Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Reducing Alzheimer’s risk through exercise – Two news releases

Burning more calories linked with greater gray matter volume, reduced Alzheimer’s risk (11 March 2016EurkAlert)

Excerpt – “Whether they jog, swim, garden or dance, physically active older persons have larger gray matter volume in key brain areas responsible for memory and cognition, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UCLA.

The findings, published today in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, showed also that people who had Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment experienced less gray matter volume reduction over time if their exercise-associated calorie burn was high.

A growing number of studies indicate physical activity can help protect the brain from cognitive decline, said investigator James T. Becker, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, Pitt School of Medicine. But typically people are more sedentary as they get older, which also is when the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias increases.

Different kinds of physical activity shown to improve brain volume & cut Alzheimer’s risk in half (another 11 March 2016 EurkAlert)

Excerpt- “LOS ANGELES, CA/PITTSBURGH, PA, March 11, 2016: A new study shows that a variety of physical activities from walking to gardening and dancing can improve brain volume and cut the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 50%.

This research, conducted by investigators at UCLA Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh, is the first to show that virtually any type of aerobic physical activity can improve brain structure and reduce Alzheimer’s risk. The study, funded by the National Institute of Aging, was published on March 11 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.”

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March 11, 2016 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Physical activity as medicine among Family Health Teams: Study

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An interdisciplinary primary care model ideal setting to promote physical activity as medicine

From the 2 February 2015 Canadian Science Publishing site

To better understand the current use of physical activity as medicine among Family Health Teams (FHTs) in Ontario, researchers at the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and the Centre for Family Medicine Family Health Team conducted an environmental scan of 102 FHTs. They published their findings today in the journalApplied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

Family Health Teams (FHTs) are part of a shift towards a multidisciplinary primary care model that addresses the healthcare needs of a community by allowing different healthcare professionals to work collaboratively under one roof.  Currently, FHTs serve a relatively small percentage of Ontarians; however, their multi-disciplinary structure may create an ideal environment to enable physical activity promotion as most Canadians receive healthcare though the primary care system. Physical activity has well-established health benefits; however, the best way to engage Canadians in an active lifestyle remains largely unknown.

Before this environmental scan, the number and types of physical activity promotion services, and the types of professionals providing physical activity counselling in Ontario FHTs was not known .

The researchers found that almost 60% of responding FHTs in Ontario offered a physical activity service.  However, the types, durations and targeted populations of the services varied depending on the individual FHT.  Physical activity services were often restricted to people with specific conditions or needs rather than available to all individuals.

According to the study, “many different types of allied health professionals were facilitating physical activity services.  The diversity in the qualifications is concerning, as it suggests that individuals providing physical activity therapy do not always have qualifications related to physical activity prescription and counselling.”

Cameron Moore, from the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and co-author  of the study said, “It is promising that almost 60% of responding FHTs offered a physical activity service.  However, continued efforts are needed to increase the accessibility and standardization of physical activity therapy offered though primary care.“

“In Ontario, Kinesiology is a newly accredited professional designation with a scope of practice that includes physical activity promotion and prescription. We feel that physical activity counsellors who are Registered Kinesiologists with expertise in physical activity prescription and behavior change counselling are ideally suited as primary care providers in FHTs.”

The article “Physical Activity as Medicine among Family Health Teams: An Environmental Scan of Physical Activity Services in an Interdisciplinary Primary Care Setting” was published today in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

 

February 3, 2015 Posted by | Consumer Health, health care | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Repost] Sitting for long periods increases risk of disease and early death, regardless of exercise — ScienceDaily

Sitting for long periods increases risk of disease and early death, regardless of exercise — ScienceDaily.

Excerpts from the 19 January 2015 article

Source:
University Health Network (UHN)
Summary:
The amount of time a person sits during the day is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and death, regardless of regular exercise, according to a review study.
The amount of time a person sits during the day is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and death, regardless of regular exercise.
Credit: © elen31 / Fotolia

The amount of time a person sits during the day is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and death, regardless of regular exercise, according to a review study published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“More than one half of an average person’s day is spent being sedentary — sitting, watching television, or working at a computer,” said Dr. David Alter, Senior Scientist, Toronto Rehab, University Health Network (UHN), and Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. “Our study finds that despite the health-enhancing benefits of physical activity, this alone may not be enough to reduce the risk for disease.”

