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SOY'S BENEFITS FOR WOMEN FOUND LACKING

Not much help

Many women add soy and fiber to their diet in hopes of preventing hot flashes and night sweats. But a new study suggests it probably does not help. Researchers studied 1,651 women for 10 years, collecting dietary information and recording instances of hot flashes and night sweats. But after accounting for other factors, they could find no consistent association between the consumption of soy or fiber and the incidence of vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. The study was published online Oct. 31 in the journal Menopause. Lead author Ellen B. Gold of the University of California, Davis, noted that soy and fiber aren't harmful.

Bad for the brain

Pressure's effects felt under 50

High blood pressure may cause harmful brain changes in people as young as 40, a study suggests. In the report, published online Nov. 2 in Lancet Neurology, researchers measured blood pressure in 579 men and women whose average age was 39, then examined their brains with magnetic resonance imaging. After adjusting for other health factors, they found that higher systolic blood pressure - the most common form of hypertension - was associated with decreases in gray matter volume and significant injury to white matter. These changes also occur in people older than 55 with high blood pressure and are associated with decreased cognitive performance. Essentially, these young people with high blood pressure had brains that were older than their chronological age.

don't go hungry

Lipid test may not need fasting

Any doctor will tell you: For accurate results, you must fast for at least eight hours before a lipid profile, the blood test for cholesterol, lipoproteins and triglycerides. But now a study published Monday in Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that fasting is probably unnecessary. Two Canadian scientists studied records of more than 200,000 people who completed at least one lipid profile during a six-month period. They recorded fasting times before the test, and compared the readings according to the amount of time the patients fasted. "The ones that varied the least - HDL and total cholesterol - are the ones that matter the most in estimating risk for cardiovascular problems," said an author of the study, Dr. Christopher Naugler, an assistant professor of pathology at Calgary University.

New York Times

SATURDAY IN PERSONAL BEST

Holidays can be challenging for people with diabetes who must watch their carbs. Tampa's Nicole Johnson is a diabetes patient, educator, advocate and cookbook author who shows how to be festive - and healthy.

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