> Diane-- I am a clinical social worker in NYC. I work with families and

couples. Do you know of a specific program which helps couple's deal with

the ongoing emotional and lifestyle issues related to stroke in one of the

partners? - Claudia Oberweger



> Diane,

We are a part of Retrouvaille and my husband wants to give a talk about

marriage and illness, since we know a lot about trying to mix both! Do you

have any resources that would help us? He "knows" the topic, but doesn't

have any idea of an outline, or goals for the talk.

Robin Carlino







Jana Staton will present on this twice at the Dallas Smart Marriages Conference

-- in a workshop and in the closing Marriage Rally on working with the medical

sites as one of the cutting-edge areas for our focus -- a place where our programs are

so obviously needed and a place where we can gain entry and access to

couples who are in a "heightened awareness learning mode'. We KNOW couples dealing

with stroke (heart disease, diabetics, cancer, etc) are going to need

help in keeping their marriages strong in the face of the changes

and challenges. We know marriage education courses are infinitely

adaptable and we've got experience with these adaptations in a variety

of medical settings. We just need to collect and organize.

The very first Smart Marriages Conference in 1997 included a keynote

session on using the PAIRS program with heart attack recovery couples

-- Dr Marty Sullivan of Duke

Center For Living said learning couples skills -- how to handle stress,

conflict, appreciations -- in a new way was one of the best predictors

of a good physical outcome for the patient AND ALSO one of the best

predictors, of course, for the on-going health of the marriage.

We've heard numerous times from Wayne Sotile on marriage and chronic

illness. See his workshop and order the recording below. And, we will

continue to work on this front and hope we've got lots to report after

2006 conference. - diane





Order CDs or MP3 downloads for $15.95

at
800-241-7785 or at http://www.iplaybacksmartmarriages.com



#754-504 After the Diagnosis:

Marriage Matters!


Wayne Sotile, PhD

Good marital functioning is never more important than when facing chronic illness.

Learn a practical, tested model to help couples not just manage but thrive.




#756-318

Getting Your Foot in the Healthcare Door

Jana Staton, PhD, Scott Haltzman, MD, DeWitt Baldwin, MD,

Carolyn Curtis, PhD, Greg Deitchler, MA

Learn how marriage educators are collaborating with hospitals,

health care systems and mental health centers to offer marriage

programs for new parents, cardio rehab, physicians and others.




755-317

Health Care and Marriage

Jana Staton, PhD, Bob Tures, EdD

Learn to talk to hospitals, HMOs and public health care providers

about the connection between marriage and health outcomes and how

to gain acceptance for marriage education in these settings.







MARRIAGE IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH!


Researchers

at Case Western Reserve University

in Cleveland asked a simple question



of 10,000 married men with no history

of chest pains (angina): "Does your wife



show you her love?"

Those men answering yes were found to experience significantly



less angina

in the next five years than husbands responding no - despite such

negative





indicators as elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes or

electrocardiogram

abnormalities.



- Bob Condor, Knight Ridder


**************



"There's

plenty of evidence that both human sexuality and intimacy and love and

marriage



are very, very good for our health," Dr. Stephen Bogdewic, vice chair

of family medicine at



Indiana University School of Medicine told Indianapolis Star reporter

Shari Rudavsky.



"If a new drug had the same impact, virtually every doctor in the

country would be



recommending it."



- Happy Marriage May Counter Work

Stress, Judy Monchuk, The London Free Press, October 26, 2004



**************



"A study of nearly 6,000 Americans with bladder cancer found that those

who were



married had better survival rates than single patients. Compared

with their married peers,



single patients were 26 percent more likely to die during the study

period - even when



researchers factored in patients' age, race and severity of their

cancer."



- Reuters Health, September 30, 2005, www.cancerpage.com


**************


"Researchers found men and women in

unhappy marriages suffered from increased



stress levels throughout the day at home and at work as well as higher

blood pressure



at midday at the office, which could raise the risk of heart attack or

stroke."




- Barnett, R. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 2005; vol 30:

pp36-43. News release, Brandeis University


**************



Poor social relationships are as damaging to physical health as

cigarette smoking
.