……

The authors found the negative effects of sitting time on health, however, are more pronounced among those who do little or no exercise than among those who participate in higher amounts of exercise.

……

“Avoiding sedentary time and getting regular exercise are both important for improving your health and survival,” said Dr. Alter. “It is not good enough to exercise for 30 minutes a day and be sedentary for 23 and half hours.”

In the interim, Dr. Alter underlines strategies people can use to reduce sitting time. The target is to decrease sedentary time by two to three hours in a 12-hour day.

…..

January 21, 2015 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] MyFitnessPal Works If You Use It | The Health Care Blog

MyFitnessPal Works If You Use It | The Health Care Blog. (November 24, 2014)

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 9.33.22 AMYou may have seen some news regarding a study MyFitnessPalrecently did with UCLA.

I wanted to take a minute to address this study, since we participated in it directly. We are excited that we got to work with some very smart people to answer a question we also wanted to know the answer to. We jumped at the opportunity to find out—is having your physician introduce you to the app and help you sign up enough to kickstart a health journey?

What we learned is that just introducing people to MyFitnessPal wasn’t enough. People have to be ready and willing to do the hard work.

The app itself does work—if you use it. Our own data and the data from the study show that the more you log on, the more you use the app, the more success you will see. Users that logged in the most lost the most weight. In fact, we already know that 88% of users who log for 7 days lose weight.

We make tools designed to make it as clear and simple as possible for you to see the path to achieving your fitness goals. We are not, however, making a magic bullet—because there is no magic bullet. Ultimately, you’re the one who has to do the work.

And my, how much work you guys have done.

You have:

  • lost over 180 million pounds
  • logged over 14.5 billion foods
  • burned 364 billion calories
  • supported each other with over 82 million status likes in the last year alone
  • and much more!

The first thing I say when people talk to me about MyFitnessPal is that user success is our true North. We are relentlessly focused on user success. We believe that if you are succeeding at reaching your goals then we will succeed as a company. We’re going to keep working to make our app even more accessible, simple to use, and motivating so we can help even more people succeed.

Of course, it’s our job to make the app as engaging and easy to use as possible. It’s not exactly where we want to be, yet. But we’ll keep working hard to get there. To that end, we’ve made lots of updates since this study was done. From a product perspective, in the last year and a half we’ve:

  • streamlined the logging experience
  • made logging streaks more visible
  • added more ways to get push notifications and reminders
  • added insights to help you get more out of logging
  • made a recipe tool that allows you to quickly log recipes from anywhere across the web

As long as you keep working on your goals, we’re going to work on better ways to help you get there.

Thanks for everything you do, making the MyFitnessPal community so amazing, and helping us toward our vision of making an even healthier world.

Mike Lee is the Founder and CEO of MyFitnessPal

November 28, 2014 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Go4Life – Great Outline on Four Types of Exercises from the US National Institute on Aging

Go4Life.

Great ideas on a variety of exercises. Not for seniors only!

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July 9, 2014 Posted by | Educational Resources (Elementary School/High School), Health Education (General Public) | , | Leave a comment

[News article] Exercise as Potent Medicine

Believe there is some truth to this. Once I started exercising regularly (at least 30 minutes four times a week), my LDL was raised considerably.  My doctor was a bit taken aback.

 

“…drugs and exercise produced almost exactly the same [risk of dying] results”

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From the 11 December 2013 New York Times article

Exercise can be as effective as many frequently prescribed drugs in treating some of the leading causes of death, according to a new report. The study raises important questions about whether our health care system focuses too much on medications and too little on activity to combat physical ailments.

For the study, which was published in October in BMJ, researchers compared how well various drugs and exercise succeed in reducing deaths among people who have been diagnosed with several common and serious conditions, including heart disease and diabetes.

