Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Reblog] Take A Break

Always thought it was a good idea to take a break from sitting every hour or so…
This came from a post at LearnStuff.org
Take A BreakIf you think working overtime, skipping your lunch hour and staying chained to your desk will make you more productive, you need to cut yourself some slack and take a break.Working non-stop without taking a break can increase your chances of weight gain, heart disease and worse. Staring at a computer screen for more than 2 hours per day can cause Computer Vision Syndrome, a real affliction, which causes blurry vision, headaches, dry eyes and can lead to long-term nearsightedness. However, getting up and away from your desk for just 5 minutes can alleviate eye strain and reduce fatigue in addition to making you feel better. The mere act of standing at your desk instead of sitting at it can help you burn up to 2500 calories per week. Not bad for just standing around.Work hard and break hard; doing so will make you a healthier, happier and more productive employee.

November 6, 2012 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Complex World of Gut Microbes Fine-Tune Body Weight

More research needed, still these scientists may be on to a contributing factor in weight control…

From the 6 June 2012 article at Science Daily

Microorganisms in the human gastrointestinal tract form an intricate, living fabric made up of some 500 to 1000 distinct bacterial species, (in addition to other microbes). Recently, researchers have begun to untangle the subtle role these diverse life forms play in maintaining health and regulating weight….

Research conducted by the authors and others has demonstrated that hydrogen-consuming methanogens appear in greater abundance in obese as opposed to normal weight individuals. Further, the Firmicutes — a form of acetogen — also seem to be linked with obesity. Following fermentation, SCFAs persist in the colon. Greater concentration of SCFAs, especially propionate, were observed in fecal samples from obese as opposed to normal weight children. (SCFAs also behave as signaling molecules, triggering the expression of leptin, which acts as an appetite suppressor.)

While it now seems clear that certain microbial populations help the body process otherwise indigestible carbohydrates and proteins, leading to greater energy extraction and associated weight gain, experimental results have shown some inconsistency. For example, while a number of studies have indicated a greater prevalence of Bacteroidetes in lean individuals and have linked the prevalence of Firmicutes with obesity, the authors stress that many questions remain.

Alterations in gut microbiota are also of crucial concern for the one billion people worldwide who suffer from undernutrition. Illnesses resulting from undernutrition contribute to over half of the global fatalities in children under age 5. Those who do survive undernutrition often experience a range of serious, long-term mental and physical effects. The role of gut microbial diversity among the undernourished has yet to receive the kind of concentrated research effort applied to obesity — a disease which has reached epidemic proportions in the developed world.

Exploiting microbes affecting energy extraction may prove a useful tool for non-surgically addressing obesity as well as treating undernutrition, though more research is needed for a full understanding of regulatory mechanisms governing the delicate interplay between intestinal microbes and their human hosts….

June 8, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When You Eat Matters, Not Just What You Eat

From the 17 May 2012 article at ScienceDaily

When it comes to weight gain, when you eat might be at least as important as what you eat. That’s the conclusion of a study reported in the Cell Press journal Cell Metabolism published early online on May 17thWhen mice on a high-fat diet are restricted to eating for eight hours per day, they eat just as much as those who can eat around the clock, yet they are protected against obesity and other metabolic ills, the new study shows. The discovery suggests that the health consequences of a poor diet might result in part from a mismatch between our body clocks and our eating schedules.

“Every organ has a clock,” said lead author of the study Satchidananda Panda of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. That means there are times that our livers, intestines, muscles, and other organs will work at peak efficiency and other times when they are — more or less — sleeping….

…”When we eat randomly, those genes aren’t on completely or off completely,” Panda said. The principle is just like it is with sleep and waking, he explained. If we don’t sleep well at night, we aren’t completely awake during the day, and we work less efficiently as a consequence…

May 18, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , | Leave a comment

Weight Regain After Loss Potentially Dangerous for Postmenopausal Women

From the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center 12 December 2011 press release

…shedding the pounds may have some negative consequences on the overall health of older women if the weight loss is not maintained, according to a new study by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study showed that some older women who lose weight gain a lot of their weight back within a year. Importantly, the weight regained is mostly in the form of fat, rather than muscle.

“The body composition of some of the women was worse than before their weight loss,” said Barbara Nicklas, Ph.D., a gerontologist at the J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging and Rehabilitation at Wake Forest Baptist and principal investigator for the study. “When older women lose weight, they also lose lean mass. Most women will gain a lot of the weight back, but the majority of the weight regained is fat.”…

 

“Most people will regain their weight after they lose it.” Nicklas said. “Young people tend to regain weight in the proportion that they lost it. But the older women in our study did not appear to be regaining the muscle that they lost during initial weight loss in the same way.”

The long term consequences of losing muscle mass in middle aged and older women is yet unknown, but in combination with the loss in bone density known to occur as we age, the loss of muscle could increase their fall risk, among other things.

“There are certainly a lot of health benefits to weight loss, if you can keep the weight off,” Nicklas said. “For older women who lose weight, however, it is particularly important that they keep the weight off and continue to eat protein and stay physically active so that, if the weight does come back, it will be regained as muscle instead of fat.”

She cautioned that the results from this study were limited to sedentary, abdominally obese, postmenopausal women, and the findings may differ in men or in younger populations….

Read the entire press release

December 29, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Nutrition | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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