Originally created 08/10/00

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Wellness seminar

Richard DuBois, chief of internal medicine at Atlanta Medical Center, will speak at the health and wellness seminar Your Health - Your Choice from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, at the Radisson Riverfront Hotel, One 10th St. Dr. DuBois, who is board certified in internal medicine, will discuss everyday steps people of all ages can take to prevent cancer and heart attacks. He'll focus on common-sense strategies for healthy living, including nutrition and exercise. Dr. DuBois is listed in the current issue of Best Doctors in America. Tickets are $10, but some complimentary tickets are available. For more information, call (706) 554-1535.

Epilepsy study

A large number of people thought to be suffering from epilepsy may have the wrong diagnosis, a new study suggests.

In the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, a researcher reports that about 42 percent of studied patients suffered from circulation problems, not epilepsy.

Dr. Amir Zaidi of the Manchester Heart Centre in Manchester, England, focused on 74 patients referred to him because they didn't respond to anti-convulsive medication prescribed for their epilepsy. By giving them a series of standard tests for cardiovascular health, Dr. Zaidi found that nearly 42 percent actually suffered from severe fainting.

Instead of anti-convulsive drugs, the patients should have been receiving cardiac drugs or pacemakers, he said.

Pre-eclampsia gene

A newly discovered gene mutation may help scientists understand pre-eclampsia, a potentially fatal condition caused by soaring blood pressure levels in pregnant women.

In the journal Science, researchers from Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and Albert Einstein University in New York report finding a 15-year-old boy with unusually high blood pressure carrying a gene mutation that causes the kidneys to absorb salt. The mutation makes kidney cells more sensitive to progesterone, a hormone that rises throughout pregnancy. Women with the gene mutation in the boy's family had unusually high blood pressure during their pregnancies.

Alcohol effects

Middle-age men who drink moderately may keep their minds sharper, a new study suggests.

A study of more than 3,000 Japanese-American men found that those with a mild alcohol intake - up to one drink a day - in middle age surpassed their peers in mental tests about 18 years later. The men had participated in a study of heart disease begun in 1964.

Scientists from the Department of Veterans Affairs in Honolulu and the University of Hawaii tested surviving members of the group and reported in the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health that moderate drinkers scored best, while heavy drinkers scored worst. Scientists theorize that small amounts of alcohol might help blood flow to the brain.

Food vaccine

Early tests suggest that doctors can immunize people against food-borne disease by feeding them genetically altered food.

Although the thought of it might sicken foes of genetically engineered foods, researchers are pleased with the work, which focused on a potato-based vaccine to combat the Norwalk virus.

The disease-fighting potato was developed at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. In the test, 24 volunteers ate virus-fighting potatoes and most of them developed antibodies to combat the virus, which can cause diarrhea and severe abdominal pain.