The results consistently showed that drugs and exercise produced almost exactly the same results. People with heart disease, for instance, who exercised but did not use commonly prescribed medications, including statins, angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors or antiplatelet drugs, had the same risk of dying from — or surviving — heart disease as patients taking those drugs. Similarly, people with diabetes who exercised had the same relative risk of dying from the condition as those taking the most commonly prescribed drugs. Or as the researchers wrote in statistics-speak, “When compared head to head in network meta-analyses, all interventions were not different beyond chance.”

On the other hand, people who once had suffered a stroke had significantly less risk of dying from that condition if they exercised than if they used medications — although the study authors note that stroke patients who can exercise may have been unusually healthy to start with.

Only in chronic heart failure were drugs noticeably more effective than exercise. Diuretics staved off mortality better than did exercise.

“We are not suggesting that anyone stop taking their medications,” he said. “But maybe people could think long and hard about their lifestyles and talk to their doctors” about whether exercise could and should be incorporated into their care.

December 14, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Infographic: How to Get 30 Minutes of Exercise at Your Desk

Who actually has time to exercise? As life gets busy, taking care of yourself is usually the first thing to move to the back burner. But to help you out, we looked at the average work day, and realized that there’s lots of potential for exercising at work, you just need to get a little creative.

This infographic has a series of circuits that will get your heart pounding at your desk. Good luck, and let us know what you think of the plan.

 

Million Ideas

30 Minutes at Desk_circuit work out_millionideas

Who actually has time to exercise? As life gets busy, taking care of yourself is usually the first thing to move to the back burner. But to help you out, we looked at the average work day, and realized that there’s lots of potential for exercising at work, you just need to get a little creative.

This infographic has a series of circuits that will get your heart pounding at your desk. Good luck, and let us know what you think of the plan.

30 Minute Desk_Thumbnail

Related Posts: Infographic: Conquering Workplace Wellness, Workplace wellness: 5 tips to stay healthy in the office

View original post

July 14, 2013 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dualist Beliefs Linked With Less Concern For Healthy Behaviors

 

From the 27 July 2012 article at Medical News Today

Many people, whether they know it or not, are philosophical dualists. That is, they believe that the brain and the mind are two separate entities. Despite the fact dualist beliefs are found in virtually all human cultures, surprisingly little is known about the impact of these beliefs on how we think and behave in everyday life. ..

…Across five related studies, researchers Matthias Forstmann, Pascal Burgmer, and Thomas Mussweiler of the University of Cologne, Germany, found that people primed with dualist beliefs had more reckless attitudes toward health and exercise, and also preferred (and ate) a less healthy diet than those who were primed with physicalist beliefs.

Furthermore, they found that the relationship also worked in the other direction. People who were primed with unhealthy behaviors – such as pictures of unhealthy food – reported a stronger dualistic belief than participants who were primed with healthy behaviors.

Overall, the findings from the five studies provide converging evidence demonstrating that mind-body dualism has a noticeable impact on people’s health-related attitudes and behaviors. Specifically, these findings suggest that dualistic beliefs decrease the likelihood of engaging in healthy behavior.

These findings support the researchers’ original hypothesis that the more people perceive their minds and bodies to be distinct entities, the less likely they will be to engage in behaviors that protect their bodies. Bodies are ultimately viewed as a disposable vessel that helps the mind interact with the physical world.

Evidence of a bidirectional relationship further suggests that metaphysical beliefs, such as beliefs in mind-body dualism, may serve as cognitive tools for coping with threatening or harmful situations.

The fact that the simple priming procedures used in the studies had an immediate impact on health-related attitudes and behavior suggests that these procedures may eventually have profound implications for real-life problems. Interventions that reduce dualistic beliefs through priming could be one way to help promote healthier – or less self-damaging – behaviors in at-risk populations.

 

 

July 27, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Psychiatry, Psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exercise and a Healthy Diet of Fruits and Vegetables Extends Life Expectancy in Women in Their 70s

From the 29 May 2012 article at Science News Daily

Women in their seventies who exercise and eat healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables have a longer life expectancy, according to research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society….

…Researchers at the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University studied 713 women aged 70 to 79 years who took part in the Women’s Health and Aging Studies. This study was designed to evaluate the causes and course of physical disability in older women living in the community.