- HEALTHY MARRIAGE: WHY LOVE IS GOOD FOR YOU



This article on the Mayo Clinic website is one to clip and save for your

Community Healthy Marriage Initiative work. I don't have permission to send

you the whole article, but here are the high points:



Healthy marriage: Why love is good for you



The benefits of a healthy marriage include lower rates of disease, a longer

life span and a greater sense of well-being. Reasons include advantages of

cohabitation, financial stability and strong support networks.

. . . .

While the benefits are clear, the reason married couples live healthier

lives is more elusive. . . . But the prevailing explanation has to do with

stress management.



Hallmarks of a healthy marriage: All roads lead to stress reduction



. . . .For example, in a healthy marriage, two people share the task of

mowing the lawn, bringing in income or rearing children. With two people,

you have twice as many resources to address daily demands. Conversely, a

single head of household is more likely to face too many demands with not

enough resources ‹ the very definition of stress.

Marriage-related stress reducers: Basic themes



Many aspects of a healthy marriage contribute to stress reduction, such as:



* More money.



* Expanded support network.

* Improved behaviors.



Committed but unmarried couples don't show the same benefit



For the full article:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-marriage/MH00108



########################



- GOOD MARRIAGE HELPS HEART PATIENTS SURVIVE LONGER

November 20, 2006



KARACHI: Patients of heart failure can live longer depending on how healthy

are their relationships with their spouse.



Heart failure is a complex condition to deal with. The drugs used for heart

failure are continually changing although they are becoming more effective

and patients with heart disease must also adhere closely to a special diet

and monitor their weight carefully.



Social relationship factors may be especially crucial to managing a

difficult chronic condition such as heart failure, which makes stringent and

complex demands on patients and their families.



Researchers from the University of Arizona in Tucson analysed 189 men and

women and found that heart patients who had a higher-quality marriage were

more likely to survive over an eight-year follow-up period. Relationship

quality was more important for women¹s survival than men¹s.



Previously the researchers had shown that those who frequently had useful

discussions with their spouses about the illness and more positive than

negative interactions with their husbands or wives were more likely to be

alive after four years. After four more years, the researchers found, those

factors were still key in determining a patient¹s likelihood of survival,

and they were also more important than individual patient characteristics,

such as level of depression or anxiety or coping skills. There is increasing

evidence that a spouse¹s beneficial effect on their partner¹s health goes

beyond simple emotional support, and involves a collaborative effort of

coping with the disease. However, in some cases, the nature of the

relationship may mean a spouse¹s efforts at being helpful can backfire. The

findings of study appeared in a latest online issue of American Journal of

Cardiology.



##################

- WHY MARRIAGE IS GOOD FOR YOU



A year ago, the Sun-Times encountered a telling set of statistics: Finish

high school, marry before having a child, and don¹t have a child until

you¹re 20, and your chances of being poor are only 8 percent. The

institution of marriage is in decline, but remains at the heart of a strong

society. We decided to tell that story.



Chicago Sun Times

June 8, 2003

BY ANDREW HERRMANN

Staff Reporter



> The term "soul mate" is bandied about a lot these days, but soul mates are
> created, not found. One lady that I work with in a senior aqua class refers
> to her marriage in decades: "There have been good decades, bad decades and
> even decades that I have not liked him much, but we're still together." And
> after 60-plus years, he waits for her after class and they walk out of the
> health club, hand in hand.


> Married men are healthier. Why? Primarily, because they are far less likely
> to indulge in what Waite calls "Stupid Bachelor Tricks.'' They drink less
> than single men of the same age--about half as much. They also smoke less,
> drive drunk less and speed less. By one estimate, being married adds almost
> 10 years to a man's life.



> Married men have more sex. Forget James Bond--43 percent of married men say

> they have sex at least twice a week, compared to just 26 percent of single

> men.

>

> Married men make more money. They earn at least 10 percent more, and perhaps

> as much as 40 percent. They are more productive at work, possibly driven by

> an obligation to provide for their family. And often their wives handle much

> of the work at home, freeing the husbands to specialize in making money.

