to a decrease in both the number of tender points and the degree of muscle tenderness. Also, it improved aerobic fitness levels. The program combined strength training, aerobic activity, and flexibility training.

    Thirty-eight subjects completed the study. Eighteen fibromyalgia patients were in the exercise group, and 20 fibromyalgia patients were in a comparison relaxation group. For six weeks, the exercise group met for an hour three times a week to participate in equal amounts of aerobic walking, flexibility training, and strength training. The comparison group met on the same schedule to participate in hour long relaxation sessions that included yoga and visualization training.

    By the end of the study, the exercise group's number of tender points had decreased by an average of 2.5, and muscle tenderness had improved by about 32 percent. The exercise group did indicate more fatigue at the end of the study. Researchers attributed that finding to the sedentary lifestyle led by a majority of the group's members before participating in the study. The relaxation group inexplicably showed decreased aerobic fitness.

    This short-term study supports previous findings about the benefits of exercise. Only further research can determine the long-term effects of exercise in the treatment of fibromyalgia.

    As the study's authors noted any fibromyalgia patient wishing to begin an exercise program should seek out an instructor familiar with fibromyalgia who can design an appropriate individualized program.

    Source: "An exercise program in the treatment of fibromyalgia," by L. Martin, et al, The Journal of Rheumatology, Vol. 23, No. 6, pages 1050-1053.

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