“A number of studies have measured the positive impact of exercise and healthy eating on life expectancy, but what makes this study unique is that we looked at these two factors together,” explains lead author, Dr. Emily J Nicklett, from the University of Michigan School of Social Work.

Researchers found that the women who were most physically active and had the highest fruit and vegetable consumption were eight times more likely to survive the five-year follow-up period than the women with the lowest rates…

May 31, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

National Women’s Health Week (May 13-19 2012)

Why stop with just glancing at the information below? Maybe this is the time to take another small step to better health.
Maybe subscribing to the US Office on Women’s Health would be that step. (Left column at http://www.womenshealth.gov/whw/)

These email updates have led me to recipes, health tips, and more.
For example, I’ve now been part of the Women’s Challenge to increase daily physical activity for about a year now. The Women’s Challenge  is part of the President’s Challenge…exercising often to get point based virtual bronze, silver, gold, and platinum medals. At my rate, it will take about 15 years to go platinum, but it is a goal!
Woman Challenge

More information about the Women’s Challenge here and the President’s Challenge here. 

From the Web site

It’s your time!

National Women’s Health Week is a weeklong health observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. It brings together communities, businesses, government, health organizations, and other groups in an effort to promote women’s health. The theme for 2012 is “It’s Your Time.” National Women’s Health Week empowers women to make their health a top priority. It also encourages women to take the following steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases:

Learn more about National Women’s Health Week.

May 9, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | Leave a comment

How Exercising In Different Natural Environments Benefits Your Health And Well-Being

From the 22 April Medical News Today article

Katherine Ashbullby and her colleagues from the two institutions studied data from 2750 English respondents drawn from Natural England’s two-year study of people’s engagement with the natural environment. They looked at people who had visited urban parks, the countryside and the coast.

They found that all outdoor locations were associated with positive feelings (enjoyment, calmness, refreshment), but that visits to the coast were most beneficial and visits to urban parks least beneficial. This finding remained when the researchers took account of factors like people’s age, how far they had travelled, the presence of others and the activity they undertook.

Dr White, a lecturer in health and risk from the ECEHH, says: “There is a lot of work on the beneficial effects of visiting natural environments, but our findings suggest it is time to move beyond a simple urban vs rural debate and start looking at the effect that different natural environments have on people’s health and well-being.” …

April 25, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Digital games emerge as new tool to foster health, exercise: Playing for health

Entire Gaming Setup

Entire Gaming Setup (Photo credit: Cinder6)

The Wii console by Nintendo. Featured with the...

The Wii console by Nintendo. Featured with the Wiimote. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Digital games emerge as new tool to foster health, exercise: Playing for health

From the Nation’s Health

These days, students at Halcyon Elementary School in Montgomery, Ala., cannot wait to get to physical education class.

As part of Alabama’s Wee Can Fight Obesity campaign, Halcyon Elementary is one of dozens of schools that received a free Nintendo Wii Fit, a video game system that requires players to move around to earn points, also known as ‘exergaming.’

“They don’t even realize they’re exercising,” said Audrey Gillis, the school’s PE teacher. “It’s fabulous.”

Gillis’ students use the Wii two to three times a week during the 30-minute PE class and “they just love it — we actually had some of the little children cry because it wasn’t their Wii day,” she said.

“These kids are active for 30 minutes straight — they don’t stop,” Gillis told The Nation’s Health. “If we can get them to enjoy physical activity as children, then they’re more likely to stay physically active as adults.”

Gillis’ experience is just one example of the growing intersections between public health and digital games. While using game-related challenges in public health endeavors is not new, video games and avatar-based simulations are emerging as an effective way of teaching healthy behaviors.

April 17, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Too Many Athletes Warming Up Wrong Says Australilan Sports Scientist

From the Gallery of the South Dorset Giants 

From the 15 December Media Release of Victoria University, Melbourne Australia

Do you know the difference between static stretching and dynamic warm-ups? Did you know that doing the wrong one of those two can decrease subsequent athletic performance while doing the right one can increase it? If your answer is yes then perhaps you are not one of the athletes that James Zois from the School of Sport & Exercise Science at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia is referring to when he says athletes are warming up wrong.

