Schizophrenia May Raise Dementia Risk in Older Adults

FRIDAY, May 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Older adults who have schizophrenia appear to face a higher risk of getting dementia, new research suggests.

“The rates of dementia in those with schizophrenia in the study were twice that of non-schizophrenic patients,” said lead researcher Hugh Hendrie, a Regenstrief Institute investigator and a scientist at the Indiana University Center for Aging Research.

On the other hand, while those with schizophrenia were also more likely to develop other health problems, they were less likely to get cancer.

The study is published in the May issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

As the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia have improved, those with the mental illness are living longer, researchers noted. But there has been little information about how they fare with other conditions, such as heart problems and dementia, as they age.

So Hendrie’s team, from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University, looked at the medical records of over 31,000 older adults, average age 70, who received care from an urban public health system, including a mental health center, from 1999 to 2008.

Over the 10-year span, they zeroed in on 757 adults who had a diagnosis of schizophrenia from a mental health center. (In all, 1,635 had schizophrenia, but some of those diagnoses were not confirmed at a mental health center).

Schizophrenia, a mental illness marked by hallucinations and delusions, is typically diagnosed in adolescence or early adulthood. About 1 percent of the U.S. population is affected, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

The researchers evaluated the rates of common conditions, health use costs and death rates.

They found that those with schizophrenia had higher rates of congestive heart failure: 45 percent versus 38 percent in others. They also had more serious lung problems and more instances of low thyroid function.

However, they also had lower rates of cancer, with 30 percent of them diagnosed with a cancer compared to 43 percent of other patients.

The big surprise, Hendrie noted, was the rate of dementia. Dementia was twice as common in those with schizophrenia, diagnosed in 64 percent of those with the mental illness compared to 32 percent of others.

Those with schizophrenia were also more likely to die during the follow-up period.

“The good news is those with schizophrenia are living longer; the bad news is, they are getting more of the serious physical illnesses than other people,” Hendrie said.

Health care use was higher in those with schizophrenia, which wasn’t a surprise, the researchers found. But it was surprising that those patients’ admissions to hospital were almost always for physical illness, not the mental illness, Hendrie said.

He can’t explain the differences. As for the dementia, he asked: “Does this really mean dementia rates are double in those with schizophrenia? Or is it that the doctors are misinterpreting the information?”

When an older person goes to a doctor who has trouble understanding what they are saying, he said, the doctor may think the person is demented, when actually the communication issues may be related to the schizophrenia.

Another possibility, Hendrie said, is that there could be a unique form of dementia that develops in a schizophrenic patient.

Hendrie also can’t explain the finding of lower cancer rates. Previous studies have found lower rates of gastrointestinal cancers in those with schizophrenia, he said, and researchers have speculated that the antipsychotic medicines they take may somehow help protect against those cancers.

What is needed, Hendrie added, is a health care system that integrates the mental health and physical health services needed by someone with schizophrenia.

The new finding ”highlights the relationship between the brain and the rest of the body,” said Dr. Jeff Borenstein, president and CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation in New York City.

Experts have known that those with schizophrenia die from medical causes at a much earlier age than those who don’t, he added, but the large numbers in the study add strength to the findings. That emphasizes the need to be sure that those with schizophrenia “get treatment not only for schizophrenia, but for physical conditions as well,” Borenstein said.

But, he said, “if you are not in a place where that model is in place, you can still have the benefit by making sure the physicians [for mental and physical health services] are talking with each other.”

Is Bleeding During Menopause Normal?

At the onset of menopause, women may find that they experience periods on a very erratic basis. This is a very normal symptom of menopause. One of the first signs of change that woman will notice is that during post-menopause they have gone twelve consecutive months without a period or a menstrual cycle. At this point in a woman’s life, she is considered to be fully menopausal.

During menopause, women can still bleed occasionally. Once she has finished menopause, though, bleeding, even erratic bleeding, is not considered normal. If you do experience any bleeding after you have been through menopause, something very serious might be occurring on an internal basis. The most common problem that causes bleeding after menopause is when the tissue inside the vagina becomes swollen or torn. This can cause bleeding. Sexual intercourse while that tissue is in poor condition can make the bleeding much worse.

