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Health notes: Doubt on soy and fiber for treating menopause woes

  • November 17, 2012 - 4:11 PM

 

Many women add soy and fiber to their diet in hopes of preventing the vasomotor symptoms of menopause -- hot flashes and night sweats. But a new study suggests it probably does not help. Researchers studied 1,651 women who had not had a period in three months but had not yet had any vasomotor symptoms. They followed them for 10 years, collecting dietary information and recording instances of hot flashes and night sweats.

But after accounting for education, race and ethnicity, income, depression scores, body mass index and other factors, they could find no consistent association between the consumption of soy or fiber and the incidence of vasomotor symptoms.

The study, published online Oct. 31 in the journal Menopause, was observational, not a controlled trial.

High blood pressure tied to brain changes

High blood pressure may cause harmful brain changes in people as young as 40, a study suggests. In the report, published online 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 smoking, hypertension treatment and total cranial volume, 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. Moreover, the higher the blood pressure, the greater the visible changes.

A WATERY PLANET?

By taking a fresh look at old data, an international team of astronomers has discovered a possible super-Earth planet relatively nearby that could potentially hold liquid water, scientists announced recently. The research, released by the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, used a novel technique to analyze previous measurements of a nearby star.

The paper drew some praise even as other experts expressed caution. The finding adds three planet candidates around the dwarf star HD 40307 about 42 light-years away. Combined with three others that were discovered in 2008, they bring the total to six. Five are clustered close to the star, nearer than Mercury's orbit around the sun. But one of the three new finds lies far enough away to be in what's known as the habitable zone. That candidate planet has seven times the mass of Earth.

ENERGY DRINK USE IN AFGHANISTAN

U.S. service members in Afghanistan battle zones who consumed three or more caffeine-charged energy drinks a day were prone to sleepiness and dozing off while on guard duty, according to a report.

Forty-five percent of the service members in Afghanistan combat areas in 2010 consumed energy drinks daily, some that contain the caffeine equivalent of one to three cups of coffee, the study said. The finding was published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report. The products, such as those made by Monster Beverage Corp. and Red Bull, can have negative side effects, including caffeine intoxication, and have been investigated by the Food and Drug Administration.

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