Earlier this month, Zois talked to the press about the research he is doing on the effect of pre-competition static stretches and dynamic warm-ups on athletes’ jumping performance.

He found that static stretching decreased jumping performance by nearly 8%, while dynamic warm-ups increased athletes’ vertical jump by 3%.

Static stretching includes things like calf, quad and hip flex stretches. Dynamic warm-ups are range of motion activities such as high knee raises, leg swings and run-throughs, or physical tasks that involve change of direction.

Zois said too many athletes are over-using static stretches as pre-competition warm-ups, and this can be counter-productive. Over-using them just reduces your performance power….

Read entire news article

Related Resources

 

December 31, 2011 Posted by | Health Education (General Public) | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Muscle Fatigue Originates in the Head

From the 5 December 2011 Science Daily news item

Researchers from the University of Zurich have now studied in detail what sportsmen and women know from experience: The head plays a key role in tiring endurance performances. They have discovered a mechanism in the brain that triggers a reduction in muscle performance during tiring activities and ensures that one’s own physiological limits are not exceeded. For the first time, the study demonstrates empirically that muscle fatigue and changes in the interaction between neuronal structures are linked…

“The findings are an important step in discovering the role the brain plays in muscle fatigue. Based on these studies, it won’t just be possible to develop strategies to optimize muscular performance, but also specifically investigate reasons for reduced muscular performance in various diseases.” Prolonged reduced physical performance is a symptom that is frequently observed in daily clinical practice. It can also appear as a side effect of certain medication. However, so-called chronic fatigue syndrome is often diagnosed without any apparent cause.

 

December 6, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Physical Fitness More Important Than Body Weight In Reducing Death Risks

From the 5 December 2011 Medical News Today item

If you maintain or improve your fitness level — even if your body weight has not changed or increased — you can reduce your risk of death, according to research reported inCirculation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

In a study of 14,345 adult men, mostly white and middle or upper class, researchers found that:

  • Maintaining or improving fitness was associated with a lower death risk even after controlling for Body Mass Index (BMI) change.
  • Every unit of increased fitness (measured as MET, metabolic equivalent of task) over six years was associated with a 19 percent lower risk of heart disease and stroke-related deaths and a 15 percent lower risk of death from any cause.
  • Becoming less fit was linked to higher death risk, regardless of BMI changes.
  • BMI change was not associated with death risks.

…….

 

December 6, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Nutrition | , , | Leave a comment

Closure of fitness centers raises question: Is there a role for government?

From the blog item atOlympia Views -On media, politics and a sustainable public service

Posted on December 2, 2011

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The closure of a Bally Total Fitness center in Olympia has generated an unusually interesting discussion inThe Olympian. Rigid ideological positions have at least partially broken down as commentators swap stories about their mixed experiences at local gyms….

For many of us, gyms are an important aspect of our quality of life. They can also play a crucial role in improving community health — which could help control spiraling healthcare costs.

Given all this, why do so many people assume that the “cut-throat world” of the private sector should determine our choices? If out-of-town corporations aren’t providing the quality and stability of services that we need, why not investigate ways for the government to do so?

We have a precedent for this. Local public colleges have gym facilities. For many years The Evergreen State College’s facilities have been available to the public. With better marketing and equipment upgrades Evergreen could handle a fair amount of added capacity.

Speak up if you disagree, but I’m not seeing an effective venue for local governments to assess and coordinate community-wide fitness facility needs. For example, look how long the idea of a community pool in Olympia has been debated. How might we close this “governance gap?”

 

December 3, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Former Football Players Prone to Late-Life Health Problems, Study Finds

Former football players experience more late-life cognitive difficulties and worse health than other former athletes and non-athletes. An MU study found that these athletes can alter their diet and exercise habits to improve their mental and physical health. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Missouri-Columbia)

From ScienceDaily (Nov. 9, 2011)

 — Football players experience repeated head trauma throughout their careers, which results in short and long-term effects to their cognitive function, physical and mental health. University of Missouri researchers are investigating how other lifestyle factors, including diet and exercise, impact the late-life health of former collision-sport athletes.

