For Your Health

New research from more than 20 international studies suggests that moderate and long-term caffeine consumption — about 4 cups of coffee a day — may help prevent such diseases as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Scientists believe caffeine recovers losses to the brain's health, but exactly how remains to be answered:

"We are all desperate for a cure, but I would be very cautious about gobbling down 8 cups of coffee to prevent Alzheimer’s disease," said Marsel Mesulam, director of the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Northwestern University. "It's interesting scientifically and chemically, but it’s not a call to action yet."

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For the first time in 40 years rheumatoid arthritis is on the rise among women, but declining among men. Experts hope the findings from this Mayo Clinic research will raise awareness about the condition:

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota say rheumatoid arthritis cases rose 2.5 percent between 1995 and 2007, after 40 years of decline, but fell among men in the same 12-year period.

The condition is a form of arthritis which happens when the body's immune system attacks joints. This causes pain and swelling, which can lead to problems with mobility. It often starts between 40 and 50 years of age and women are three times more likely to be affected by the condition than men.

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A new reason to brush your teeth: A study of over 12,000 people in Scotland suggests a link between good oral hygiene and a reduced risk of heart disease. Some scientists believe inflammation from gum disease could contribute to plaque build-up in the arteries:

"We were surprised to find a relationship between toothbrushing frequency and both cardiovascular disease and inflammatory markers in the blood," said Richard Watt, co-author of a study published this week in the BMJ.

"We have not established a causal relationship, however. More research is needed to test if improving patients' oral hygiene to reduce their gum inflammation has an effect on cardiovascular disease risk," added Watt, who is with the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London.

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