>

> Key facts about marriage and women:

>

> Married women have long been told that marriage may be good for men, but not

> so for women. True, married women are stressed, but that's usually because

> of children. Comparing the mental health of single mothers to married ones,

> those with a legal partner fare better.

>

> Married women live longer. In a Waite study of 6,000 families cited in her

> book The Case for Marriage, 9 out of 10 married women alive at age 48

> reached age 65; 8 out of 10 never-married and divorced women reached

> retirement age.

>

> Married women have more sex. Thirty-nine percent said they had sex two to

> three times per week, compared to just 20 percent of single women.

>

> Married women are better off financially. Though married women with children

> have lower personal earnings than single women because they are more likely

> to stay at home and raise children, they benefit from their husband's

> income. Married families have the highest incomes--an average of $41,000 in

> 1997, compared to $19,000 for households headed by a divorced person,

> according to the Federal Reserve Board. Never-married single parents

> reported a household income of only $15,000.

>

> Children, too

>

> And what about the kids?

>

> "A healthy marriage is the most successful mechanism we have to support the

> healthy development of our children,'' says Wade Horn, the Bush

> administration's point man on marriage. On average, parental divorce drives

> down a child's standard of living by a third.

>

> Children raised in single-parent households are, on average, more likely to

> have health problems, engage in sexual activity earlier and produce more

> out-of-wedlock kids, says Horn, citing university and government research.

>

> One fourth of kids in mother-only and remarried families repeat a grade,

> compared to 14 percent in married families. And, Horn says, living in a

> single-parent family approximately doubles the risk that a child will drop

> out of high school.


> "A healthy marriage is the most successful mechanism we have to support the
> healthy development of our children,'' says Wade Horn, the Bush
> administration's point man on marriage. On average, parental divorce drives
> down a child's standard of living by a third.


#####################



- MARRIAGE GOOD FOR MEN

December 15, 2004



(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Listen up men: Marriage is good for you -- and

particularly good for your health.



That¹s the key finding from Harvard researchers who studied the effects of

marriage termination, whether through death of a wife or divorce, and

remarriage on more than 40,000 men who were between 40 and 75 years old when

the study began in 1986. Researchers surveyed the participants on their

marital status, diet, exercise, and overall health every four years until

1994.



Results show men whose wives had died consumed greater amounts of alcohol

and cut down on the amount of vegetables they ate. However, widowed and

divorced men who remarried increased their vegetable intake and reduced the

amount of alcohol they drank. They also consumed more lean poultry and

decreased their intake of sugary drinks.



But it wasn¹t all good news. Men who remarried put on weight and also cut

back on the amount of time they exercised.



But overall, the investigators believe remarriage benefited the men¹s

health. The findings are in line with previous research linking a general

decline in health and increase in mortality to marital termination.



³We conclude that marital termination may have an impact on health by

adversely affecting a range of health and dietary behaviors in men,² the

authors write. ³Clinicians and other health professionals should be

attentive to marital terminations in their patients¹ lives as they could

change diet and other health behaviors.²



This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by

e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to:

http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.



SOURCE: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 2005;59:56-62





#####################

subject: Marriage, chocolate good for us -2/27/03



from: Smart Marriages®



HEALTH



Marriage, chocolate good for us

CanWest News Service



Thursday, February 27, 2003



OTTAWA -- Here's some health news for you: Being married helps you overcome

illness or injuries faster, but only as long as the state of your union

itself is healthy.



Here's some more: Chocolate is good for your heart.



Medical researchers in Ohio are monitoring married couples' levels of stress

hormones as the spouses discuss their problems, hopes and ambitions.



A marriage that builds positive feelings can improve overall better health,

the Ohio team has concluded. It can even help small wounds heal faster, as

love makes your immune system stronger.



But marital fighting can weaken immunity, making vaccinations less effective

and slowing the healing of small wounds.



''There's growing evidence that the quality of marriage is related to

health,'' said Dr. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, director of health psychology at

Ohio State University. ''The question is, how? If you have a good marriage,

do you sleep better? Eat better? Probably so. But what we're finding is that

the quality of interaction shows in the way the body responds through stress

hormones and immune function.''



