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Health Briefs
Credit: Better Health magazine

Discovery of New Virus Offers Clues to Cause of Prostate Cancer.

The discovery of a new human virus may help explain at least one cause of prostate cancer and how to prevent it. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco discovered the virus (called XMRV) in tissue samples of patients with prostate cancer, the most common cancer among men worldwide. The virus appears to result from a mutation in a gene that helps the body defend against viruses.

Though the researchers still don’t know the specific cause of the virus or whether it is the definitive cause of prostate cancer, their discovery is expected to boost research efforts to produce a vaccine to prevent prostate cancer sometime in the future.

Overweight Kids’ Health Impacted by Stressed-out Parents.

A new study of overweight children revealed some interesting findings: Parental stress and bullying by other children make it harder for overweight and obese kids to get healthy.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Florida in the U.S. and published in the journal Obesity, showed that when a parent was stressed-out or suffering from depression, his or her
overweight or obese child was more likely to have similar symptoms and a lower quality of life. A similar link was seen in overweight or obese children who reported having social and behavioral problems with other children.

After evaluating nearly 100 overweight or obese children and their parents, researchers noted that parents with symptoms of stress or depression had less energy and motivation to give emotional support and were less likely to prepare healthy meals or arrange exercise activities for their kids. This affected the children's emotional and physical well-being, making it harder for them to make progress towards healthier lifestyles.

Never Too Late: Even Moderate Exercise Can Improve Blood Flow  

The University of Colorado (U.S.) study assessed two groups of healthy but sedentary men; one group was in their 20s while the other was in their 60s. At the outset, tests showed the older men had more constriction of blood vessels on average than their younger counterparts. About half the older men were then put on a 3-month exercise program of five workouts a week, with each session lasting about an hour. After the three months, the older men who exercised showed a significant improvement in blood flow compared to the older men who didn’t exercise. In fact, the older men’s post-exercise blood flow was restored to levels close to the younger men.

So if you’re one of the many who’ve been inactive, it’s never too late to take up healthy habits. Before starting any exercise program, be sure to consult your doctor. end.gif

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