The researchers found that former football players experience more late-life cognitive difficulties and worse physical and mental health than other former athletes and non-athletes. In addition, former football players who consumed high-fat diets had greater cognitive difficulties with recalling information, orientation and engaging and applying ideas. Frequent, vigorous exercise was associated with higher physical and mental health ratings.

Read the entire news article

 

November 14, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To increase physical activity, focus on how, not why

To increase physical activity, focus on how, not why
Behavior strategies, such as self-monitoring and goals, motivate best, MU study finds

Vicki Conn is an associate dean for research and Potter-Brinton professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing.

From the February 17, 2011 Eureka News Alert

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Most people know that exercise is important to maintain and improve health; however, sedentary lifestyles and obesity rates are at all-time highs and have become major national issues. In a new study, University of Missouri researchers found that healthy adults who received interventions focused on behavior-changing strategies significantly increased their physical activity levels. Conversely, interventions based on cognitive approaches, which try to change knowledge and attitudes, did not improve physical activity.

“The focus needs to shift from increasing knowledge about the benefits of exercise to discussing strategies to change behaviors and increase activity levels,” said Vicki Conn, associate dean for research and Potter-Brinton professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. “The common approach is to try and change people’s attitudes or beliefs about exercise and why it’s important, but that information isn’t motivating. We can’t ‘think’ ourselves into being more active.”

Behavior strategies include feedback, goal setting, self-monitoring, exercise prescription and stimulus or cues. Self-monitoring, any method where participants record and track their activity over time, appears to significantly increase awareness and provide motivation for improvement, Conn said.

“Health care providers should ask patients about their exercise habits and help them set specific, manageable goals,” Conn said. “Ask them to try different strategies, such as tracking their progress, scheduling exercise on their phones or calendars, or placing their pedometers by their clothes. Discuss rewards for accomplishing goals.”

The study, featured in the American Journal of Public Health, incorporated data from 358 reports and 99,011 participants. The researchers identified behavioral strategies were most effective in increasing physical activity among healthy adults. Successful interventions were delivered face-to-face instead of mediated (i.e. via telephone, mail, etc.) and targeted individuals instead of communities.

“The thought of exercise may be overwhelming, but slowly increasing activity by just 10 minutes a day adds up weekly and is enough to provide health benefits,” Conn said. “Even small increases in physical activity will enhance protection against chronic illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes. Preventing or delaying chronic disease will reduce complications, health care costs and overall burden.”

Previously, Conn completed a meta-analysis of interventions for chronically ill patients and found similar results. Conn found that interventions were similarly effective regardless of gender, age, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

The study, “Interventions to increase physical activity among healthy adults: Meta-analysis of outcomes,” is featured in this month’s issue of the American Journal of Public Health. Conn’s research is funded by a more than $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

 

**For suggestions on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here

 

 

February 19, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , , , | Leave a comment

Review confirms benefits of outdoor exercise

Review confirms benefits of outdoor exercise

 

 

File:Tai Chi1.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tai_Chi1.jpg

 

From the February 4, 2011 Eureka news alert

A systematic review carried out by a team at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry has analyzed existing studies and concluded that there are benefits to mental and physical well-being from taking exercise in the natural environment. Their findings are published in the leading research journal Environmental Science and Technology today, Feb. 4, 2011….***

…The study found that most trials showed an improvement in mental well-being: compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalisation, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression. Participants also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and stated that they were more likely to repeat the activity at a later date.

However, none of the identified studies measured the effects of physical activity on physical well-being, or the effect of natural environments on sticking to exercise.

On balance this review has identified some promising effects on self-reported mental well-being immediately following exercise in the natural environment, as opposed to those reported following exercise indoors. This is a first step towards vindicating the positive effects of programmes such as the Green Gym and Blue Gym, and innovative interventions by medical practitioners that include exercise outdoors as part of holistic treatments for those suffering from depression and similar psychological ailments…..

For information on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here

 

February 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Researchers lead search for better drug-addiction treatments

Researchers lead search for better drug-addiction treatments

From a February 2, 2011 Eureka news alert

DALLAS – Feb. 3, 2011 – UT Southwestern Medical Center psychiatry researchers(Division of Addictions)are leading the Texas arm of a national network that conducts clinical trials aimed at finding effective treatments for drug addiction.