The researchers videotaped couples as they discussed a trait each partner

wanted to change about himself or herself.



Most of the discussions were positive, they said. ''We're asking the couples

to talk about something they want to change, yet there's a degree of

positivity to the discussion,'' Kiecolt-Glaser said. That translates into

lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood at that time. The

lower the cortisol, the faster compounds are delivered to a wound to begin

the healing process.



They also made pea-sized blisters on each spouse's arm, and monitored these

for activity of natural wound-healing chemicals the body produces. ''We can

actually study what's going on at the wound site during the social

interaction,'' said Dr. Ronald Glaser. He's a behavioural medicine

specialist at Ohio State (and husband of Kiecolt-Glaser).



Their earlier study of 90 newlywed couples showed that arguments between

husbands and wives weaken their immune system.



In revisiting the original 90 couples 10 years later, the scientists

discovered that elevated hormone levels from the first round of studies were

a near-flawless way to predict divorce. Nineteen per cent of the couples had

split up, and all of those had shown higher levels of at least three stress

hormones in the early tests.



''There's no doubt different kinds of emotions produce different

physiological changes in the body,'' Glaser said.



Meanwhile the idea that chocolate is good for your heart comes from

California.



Researchers at the University of California at Davis looked at dark

chocolate and its possible health benefits. They found that flavan-3-ols,

the main flavonoids in cocoa, may bring a decreased risk of cardiovascular

disease.



''Cocoa contains the same nutrients found in other plant foods, including

minerals and specific antioxidants that help ward off diseases such as heart

disease," said Althea Zanecosky of the American Dietetic Association. (The

association publishes its chocolate research in its journal this month.) As

well, oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil, makes up

one-third of the fat in chocolate and has been shown to be beneficial for

heart health, she says.



http://www.canada.com/health/story.html?id=00D6EFE8-EAE8-4EA2-B831-5E5C003AC

281



#####################



© Copyright 2003 The Daily News (Nanaimo)

subject: Marriage is good for you - 10/27/00



from: Smart Marriages



Marriage is good for you



http://www.healthblast.com/cgi-bin/exec/sites/sciencenews/story?story_id=101

88&session_id=432369022.16121.N001



PALO ALTO, Calif., Oct. 27 (UPI) - New research indicates marriage is good

for both men and women because it leads - at least for a few years - to a

surge in physical activity, which strengthens both the body and the mind.



In a study published Monday in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Dr. Abby

C. King of Stanford University said her study indicates marriage usually

leads to healthful behaviors, including exercise and proper eating.



The study, which involved 302 women and 256 men evaluated five times over a

10-year period, found direct correlations in all age groups between marital

status and activity levels. The singles-to-married group was the only one

whose activity levels increased during the second data collection period.



King told United Press International that before their weddings, however,

they reported lessening physical activity, apparently "due to stress or time

pressures that might occur in preparing to make a transition to a married

state."



King said the 23 participants in the study, who went from married to single

status, showed the same pattern of physical activity as did the 395 who

remained married. But the 35 new brides and grooms reported a pattern of

increases in physical activity in the several years following marriage,

compared to the 105 who remained single.



She said researchers noted a "precipitous drop" in activity levels of single

people who were preparing to marry.



King told UPI, "Then when they got married, that trend was reversed. "



The data, she said, reveals "a lot of tantalizing clues" about

relationships:



- People who are playing the dating game are likely to keep up physical

activity, unlike those who are single but have plans to marry.



- People may stop exercising while planning for marriage because

preparations take them away from their normal way of life.



- People begin exercising after marriage because such a relationship is

stabilizing, and allows an increase in physical activity.



- People in marriages normally receive support to exercise from spouses.



- Marriage also reduces stress and rates of depression and anxiety, probably

in large part because of the benefits of physical exercise.



- She said other studies have shown that marriage, in terms of health, is

better for men than women, which "could be due to the nurturing role women

play, and they feel it's their job to make sure the men stay healthy."



