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Menopause may raise risk of depression

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            HEALTH TIPS - Wednesday, April 11, 2007
               "News That Keeps You Healthy"   

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      Menopause may raise risk of depression

WASHINGTON, -- The hormonal change a woman faces during 
menopause doubles her risk for developing clinical depre-
ssion, new research suggests, but the risk may be lessened 
by the use of hormone-replacement therapies. The findings in
the Archives of General Psychiatry run counter to a commonly
held notion: The stress some middle-aged women experience, 
such as the death of a parent, divorce, moving or changing 
jobs, spurs the onset of depression in those who had never 
had the disease. Instead, it could be the hormonal fluct-
uations and a lack of estrogen that can make women entering 
menopause -- called the perimenopausal phase -- up to twice 
as likely to have depression as premenopausal women. Such 
fluctuations also trigger common menopausal symptoms such 
as night sweats, hot flashes and mood swings. "(Depression 
in menopause) needs to be taken seriously," said Dr. Lee 
Cohen, associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical 
School and the lead study author of one of the observational
trials. "It shouldn't be attributed to 'going through the 
change' ... if untreated, it can have serious consequences."
For years, depressive symptoms leading up to menopause were 
considered "part of the territory" of menopause, he said.


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      Glucose kills cells after hypoglycemia

SAN FRANCISCO,  -- A U.S. study has determined brain damage 
thought to be caused by hypoglycemic coma actually occurs 
when glucose is administered to treat the coma. San Fran-
cisco Veterans Administration Medical Center researchers 
said the findings were surprising and might be of clinical 
significance for the treatment of diabetics in hypoglycemic 
coma. But they caution the results, obtained in a rodent 
study, cannot be immediately extrapolated to humans. Insulin
is a hormone that moves glucose from the bloodstream to 
individual cells, where it is broken down and used for 
energy. Diabetics do not produce enough of their own insulin
and must take it several times a day. A severe insulin over-
dose can reduce levels of glucose in the blood to extremely 
low levels -- a condition known as hypoglycemia -- and cause
hypoglycemic coma, resulting in destruction of neurons in 
the hippocampus and cerebral cortex, which are essential to 
memory and cognition. "This study tells us for the first 
time that, in rats, the brain damage occurs not during the 
coma, but after it, when we give them glucose and their 
blood glucose levels return to normal," said principal 
investigator Dr. Raymond Swanson. The study appears in the 
Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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       Mediterranean diet may help asthma

ATHENS, Greece, April 5 (UPI) -- A Mediterranean diet high 
in produce and nuts may help protect children in Greece from
wheezing and other asthma and allergy symptoms, researchers 
said. A study of almost 700 children in Crete found that 
those who ate foods such as olive oil and whole grains had 
fewer symptoms, The Independent reported. The study was 
based on questionnaires filled out by parents on their 
children's' diet and respiratory problems. The study found 
that diet had the strongest protection on allergic rhinitis,
which causes a runny or stuffed nose. Children who ate nuts 
at least three times a week were less likely to wheeze, the 
researchers reported. Children with a high consumption of 
margarine were twice as likely to have asthma and allergic 
rhinitis, the study said, The Independent reported.
"A high intake of fruit, vegetables and nuts may have a 
protective role on the prevalence of asthma-like symptoms 
and allergic rhinitis," said the study, which was published 
in the journal Thorax.

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