More than 100 community treatment providers and academic medical centers throughout the country are funded in part through the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Clinical Trials Network (CTN). The Texas component includes partnerships between academic and community treatment providers in Dallas, El Paso, Austin and Houston. It is led by Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern.

“The effects of drugs on the brain are very clear, but we still need long-term answers that cure people who abuse drugs and prevent them from relapse,” Dr. Trivedi said. “I applaud NIDA for funding the infrastructure at academic institutions to research therapies in real-world treatment centers that will lead to ready-to-launch cures. Drug abuse affects not just the person, but families and society as a whole.”

Each CTN study is conducted in multiple community treatment provider sites across the country, led by a CTN substance abuse researcher and supported by the researchers in the CTN academic institutions affiliated with each participating site.

“It is critical to find new treatments in the substance abuse field where current treatments result in only modest improvements. Finding effective interventions really requires larger, multicenter treatment trials like those occurring in the CTN,” Dr. Trivedi said.

One such national study within the CTN is the Stimulant Reduction Intervention Using Dose Exercise (STRIDE)**, led by Dr. Trivedi. It is a groundbreaking study that tests the short and longer term effectiveness of adding either exercise or health education to treatment as usual in adults who abuse stimulants such as cocaine or methamphetamine. Sites participating in this study in Texas include Nexus Recovery Center and Memorial Hermann Prevention and Recovery Center as well as multiple other sites across the country.

Other studies being conducted in the CTN in Texas include a trial that tests whether an interactive web-based therapy added to usual treatment improves abstinence from drug use, and a trial that examines whether medication, counseling, and incentives to quit smoking added to usual treatment improve abstinence from drug use.

Dr. Trivedi recently received a renewal of the National Institute on Drug Abuse‘s grant to continue contributions to improve the treatment of addiction for several additional years and said he expects to receive nearly $4 million over the next year.

A national CTN goal for the next few years is to engage other types of medical doctors and treatment settings who treat people addicted to drugs, in research, including primary care, internal medicine and emergency-room physicians. “We will be expanding our reach,” Dr. Trivedi said.

 

ClinicalTrials.gov

**ClinicalTrials.gov has information about federally and privately supported clinical trials, as quoted  news release item above.

Some clinical trials studies post their results at ClinicalTrials.gov.
Check the About page and Understanding Clinical Trials at Clinical Trials.gov for more information.

Related posts

Clinical Trials and Systematic Reviews: Managing Information Overload

Older adults often excluded from clinical trials –  US population ages, need grows for research to improve health and health care for seniors

 

 

February 3, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New USDA Dietary Guidelines (released January 31, 2011)

The US Dept of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion released Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 - cover

Some excerpts from the Introduction

The ultimate goal of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is to improve the health of our Nation’s current and future generations by facilitating and promoting healthy eatingand physical activity choices so that these behaviors become the norm among all individuals….

… The recommendations contained in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans traditionally have been intended for healthy Americans ages 2 years and older. However, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 is being released at a time of rising concern about the health of the American population. Its recommendations accommodate the reality that a large percentage of Americans are overweight or obese and/or at risk of various chronic diseases. Therefore,the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 is intended for Americans ages 2 years and older, includingthose who are at increased risk of chronic disease….

…Dietary Guidelines for Americans also recognizes that in recent years nearly 15 percent of American households have been unable to acquire adequate food to meet their needs because of insufficient money or other resources for food.10 This dietary guidance can help them maximize the nutritional content of their meals within their resource constraints….

Chapters include Balancing Calories to Lose Weight, Foods and Food Components to Reduce, Foods and Nutrients to Increase, Building Health Eating Patterns, and Helping Americans Make Health Choices.

In the coming days and weeks, links will be added here to related news items, commentaries, and additional informational resources.