Also, she said, women do things like opening the mail, often a stressful

event.



King told UPI, "This research says we need to pay more attention to these

important transitions in peoples' lives."



"Marriage is one. Entry into the workforce is a major time when physical

activity decreases and weight increases."



The findings of her study suggest, she said, that "positive psychological

benefits" accrue from marriage, "and we know it's linked with control and

management of stress. People who exercise and have support of a spouse have

less of a chance of becoming depressed."



By the 10th year of the study, most all of those studied, whether married,

single, people who married and became single again, or engaged, showed about

the same activity levels, and all had declined slightly since the first year

of the study. King said marriage did not change overall levels of physical

activity but a temporary shift.



"Increasingly, health behavior change has been conceptualized as a series of

psychological processes or stages," King said. "Specifically, a life-span

perspective encourages an increased focus on periods and transitions in life

when behaviors such as physical activity may be significantly altered."



on 4/6/07 10:12 PM, Aviva Patz at avivapatz@yahoo.com wrote:



> Hi. I’d love to get your input (or that of experts you represent) for an

> article I’m writing tentatively called “Your Best-Health Timeline” for SHAPE

> magazine.

>

> The story will lay out FRESH, SURPRISING, SPECIFIC moves women can make at

> various times of the day, week, month, season and/or year (up to 5 years) to

> maximize their health. The moves can relate to physical condition, emotional

> well-being, mental health and acuity, body image, nutrition, fitness, etc. For

> example, it could be updating your summer moisturizer to take advantage of

> newly introduced UVA-blockers, scheduling a booster shot (most adults don’t

> know they need them), looking at your body a different way in the morning to

> boost your confidence and checking your birthday suit on your birthday for new

> or changed moles. These aren't the best examples but you probably get the

> idea!

>

> Moves based on NEW RESEARCH will be much appreciated!! And please, no product

> or supplement suggestions unless they’re tied to new research.

>

> I need all feedback by next Friday, April 13. Thanks so much in advance! And

> feel free to pass this query along to colleagues who you think would like to



I’d tell them to get married, take a class to improve their odds of having a happy marriage, and stay married.

There is all kinds of research that shows married women are happier, healthier, and even look better.



----------------------

> - HAPPY MARRIAGE CAN MAKE YOU LOOK YOUNGER

> United Press International

> January 30, 2006

>

> COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Jan 30, 2006 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Danish researchers say

> a happy marriage and plenty of money can take years off of a person's

> appearance.

>

> The study, conducted by the University of Southern Demark, found that a

> married woman with a high social status, who has not spent a lot of time in

> the sun, could look at least seven years younger than a woman who is single,

> of a low social class and has spent excessive time soaking up harmful rays,

> the Daily Mail reported.

>

> A happy marriage can make a woman look almost two years younger by the time

> she reaches middle age. Marital harmony can make men, in turn, look up to a

> year younger.

>

> Heavy drinking was found to put a year on the faces of both sexes along with

> chronic asthma, diabetes and regularly taking painkillers.

>

> Over-exposure to the sun was seen to add 1.3 years to a woman's perceived

> age while depression made women look 3.9 years older and men 2.4 years

> older.

>

> Perhaps surprisingly, smoking 20 cigarettes a day for 20 years was found to

> add only a year of extra wrinkles to men and half that to women.



----------------------

MARRIAGE AND AGING WELL:

PARADE, SEPT 9/16/01



Cover story:

"Seven keys to Aging Well: A new, groundbreaking study reveals some

surprising - and hopeful - findings." by Lou Ann Walker



"How do some people age so successfully? Many of us assume it takes genes

or dumb luck. So here's the surprise. Arguably the longest and most

comprehensive study of human development ever undertaken is just revealing

its final results: WE ARE VERY MUCH IN CONTROL OF OUR OWN AGING. The secret

to a long and happy life, it seems, does not lie as much in our stars as in

ourselves. . . . "



The article goes on to list "A Strong, Solid Marriage" as one of the seven

keys. "This is important for both physical and psychological health.

