|IN THE NEWS VITAMIN DEFICIENCY MAY CAUSE HEARING LOSS Insufficient amounts of vitamin B12 or folic acid may cause hearing loss in elderly women, according to a study in the March American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.|
Investigators at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga., assessed hearing function blood levels of vitamin B12 and folates in 55 healthy women ages 60 to 71. Women with impaired hearing had 38 percent lower levels of vitamin B12 and 31 percent lower levels of folate than women with normal hearing.
These nutrients are key to maintaining efficient blood flow and nervous system function, according to researchers.
T’AI CHI MAY BE GOOD FOR THE MIND AND THE HEART T’ai Chi, the slow-motion Chinese exercise, lowers blood pressure in the elderly as well as aerobic exercise, according to a study in the March issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore studied 62 overweight people over 60 years old who had high blood pressure. Study participants either participated in three months of T’ai Chi or three months of aerobic exercise, 30 to 45 minutes, four to five times per week.
After three months, researchers found systolic blood pressure dropped an average of 8.4 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) in the T'ai Chi group and 7.0 mm Hg in the aerobics group. Diastolic pressure fell 3.2 mm Hg in the T'ai Chi group and 2.4 mm Hg in the aerobics group.
TOMATOES LOWER CANCER RISK Filling up on tomatoes and tomato products can lower the risk of some forms of cancer, according to a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The study reviewed 72 past studies that examined the link between certain cancers and the consumption of tomatoes and tomato-based products. It showed that people who eat tomatoes and tomato products are at a substantially decreased risk of prostate, lung, and stomach cancers. The findings also suggest links between tomatoes and lower levels of pancreatic, colorectal, oral, breast, and cervical cancers. Fifty-seven of the studies linked tomato intake with a reduced risk of cancer; 35 of these studies showed the connection was strong enough to be "statistically significant."
How tomatoes lower the risk of cancer is unclear, but Dr. Edward Giovannucci of Harvard Medical School and author of the report, noted tomatoes are rich in several phytochemicals believed to have anticancer properties. The most prominent of these is lycopene, a compound that leads to the formation of carotenoids, chemicals that can protect cells from the effects of oxidants.
The study suggests eating tomatoes (including cooked and processed tomatoes) as part of a diet that is rich in other fruits and vegetables.
WINE MAY LOWER LUNG CANCER RISK A few glasses of wine weekly may be good for the heart and help reduce risks of lung cancer in men, according to a study in the March 1 American Journal of Epidemiology.
The analysis of three Danish studies conducted on more than 28,000 people between 1964 and 1992 revealed that men who drank wine had a lower risk of lung cancer. Men who reported drinking one to 13 glasses of wine per week showed a 22 percent lower risk of lung cancer than men who drank other types of alcohol. Men who consumed more than 13 glasses of wine per week showed a 56 percent reduction in lung cancer risk.
In contrast, drinking beer appeared to raise lung cancer risk by 9 percent to 36 percent, and consuming spirits increased cancer risk 21 percent to 46 percent.
The research was led by Dr. Eva Prescott of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark.