Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Body and mind

Taking care of your whole self


Squeezed: Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found that high blood pressure does not accelerate the age-related decline in performing certain mental tasks.

In fact, researchers found, middle-aged subjects with high blood pressure showed more of a slowdown than older subjects with high blood pressure.

Researchers followed 96 volunteers - 48 with unmedicated hypertension and 48 with normal blood pressure. The volunteers were divided up by age, and their performance was tracked on two types of tasks: visual search and memory search.

Differences in performance were related to the difficulty of the task, not memory demands or blood pressure levels, researchers found.

The differences in performance were not significant enough to impact everyday life, they added.

The National Institutes of Health supported the study.

Hot news

Antidote: A small study suggests that a drug used to treat epilepsy could be effective for treating cocaine addiction.

Researchers at the New York University School of Medicine and Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., found that gamma vinyl-GABA (GVG) dramatically reduced cocaine use in people who had used cocaine daily for at least three years.

The data support the need to conduct the study in a larger population, researchers said.

"GVG reduces levels of dopamine, the 'feel-good' chemical that floods the brains of cocaine users, providing the high they crave," said Dr. Frank Vocci, director, division of treatment research and development at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which funded the study. "Using GVG to temper the dopamine system may very effectively block the addiction-related effects of cocaine."

Twenty adults enrolled in the study; eight completed it.

Healthy living

Pain: A three-question test called ID Migraine can help sufferers identify migraine headaches and seek effective treatment from their doctors, developers say.

Answering "yes" to two of the three following questions effectively identifies migraine:

• Has a headache limited your activities for a day or more in the last three months?

• Are you sick to your stomach when you have a headache?

• Does light bother you when you have a headache?


Program: Patrick Richardson, St. Elizabeth Outpatient Behavioral Health, will lead a program on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Kentucky school policy at 6:15 p.m. Oct. 22 at St. Elizabeth Behavioral Health Center in Edgewood. Information: (859) 292-2486.

Shelf help

Straighter: The Good Back Book (Firefly Books; $19.95) by Renita Fehrsen-Du Toit illustrates posture "fixes" and equipment-free exercises for improving back stability and flexibility.

Contact Peggy O'Farrell by phone, 768-8510; fax, 768-8330, or e-mail,

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