If you have gone twelve consecutive months without bleeding, and your doctor considers you to be post-menopausal, you should be concerned about any bleeding you experience. If you do experience any bleeding, you should meet with your family doctor or your gynecologist for a thorough examination. He or she will probably want to run some blood tests and do a pelvic exam. In most cases, the bleeding after menopause is not severe. It could be something quite minor. However, just to be on the safe side, it is important to get it checked out, because it could be the first sign of something quite serious.

Many women experience bleeding after menopause because of the continued hormonal imbalance in their systems; others have started birth control pills and begin to experience bleeding. Still others have benign growths in the lining of the uterus that can get irritated or irritate the tissue around them that causes bleeding. Uterine fibroid tumors can also cause mild to serious bleeding. On the other hand, though, bleeding can be a good indicator of serious cancer that could be a threat to your life in the long run.

If you do experience bleeding, and you do end up with cancerous cells, they can be identified and controlled if they are caught in time. However, if you wait too long, those cells will multiply and begin to cause other cancers in the body. If you ignore the first simple signs like unusual bleeding, you could be setting yourself up for a fall. Many women think that menopause means they can stop their yearly pap smear. This is not the case. In fact, this has caused the deaths of many women because they believe this essential exam is no longer necessary. Just because you no longer have a period does not mean that you are no longer at risk for serious cancers like uterine or vaginal cancer. That is the primary reason for having a pap smear. As a result, you should be active in your cancer prevention strategy.

If you have begun to notice the early signs of menopause, it is best to educate yourself as to all of the symptoms of the condition. Moreover, it is essential that you see your doctor to identify your condition early so you know what to expect before, during, and after this normal change in a woman’s life.

Top 10 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in American women and one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in women, second only to lung cancer. Research shows that 13% of all women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Although, no one knows the exact causes of breast cancer, but by educating yourself and taking control of some lifestyle factors, you can lower your risk of developing breast cancer.

Here are five simple things you can take to reduce your risk of breast cancer:

1. Eat a Healthy Diet

Eating well is also important to improve your health and reduce your cancer risk. Take a good hard look at what you typically eat each day and incorporate the following suggestions to build a healthy diet plan for yourself:

– Add more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your diet. These foods are rich in antioxidants which help to prevent cell damage associated with cancer development.

– Processed and red meats: Cutting back on processed meats like hot dogs, bologna, and luncheon meat, and red meats like beef, pork and lamb may help reduce the risk of colon and prostate cancers. These foods are also high in saturated fat, so eating less of them and eating them less often will also help you lower your risk of heart disease.

– Consider avoiding alcohol. Moderate drinking can help protect against heart disease. Unfortunately, studies also show that regular and modest amounts of alcohol can raise your estrogen levels. Even one drink a day can expose breast tissue to higher hormone levels. Since some breast tumors are estrogen-sensitive, alcohol can increase the risk that the cells in that tissue will become cancerous. Limit your intake to lower your risk

2. Maintain your body weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is important to reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Research shows that being overweight or obese increases your risk for breast cancer. But don’t try to be size zero. Being very thin prior to the menopause or under 50 is also linked to increased breast-cancer risk. It makes your breasts more dense – and dense breasts have a fourfold higher breast-cancer risk. It makes sense to maintain a healthy weight for your height.

3. Regular exercise

Some recent studies have found a small relationship between moderate exercise and decreased risk of breast cancer. Exercising regularly can help combat obesity as well which further lowers cancer risk. Aerobic exercises, such as swimming, brisk walking, jogging, and playing tennis are best bets as they are easy and enjoyable. Try to get 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week.

4. Stop smoking

Tobacco smoke carries carcinogens, which can accumulate in fluid around the breasts. Active smoking can greatly raise your risk of breast and lung cancers, and passive smoking may also raise your risk. Get help to kick the habit and improve your long-term health. The evidence is piling up for a link between smoking and breast cancer. It”��s another good reason to stop smoking

5. Breastfeed if you can

New mother should breast-feed exclusively for up to six months – the evidence is convincing that mothers who brast-feed reducerisk of both breast and ovarian cancer by about 7 per cent.

6. Examine yourself

Regular screening tests for breast cancer, such as an annual mammogram and a breast exam during your annual checkup, allow you and your doctor to ensure that your breasts are as healthy as they can be. Screening also increases the likelihood that your doctor will find breast cancer early, when it is most treatable. Have an annual mammogram starting at age 40, as long as your general health is good. Do your breast self-exam on a regular basis.

