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[IPr] We could have told 'em so, right?

I thought briefly about posting this on "the big board" but didn't feel like 
being flamed by those there who can't imagine a power greater than their own. 
Poor, poor souls!
 Gil Linkswiler 47 yrs T1 MM508 5/2000, 4/2002

Attending Religious Services May Help Heart Health
Mon Jul 15,11:48 AM ET

By Alison McCook NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Diabetics ( <A HREF="http://rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/nm/hl_nm/inlinks/*http://rd.yahoo.com/DailyNews/manual/*http://search.news.yahoo.com/search/news?p=%22Diabetics%22&c=&n=20&yn=c&c=news&cs=nw">news</A> - <A HREF="http://rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/nm/hl_nm/inlinks/*http://rd.yahoo.com/DailyNews/manual/*http://search.yahoo.com/bin/search?cs=nw&p=diabetics">web sites</A>) 
who attend religious services at least once a year had lower levels of a 
marker of inflammation linked to heart disease than those who never attended 
religious services, a new US study has found.       

However, the authors note that they only measured how often people attended a 
religious service, and not how religious they were. Furthermore, there 
appeared to be no link between service attendance and the marker, called 
C-reactive protein (CRP), in people who were not diabetic. "It seemed to 
apply among people at the greatest risk of cardiovascular disease--the 
diabetics," study author Dr. Arch G. Mainous of the Medical University of 
South Carolina in Charleston told Reuters Health. Mainous suggested that the 
benefit of attending services may not be the act of attending services 
itself, but rather religion's ability to have a positive effect on people's 
lives, for example by providing a helping community. "You're probably looking 
at something that may be an artifact," he said.

 Previous research has suggested that elevated blood levels of CRP may be an 
independent predictor of heart disease. CRP is a protein the body releases as 
part of its response to infection and injury, and is a known marker of 
inflammation. During infection, for instance, blood CRP levels temporarily 
soar as the immune system jumps into action. More subtly, chronic CRP 
elevations have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. 
Inflammation is believed to play a key role in the hardening and narrowing of 
arteries that can lead to heart attack and stroke. People with diabetes 
typically have higher levels of CRP than non-diabetics, a fact that may help 
explain why diabetics have a higher-than-average risk of cardiovascular 

During the study, Mainous, along with Dr. Dana E. King and colleagues, used 
data collected as part of a nationwide health survey conducted from 1988 to 
1994. The survey included 556 people with diabetes, and all study 
participants were at least 40 years old. The researchers characterized 
participants as attenders of religious services if they indicated they went 
at least once a year. Around 62% of all survey participants said that they 
attended religious services, the authors report in the July issue of Diabetes 
Care. The investigators found that diabetics who never attended religious 
services had a higher risk of having elevated levels of CRP in their blood 
than attenders. The link between CRP and religious service attendance 
remained even when the researchers accounted for of other factors that can 
affect health, such as smoking, mobility and obesity.

 In an interview with Reuters Health, Mainous explained that there are many 
reasons why attending religious services may improve health. For example, 
going to religious services welcomes a person into a community, which can 
provide a network of social support. Attenders may have lower levels of 
stress than those who do not embrace religion, because faith can give "people 
a better sense of answering the questions of the universe," Mainous said. He 
suggested that some people who attend religious services may also be more 
likely to follow their religion's healthy recommendations about lifestyle, 
which may include no drinking, or following a particular diet. Further 
research is needed to determine exactly what happens in the body as a result 
of attending religious services, Mainous added. 

SOURCE: Diabetes Care 2002;25:1172-1176. 
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