Briefs: Mediterranean diet may benefit mental health

mediterranean diet may benefit mental health

A Mediterranean-style diet — packed with fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, olive oil and fish — is known to be good for your heart. Now it's showing promise for mental health, too. A study of more than 10,000 Spaniards followed for almost 4 1/2 years found that those who reported eating a healthful Mediterranean diet at the beginning of the study were about half as likely to develop depression as those who said they did not stick to the diet. The study, funded by the Spanish government's official medical research agency, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, proves only an association between a Mediterranean diet and a lower risk for depression, not a cause-and-effect relationship. Still, many scientists think damaging inflammatory and metabolic processes of heart disease may also play a role in mental health. "The membranes of our neurons are composed of fat, so the quality of fat that you are eating definitely has an influence on the quality of the neuron membranes, and the body's synthesis of neurotransmitters is dependent on the vitamins you're eating," said Dr. Miguel Angel Martinez-Gonzalez, professor of preventive medicine at University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, and senior author of the paper, published in the October issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

Reason for phone concern is found

The jury is still out on whether cell phones increase the risk of brain, head and neck tumors. A scientific analysis published Tuesday looked at 23 epidemiological studies and found no connection between cell phone use and tumors. But when investigators analyzed eight of the most scientifically rigorous studies, cell phone users had a 10 to 30 percent increased risk of tumors compared with people who rarely or never used the phones. The risk was highest among those who used the phones for 10 years or longer. "I went into this really dubious that anything was going on," said study co-author Joel M. Moskowitz, director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California in Berkeley. "Overall, you find no difference. But when you start teasing the studies apart and doing these subgroup analyses, you do find there is reason to be concerned." Conclusions should await higher-quality studies that follow diverse groups of people, both phone users and nonusers, over a long period of time, said Dr. Seung-Kwon Myung of the National Cancer Center in Goyang-si, South Korea. He was lead author of the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Compiled from Times wires

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Briefs: Mediterranean diet may benefit mental health 10/14/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 11:33pm]

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