7. Get plenty of sleep in a dark room

This is one of the best ways to manage stress! Sleep gives the body time to rest, repair and heal. Sleeping in a dark room encourages the production of the hormone melatonin, which reduces the risk of breast cancer. Plenty of sleep might be 7 hours for some women and 9 hours for others.

8. Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is sometimes prescribed to women as a means of alleviating discomfort associated with menopause. Research indicates that women who have received HRT for five years or more may be at a heightened risk for breast cancer. However, the heightened risk seems to occur primarily in women using combined (estrogen and progesterone mixture) HRT, as opposed to estrogen-only HRT. However, estrogen-only HRT increases risk of uterine cancer. The elevated breast cancer risk appears to be reversible in that women who discontinued HRT for five or more years show no more increased risk for breast cancer than women who never used it in the first place. Talk to your doctor about your risks and benefits with regard to HRT.

9. Avoid chemicals and harmful substances in our environment

A clinical review in the February 2004 issue of the British Medical Journal suggests that up to 75 percent of all cases of cancer are caused by environmental and lifestyle factors. For example, substances found in some plastics, certain cosmetics and personal care products, pesticides (such as DDE), and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) may contain harmful substances.

10. Get enough vitamin D

There are many studies that demonstrate women with higher levels of vitamin D have significantly lower rates of breast cancer. People can get vitamin D through sunlight and through their diets. Some people get vitamin D by taking vitamins. Good food sources include milk, eggs, tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, and in some breakfast cereals.

NP Cancer

NP cancer Nasopharyngeal cancer is diagnosed in a person when some symptoms like swelling in the neck appears. The doctor will refer the case to the specialist for further assessment of disease. If you have any symptoms or signs that suggest there is any chance of NP cancer, you must consult the doctor as soon as possible and your doctor will check the complete medical history of yours to know is there is symptom that include your family history. In NP cancer testing doctor will more focus on neck and head area and also include mouth, nose, throat, lymph nodes and facial muscles.

What are the potential risk factors for NP cancer?

The potential risk factors could be anything that leads to affect anyone chance of getting cancer. There is different kind of cancer and different risk is associated with cancer. Factors like smoking can be changed but you can’t be able to change the family history of the patient. Having few or single risk factor doesn’t mean that you will get cancer but there are some risks that are unknown and people might affect with the disease. There are researches that shows that use of smoking and alcohol are directly contribute to NP cancer but the link of alcohol and smoking to throat cancer is low however. Some of the risk factors are listed below:
* Gender
* Genetic factors
* Specific diet
* Infection
* Ethnicity
* Family history
Smoking and excessive use of alcohol can lead to increase in the risk of getting cancer. It is important to know the chances of getting NP cancer is male is double as it is in female. In countries like US, the chances of getting NP cancer is quite rare so doctor will not recommend any kind of NP screening for the patient check the risk of getting disease. There are some countries in the world that do have a lot of cases of NP cancer. In countries like China, the doctor strongly recommends NP screen test to check the symptom of this disease. The doctor will check the blood samples as an evidence because EB virus is very common than NP cancer.

There are many regular NPC testing of patient neck, this approach is used in those families where NPC develop more often and family history suggests that there are chances of getting this cancer. However it is still unknown that either this strategy is going to lower the rate of death in patient. Sometime the NP cancer symptom can be found easily in patient and these patients must seek some medical attention to cure this. Some of the symptom might not be related to NP but might include other signs. But in many cases the NP cancer will not be detected unless it reached to advance stage. Some of the test that is recommended for checking and treatment of NP cancer is listed below:

* CT scan
* Chest X-ray
* MRI scan
* Imaging test
* PET scan
* Blood test

These are some vital test that one must do after the consultation with doctor.

Ovarian Cancer: Early Detection is Key

Ovarian Cancer affects one in 70 women.

It kills 14,000 women in the U.S. each year, and while considered relatively rare has a low rate of survival. It was previously called the “Silent Killer” because most women are not diagnosed until the cancer has progressed to an advanced stage that no longer responds well to treatment.

Late detection happened primarily because the ovaries are embedded deep in the body, tumors emerging in that organ are difficult to detect, either by physical examination or even by more sophisticated molecular methods.

The good news is that early detection is becoming a little easier and when the disease is caught early the 5 year survival rate raises 30% to 90%. The Key seems to be constant vigilance by women and their doctors.

