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Flu shots help more than just the flu

separator A study of 286,000 people who were older than 65 has shown that people who have flu shots had to spend less time in the hospital for heart disease and strokes.

Researchers also found that people who had flu shots spent a third less time in the hospital for pneumonia. And they had half the risk of death from any cause.

The Centers for Disease control and Prevention recommends flu shots for adults who are 50 and older. Statistics from the year 2001 showed that about 63 percent of Americans who were older than 65 were immunized against the flu.

When flu season rolls around later this year, be sure you’re in line to be immunized.

Source: New England Journal of Medicine, 3 April 2003

Promising new treatment for Parkinson’s
For the first time, researchers seem to have found a treatment that can reverse the progression of Parkinson’s disease. The study using the treatment contained only five patients, but they all were in advanced stages of the disease and all showed strong improvement. One 64-year-old patient who was in constant pain and could hardly walk before the treatment is now able to walk several miles a day, eat his own food and go bowling.

During the study, researchers dripped a protein called GDNF into the area of the brain called the “putamen.” GDNF has been used in studies on mice and primates, which also showed improvement after the treatment.

The research is still in the early stages and needs to be tested on more human beings before it’s available to the general population.

Parkinson’s Disease Foundation; Nature, April 2003
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