Happy-Well people were six times more likely to be in good marriages than

were the Sad-Sick. The study also found that, overall, marriages improved

with time -- if people were willing to work out the bumps."






> "A good marriage at age 50 predicted positive aging at 80. But,

> surprisingly, low cholesterol levels did not."



Cambridge Chronicle

More secrets to longevity: vacations and relationships

Richard Griffin

August 25, 2005



If you were to seek advice from a doctor about extending life into your 90s,

what would you expect to hear?



Most physicians, I suspect, would respond by urging ongoing care of your

blood pressure and maintaining strict control of your cholesterol. The most

savvy among them would almost surely emphasize the benefits of physical

exercise. And presumably they would want you to have physical check-ups at

regular intervals.



Because a friend was in town celebrating the 50th anniversary of his

graduation from Harvard College, I went to a symposium this June, in which

panelists spoke about various health issues. Most of the speakers were

physician classmates reporting on their research. I listened without avid

attention until the last presenter took the stand.



He, George Vaillant, is a psychiatrist who serves as a professor at Harvard

Medical School. More important, he is director of the university's longtime

study of human development, a role on which he drew for his valuable 2002

book, "Aging Well."



In his brief remarks, Dr. Vaillant shared with members of the Class of 1955

his formula for those among them interested in returning for their 75th

reunion. His two-fold agenda for longevity must have astonished anyone

expecting the conventional wisdom.



What this veteran researcher recommends is, first, taking good vacations. He

finds solid therapeutic values in getting away from one's home ground for

extended periods. Pursuing one's interests and avocations in other places

strikes him as an excellent way of adding to a person's years as well as to

the enjoyment of them.



The second piece of advice Vaillant gave to the alums was "take care of your

marriage." He considers the quality of one's personal relationships to have

a strong impact upon longevity. For those who are married, solid harmonious

relationships with their spouses have a central place in their lives or at

least, ought to if well-being is to be assured.



So the members of the Class of 1955 went away from this talk with advice

that must have seemed fresh and new. Many of them, I suspect, were amazed to

be given such a simple prescription for living longer. "Is that all I have

to do?" some must have asked themselves.



On examination, however, the double-barreled advice may not prove all that

simple. Many of the people to whom it was addressed have probably become

masters at ignoring one or both pieces of this counsel.



The hard-driving, Type A personalities among them may be workaholics who

have never developed habits of leisure. Their neglect of taking time off

from work may be ingrained by now so deeply that even retirement will not

free them of its effects. Powerful cultural forces in American life have

enshrined unrelenting work as the supreme value.



These same people and others may have failed to cherish their marriages, and

suffered from the fall-out that so often results. Being a caring husband or

wife requires priority-setting that goes against conventional notions of

success.



Retirement, however, does give many people an opportunity to set out anew

toward a life that is more fully human. It can offer the chance for living

with a set of values capable of rendering us more relaxed and, perhaps, more

loving.



The beauty of this change may be, as Vaillant suggests, the lengthening of

one's years because of a growth in life satisfaction. To me, it also

signifies a recognition of the importance that spirit plays in both physical

and mental well-being. Ultimately, we prove to be more than our body; the

soul, too, needs nurturing.



Vaillant has not pulled this advice about marriage out of thin air. In his

book referred to above, he grounds this recommendation in the decades-long

research project which he directs. Here is what he writes about one of the

findings: "A good marriage at age 50 predicted positive aging at 80. But,

surprisingly, low cholesterol levels did not."



For fear the two pieces of advice seem elitist, meant only for affluent

marrieds who graduated from a notoriously privileged college, let me apply

this counsel more broadly.



Not everyone can take vacations like those that show up in the travel

section of newspapers. By reason of disability, some of us cannot endure the

rigors of certain forms of transport. And others of us lack the funds

necessary for wide-ranging trips.



However, even people not able to travel can adopt the spirit of the first

recommendation. This we might accomplish by building change into our lives.

By learning something new, for instance, we might discover the moral

equivalent of travel.