Last year physicians from MD Anderson began tracing healthy women through annual blood tests for CA125 level changes in blood work. Rising levels of CA125 are known to be associated with ovarian tumor growth. Unfortunately, even this test is inconclusive on its own because levels can change due to benign conditions such as pregnancy, endometriosis and fibroids. Tracking changes annually has become one way to sort out women who should be more closely screened for ovarian cancer along with family histories of cancer and previous cancers in different locations .

Northwestern Memorial announced recently that added to doctor vigilance patients can participate by tracking a specific set of symptoms associated with Ovarian Cancer.

“The best scenario would be to prevent this cancer entirely but until that day comes women need to focus on good health behaviors, listen to their bodies and know their family history” according to Diljeet Singh, MD, gynecological oncologist and co-director of the Ovarian Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Early warning signs which include:

* Bloating
* Pelvic or abdominal pain
* Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
* Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)
* Increased abdominal size (pants getting tighter around waist)

Singh comments that the frequency and number of symptoms is important. Women who experience a combination of these symptoms almost daily for two to three weeks should see their doctor. While these symptoms mimic other possible medical conditions.

Although it is unclear what causes ovarian cancer factors that increase the odds of developing the disease include carrying a mutation of the BRCA gene, having a personal history of breast cancer or a family history of ovarian cancer, being over the age of 45 or if a woman is obese. Doctors recommend screenings for women with these factors begin at age 20 to 25, or five to 10 years earlier than the youngest age of diagnosis in the family. In addition, there are genetic tests available that can identify women who are at a substantially increased risk.

Women at higher risk categories many choose to make medical and lifestyle decisions which can improve their odds of avoiding Ovarian Cancer. Those who use birth control pills for five years or more are three-times less likely to develop ovarian cancer. Also permanent forms of birth control such as tubal ligation have been found to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by 50 percent. In cases where women have an extensive family history of breast or ovarian cancer, or who carry altered versions of the BRCA genes, may receive a recommendation to remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes. While clearly a radical option this lowers the risk of ovarian cancer by more than 95 percent.

“Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, getting regular exercise, maintaining a normal body weight and managing stresses are all ways women can help decrease their risk of ovarian cancer,” added Singh.

Human HPV Virus Causes Genital Warts

The Human HPV virus is the cause of commonest sexually transmitted infection in the United States today. This is a family of around forty viruses which cause genital warts. The infection is also called condyloma acuminate and is transmitted very easily through the sexual route. If you or your sex partner has genital warts, you can understand the causes of the infection in this article.

The Hman Papilloma Virus, also called the Human HPV Virus shows great affinity to the genital skin. Around 130 HPV viruses have been identified as of now. The viruses share a common property of causing warts when they infect skin. Out of these viruses around 40 are transmitted through the sexual route. There are some viruses in this sub category which cause genital warts, the others tend to have latent infections which do not show any symptoms. The viruses are very easily transmitted. Medical studies have documented transmission of the virus through the sexual route, through oral sex and even by infected hands. This makes the virus a constant threat for you if you have any risk factors that increase the chances of getting infected.

For women , a Human HPV virus infection has many more consequences. The condition is usually latent and may flare up only during periods of hormonal changes. You might have a silent infection and only manifest symptoms during pregnancy. There is also a risk of really severe symptoms during pregnancy. During this time, there are higher chances of larger warts which are prone to bleeding copiously. If you do not get treated for human HPV Virus during pregnancy, there is also a chance that you might transmit it to your baby during childbirth. The baby may then have an infection which can cause breathing obstruction and feeding difficulties. Women also have another problem due to this infection. If you have been infected with particular strains of the virus, there are chances that you might develop cervical cancer down the line.

The best protection for women right now is a vaccine called Gardasil. The vaccine is effective against the two most common strains of the virus which lead to cancer. Getting vaccinated against the infection is a good idea if you have many partners or have had sexual relations with unknown people. If you are in your teens or twenties, this is a very cost effective way of preventing cancer. Another important part of cancer prevention due to Human HPV virus would be regular check ups. There is a check up called Pap smear which allows the doctor to analyze the cells in the cervical area. The Human HPV virus infection frequently causes changes in the structure and number of cells in the genital skin. The test will help the doctor pinpoint any focus of altered cell shape and structure. If these foci are removed, the chances of cancer will decrease dramatically. Preventing infection also means that you will have to take precautions while having sex. You must use a form of barrier contraception if you or your partner has any risk factors for the infection.

How To Handle Impotence Caused By Your Prostate Cancer Treatment

It can be very depressing for you if you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and as a result of your treatment, have to combat impotence as well. You have feelings of inadequacy and feel as if you have lost your manhood.

Prostate cancer treatment has been known to cause impotence. This is because the prostate gland is in close proximity to the nerves that control and enable erection and any nerve damage sustained during surgery or radiotherapy can cause penile dysfunction. You should therefore discuss about the chances of developing impotence with your oncologist before you start your prostate cancer treatment.

Fortunately, many of the impotence cases that are caused by prostate cancer treatments are only temporary. Normal erections do return within 6-12 months. Even so this is a long time to be impotent and many men worry how their inability to have sex will affect their relationships. If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer and your chosen form of treatment is known to affect the functioning of the penis, then you must talk to your partner and explain that it is what you want to do. You really should have little to worry about as most partners would prefer you to be alive and impotent than not alive at all.

There are drugs available that can cause an erection and these can be prescribed until normal functioning returns. Talk to your doctor about this and find out if there are any side effects from taking the tablets.

Alternatively you and your partner can find other ways to pleasure each other so that sexual intercourse is no longer the main part of your sex life.

In addition to impotence there is a chance that your prostate cancer will also make you sterile. The prostate gland adds the fluid part to semen and so removal of the gland means that ejaculate is no longer produced. This makes it virtually impossible to impregnate a female as the fluid is needed to carry the sperm. This complication should also be a factor when considering which prostate cancer treatment to choose, especially if you are still young and want children in the future.

Sterility is often only temporary with radiation and chemotherapy treatments for prostate cancer however surgery to remove the entire gland will ultimately result in permanent sterility.

Discussing the various options with your partner will help to put things in perspective. Your prostate cancer affects her as much as you. So you should not remain silent about your suffering. It is crucial that you talk about your prostate cancer treatment as you will need her support during this tough period.

What Is Breast Cancer?

Cells growing in a body and that captures a grouping of illness and increased beyond control is called cancer. An original body part is named after cancer so ; breast cancer refers back to the unpredictable growth and multiplication of cells that starts in the breast tissue.

The group of cells that move in great speed may form a mass of extra tissue better known as tumors. It can either be awfully perilous or not noxious. There’s also a great jeopardy of the cells within a tumor to split itself and spread to assorted parts of a body.

Breast cancers are decided by a bizarre activity seen on a mammogram, a mass or consistency changes of the breast tissue and all of these indications served as an alert sign of this threatening illness. Breast cancer awareness has since played an efficient role towards training the women today of the danger of breast cancer and paths to stop it from going down.

Breast cancers are set by a strange activity seen on a mammogram, a mass or consistency changes of the breast tissue and all of these prospects served as an alert sign of this perilous illness. Breast cancer awareness has since played an effective role towards training the women today of the chance of breast cancer and methods to stop it from occurring.

Doctors from all around the globe implemented and developed staging systems to mark the size of a specific cancer spread so that obligatory treatment possibilities can be made before doctor’s call. The treatments for breast cancer take under consideration on all factors including those that has spread to other part of the body.

The treatments for breast cancer take into account on all factors including those which has spread to other part of the body. The available options for treatment includes surgery to get rid of the cancer alone, hormonal or radiation treatment as well as chemotherapy.

The deadly rate has since reduced by virtually 20 p.c during the last ten years with many enhancements conducted in diagnosis, treatment as well as screening and continuing research is still being put into use for a more sophisticated treatment and screening programs. Women above fifty years of age should go for screening one or more times a year.

Reasons To Use Paraben Free Lotions And Creams

One of the most abundant chemicals that are found in most of the pharmaceutical products and beauty products is paraben. It is used as a preservative. This increases the longevity of the products. Recent studies have pointed out that paraben is harmful for various reasons to the body. Since the skin is the largest organ of the body, the use of any cream, lotion or moisturizer will have it’s effect spread to other organs. The use of paraben free lotions and creams are extremely important to ensure that maximum adversities and side effects are avoided.