The advice about taking care of one's marriage can also apply to those who

do not have a spouse. The quality of our human relationships in general

surely conduces to our overall well-being. By making sure that our

friendships flourish we help to build our own self-worth and find our

positive feelings about ourselves reinforced.



Richard Griffin of Cambridge is a regularly featured columnist in Community

Newspaper Company publications.



Copyright Griffin 2005.





- WANT TO LIVE TO A HEALTHY 85? STAY TRIM (And, married......)

LINDSEY TANNER

Associated Press

November 20, 2006



CHICAGO - One of the largest, longest studies of aging found one more reason

to stay trim and active: It could greatly raise your odds of living to at

least age 85.



In fact, chances of being healthy in old age are better than even for people

who at mid-life have normal blood pressure, good grip strength and several

other physical characteristics associated with being fit and active.



These include normal levels of blood glucose and fats in the blood called

triglycerides - both also associated with avoiding excess calories and

eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.



Other habits long linked with good health and well-being - avoiding smoking

and excess alcohol, AND BEING MARRIED - also improved chances of surviving

well into the 80s.



The study involved 5,820 Japanese-American men from the Hawaiian island of

Oahu, who were followed for up to 40 years, but the researchers said the

results likely apply to women and men of other ethnic heritage, too.



"There appears to be a lot we can do about modifying our risk and increasing

the odds for aging more healthfully," said lead author Dr. Bradley Willcox,

a scientist at the Pacific Health Research Institute in Honolulu.



"It's good news because it really gives you something to zero in on if we

want to be healthy at older age," Willcox said.



The results appear in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical

Association.



The study shows "that you can still live healthy until age 85 if you live

right," said Dr. Carl Lavie, medical director of preventive cardiology at

Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans.



Most factors the researchers identified as contributing to longevity have

long been associated with healthy living but the study does a good job of

"putting it together in one package" and showing the combined benefits, said

Lavie, who was not involved in the research.



While Japanese-American men tend to be thinner and healthier than the

general U.S. population, Lavie said it makes sense to think that the same

factors that influence their survival would also affect other people.



The study notes that people aged 85 and older are the fastest-growing age

group in most industrialized countries and are among the largest consumers

of health care resources.



Figuring out how to help people remain healthy as they age is thus a major

research priority, the study authors said.



It's also a priority for doctors with middle-aged patients who want to know

how to survive into old age, said Dr. Gary Schaer, a cardiologist at Rush

University Medical Center in Chicago.



"This kind of paper directly affects how I take care of patients," Schaer

said. "It's a really important study."



Study participants were in their 50s on average when the research began;

3,369 or 58 percent died before age 85. Health was evaluated at the start

and then at eight follow-up examinations.



Eleven percent - 655 men - reached a milestone the researchers dubbed

"exceptional survival." That was reaching age 85 without any mental or

physical impairment, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease,

Parkinson's disease and diabetes.



The men who had none of nine disease risk factors at mid-life had a nearly

70 percent chance of living to age 85 and a 55 percent chance of reaching

the exceptional milestone.



By contrast, those with six or more risk factors at mid-life had a 22

percent chance of living to age 85 and a less than 10 percent chance of

exceptional survival.



The nine mid-life risk factors were: being overweight, meaning a body-mass

index of 25 or more; having high blood glucose levels, which can lead to

diabetes; having high triglyceride levels, which contribute to heart

disease; having high blood pressure; having low grip strength - unable to

squeeze at least 86 pounds of pressure with a handheld device; smoking;

consuming three or more alcoholic drinks daily; not graduating from high

school; and being unmarried.



"These risk factors can be easily measured in a clinical setting and are,

for the most part, modifiable," the researchers said.



The study was paid for by grants from the National Institutes of Health and

the Hawaii Community Foundation.





###############

AND, ON THE TOPICS OF HEALTH AND CHEATING:



Last Updated: 2002-12-03 13:00:25 -0400 (Reuters Health)



HAMBURG, Germany (Reuters) - Extramarital sex can increase your risk of

having a heart attack, a British cardiologist has told a congress on sexual

health in the German city of Hamburg.