The side effect of paraben in men includes testicular and male breast cancer. The breast cancer tumors collected from females have been tested to contain a part of paraben. The secretions from many glands are hampered due to its use on the skin. Lotions, creams or other forms of beauty products may contain paraben. Certain tests suggest that immune system of the body gets slowly weakened through the entrance of the chemical in to the body.

The growth mechanisms of children and under adults are also disrupted by the presence of paraben in the body. Although the main function of it is to preserve the products, the human skin starts to age prematurely by its application through lotions, creams and moisturizers. The appearance of age line, wrinkles, skin patches, warts and many others are also caused by this dangerous chemical.

The use of this chemical has been around for the past seventy years. As I said earlier, the main reason for which almost eighty-five percent of all the beauty products like creams, lotions, face washes, moisturizers and other products of the pharmaceutical industry have traces of paraben is to increase the longevity. This is why one must read the ingredient list of products before buying to ensure that the product is safe.

There can be various replacements to this harmful chemical in beauty products like potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate and many others. These chemicals are not harmful to the skin and are therefore used by many beauty product companies. One can always check the customer reviews before buying such lotions and creams to be sure that is absolutely free of the harmful chemical.

Remember, you only get one body. Make sure you read the labels of all beauty products you are about too buy. If you see the product contains paraben, then replace it to the shelf and look for others that are all natural.

The Health Benefits Of Massage Therapy

In an attempt to understand how and why massage therapy is as effective as it seems to be, scientists and medical researchers from around the world have been studying it for decades. Some characteristics of massage therapy have been conclusively resolved with apparent consensus among the learned scholars, while other characteristics remain as inexplicably mysterious as ever. For instance, they all agree that when a certain amount of pressure is applied to a soft tissue such as a muscle, some changes occur within the affected muscles. They also all tend to agree that massage therapy promotes relaxation and reduces the stress which often leads to deterioration or worsening of certain physiological conditions.

Those characteristics of massage therapy which have not yet been explained by conventional science, gave rise to a number of theories and postulates. You will note that they are all prefaced with the word “might” to indicate uncertainty as they described possible health benefits of massage therapy:

– Might provide stimulation that may help block pain signals transmitted to the brain and this is called the “gate control theory” of decreasing or alleviating pain.

* Might promote better health by stimulating the lymphatic system to increase the flow of lymph, which is the secretion that carries disease fighting cells through the body.

* Might re-route the nervous system away from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic. In doing so, the fight-or-flight reaction of the sympathetic nervous system with its increased heart and breathing rates along with tightened muscles of distress are shunned in favor of the rest-and-digest reaction of the parasympathetic nervous system with its lowered heart rate, slowed breathing and relaxed muscles.

* Might be instrumental in effecting beneficial changes in the body by preventing fibrosis through the process of breaking up scar-like tissue

* Might arouse the body to discharge chemicals such as serotonin or endorphins which area known to give people the feelings of wellbeing.

* Might improve sleep patterns which is essential to pain control and healing processes.

* Might contribute to the overall mental and physiological health by the intimate interaction between the client and the therapist.

The following are specific cases and their reported benefits whether they are understood or merely observed with bewilderment:

* Students at a New Jersey Medical School who were given massage therapy before an exam displayed less anxiety, lower respiratory rates, a substantial increase in white blood cells and an enhanced immune system.

* Cancer patients at the James Cancer Hospital and Research Institute in Columbus, Ohio experienced less pain and decreased anxiety after receiving massage therapies than those who did not get such treatments.

* Studies at the University of South Carolina show that women who recently lost a child were less depressed after massage therapy.

* The National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that massage therapy improved weight gain in infants who were premature or those who were exposed to HIV. They also determined that massage therapy expedites recovery in patients who had abdominal surgery.

* Researchers at the University of the Miami School of Medicine Touch Research Institute discovered that massage therapy decreases high blood pressure, relieves migraine headaches, and generally increases alertness and performance in the workforce.

* Many additional studies confirm that massage therapy reduces heart rates, lowers blood pressure; increases blood circulation and lymph flow; relaxes stiffened and tense muscles while stimulating weak and inactive muscles to compensate for lack of movement due to an illness or an injury; speeds up the healing process after surgeries, disease and injuries; improves the range of vision; increases endorphins; reduces anxiety, tension, depression, pain and itching in burn patients; and Autistic children exhibit calmer and more predictable behavior.