Graham Jackson, a heart specialist at St. Thomas's Hospital in London, found

couples in long-term relationships were far less likely to have heart

attacks while having sex than those having affairs or one-night stands.



"We found that 75% of the cases of sudden death during sexual activity

involved people who were taking part in extramarital sexual intercourse,"

Jackson told the European congress late Monday.



He added the danger of having heart failure during extramarital sex was

exacerbated even further when there was a significant difference in age

between the partners.



Jackson said that even though heart rates accelerate considerably during all

sexual activity, his research found "couples in long-term relationships in

general hardly faced any risk of heart failure."



He said measurements on blood pressure and heart rates found sex is

generally comparable to a brisk 20-minute walk, with an orgasm putting a

strain on the heart similar to an ensuing walk up a flight of stairs.



"All in all, only 1% of all heart attacks are triggered by sexual activity,"

Jackson said.

##################

AND, THEN THERE'S THIS:

WOMEN ENJOY BEST SEX WITHIN MARRIAGE:




e=oddlyEnoughNews&storyID=1721310>



Reuters

12 November 2002



Women Enjoy Best Sex Within Marriage



LONDON (Reuters) - Forget forbidden flings and passionate one night

stands, it's married women who enjoy the best sex.



Two thirds of married women say the best sex they've had is with their

husband, compared to 13 percent who say it was when they were single and

just nine percent when having an affair, a survey by British health

magazine Top Sante said Tuesday.



"This survey turns on its head the idea that the best sex is when we are

footloose, fancy free and single," Juliette Kellow, Top Sante's editor,

said.



"The truth is truly great sex and deep intimacy are most likely to happen

within the trusting, committed environment of marriage or a long-term

relationship."



Men will be able to draw reassurance from the findings, based on a survey

of 2,000 women across the UK. More than half of women think their partner

has a "gorgeous body," 69 percent are happy with their man's weight, and

93 percent are pleased with his "manhood."



Even after 14 years of marriage, 63 percent of women still fancy their

husband as much as when they first met and 65 percent think sex never

goes off the boil with the right man.



But although 95 percent of women believe being faithful is important in a

long-term relationship, 16 percent admitted to having affairs.



Most blamed TV shows such as "Sex And The City" for the breakdown of

relationships, with 74 percent saying such programs give out the message

that infidelity is normal.



####################

FRESH, SURPRISING, SPECIFIC moves women can make at

various times of the day, week, month, season and/or year (up to 5 years) to

maximize their health



This new book is a fascinating gold mine of info about the countless ways our relationships affect our health and happiness.



Goleman, Daniel. Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships,

New York, Bantam Books, 2006.



A few notes as a teaser:



• The biological influences passing from one person to another are clearly more subtle and have more profound impact than has been previously understood. A life well lived must take into account the quality of our relationships.



••In one study, elderly people with engaging, supportive social lives had better cognitive abilities seven years later than did those who were more isolated. When Goleman’s mother retired from college teaching, she offered a free room to graduate students from East Asian cultures, where older people are appreciated and respected. They became “family.”



***For another example, Goleman reports on a study that shows the impact of human touch on reducing stress and pain. In fact, some hospitals in rural India don’t provide food for patients; they depend on families to participate in caregiving because the patients do so much better with the supportive family around them.





COMPONENTS OF SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE



Social Awareness

Social Awareness refers to a spectrum that runs from instantaneously sensing another’s inner state, to understanding her feelings and thoughts, to “getting” complicated social situations: It includes:



• Primal empathy: Feeling with others; sensing nonverbal emotional signals.

• Attunement: Listening with full receptivity; attuning to a person.

• Empathetic accuracy: Understanding another person’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions.

• Social cognition: Knowing how the social world works.





Social Facility

Simply sensing how another feels, or knowing what they think or intend, does not guarantee fruitful interactions. Social facility builds on social awareness to allow smooth, effective interactions. The spectrum of social facility includes:



• Synchrony: Interacting smoothly at the nonverbal level.

• Self-presentation: Presenting ourselves effectively.

• Influence: Shaping the outcome of social interactions.

• Concern: Caring about others’ needs and acting accordingly.















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