Links a few media news items (the author does not endorse the views in these links, they are provided for informational purposes only)

Alex Wong/Getty Images

 

 




February 1, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Strength training for seniors provides cognitive function, economic benefits: VCH-UBC study

From the December 13 2010 Eureka news alert

A one-year follow-up study on seniors who participated in a strength training exercise program shows sustained cognitive benefits as well as savings for the healthcare system. The research, conducted at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility at Vancouver Coastal Health and the University of British Columbia, is published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study is the first to examine whether both cognitive and economic benefits are sustained after formal cessation of a tailored exercise program. It builds on the Brain Power Study, published in the January 2010 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, which demonstrated that 12 months of once-weekly or twice-weekly progressive strength training improved executive cognitive function in women aged 65- to 75- years- old. Executive cognitive functions are cognitive abilities necessary for independent living.

December 15, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Youth Sports : Epidemic Injury Levels & Low Practice Exercise Levels

Two recent cautionary news items about youth sports

8,000 kids are treated in ERs daily, trainers’ association says
From the December 7th Health Day news article

TUESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) — Youth sports injuries have become rampant in the United States, with

HealthDay news image

emergency departments treating more than 8,000 children a day for sports-related injuries, safety experts reported Tuesday.

As more children play school sports and in organized leagues, they are suffering an ever-increasing number of injuries, the experts from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association said in presenting their grim picture at a conference in Washington D.C.

Statistics released by the organization also revealed that:

  • Forty-eight youths died as the result of sports injuries in the past year.
  • About 63,000 high school athletes suffer brain injuries every year.
  • High school athletes suffer 2 million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The numbers led the association to issue a national report card on youth sport safety, giving the nation a C- for 2010…….

Kids’ Team Sports Often Lacking in Exercise
Soccer, softball and baseball players found to be inactive for about 30 minutes per practice session

From the December 7 Health Day news item by Robert Preidt

HealthDay news imageMONDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) — Playing team sports does not guarantee that a child will get the U.S. government-recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day, a new study reveals.

Using accelerometers, a type of sensor that measures physical activity, researchers studied activity levels of 200 children aged 7 to 14 while they took part in practices with their soccer, baseball or softball teams.

Overall, only 24 percent of the children met the 60-minute physical activity recommendation during practice. Less than 10 percent of participants aged 11 to 14 and less than 2 percent of female softball players reached the guideline, said Desiree Leek, of San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego, and colleagues….

…The findings were released online Dec. 6 in advance of publication in the April 2011 print issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.



December 9, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Overuse injury: How to prevent training injuries

[Editor Flahiff’s note…About two years ago I started working out at the Y, at age 53. Theses guidelines do work! at least they did for me. Mixing up the routine has kept me motivated. My weekly routine includes swimming, jogging, balance routines, and strength training. It has made a difference. After a few months, a co-worker commented I had color in my cheeks and didn’t look so ashen. While I will never be Ms. Olympia (or whatever the title for women weight lifter is) it is now easier to lift 20 pounds. ]

Excerpt from the Mayo Health clinic article

Most overuse injuries are avoidable. To prevent an overuse injury:

Address medical conditions. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting a new type of physical activity — especially if you have a medical condition that may predispose you to an overuse injury. You may need to correct imbalances in flexibility and strength or, if you’ve had a previous injury, work to restore range of motion, muscle strength and stability. Your doctor may offer tips to help make physical activity safe. If you have a muscle weakness in your hip, for example, your doctor may show you exercises to address the problem and prevent knee pain.

Use proper form and gear. Whether you’re starting a new type of physical activity or you’ve been playing a sport for a long time, consider taking lessons. Using the correct technique is crucial to preventing overuse injuries. Also make sure you wear proper shoes for the activity. Consider replacing your shoes for every 300 miles you walk or run, or — if you regularly exercise — at least twice a year.

Pace yourself. If you’re starting a new physical activity program, avoid becoming a weekend warrior. Compressing your physical activity for the week into two days can lead to an overuse injury. Instead, aim for at least two hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity — preferably spread throughout the week. Always take time to warm up before physical activity and cool down afterward. Also keep in mind that as you age, you may not be able to do the same activities that you did years ago. Consider ways to modify activities to suit your abilities.

Gradually increase your activity level. When changing your activity level or the amount of weight you’re using while strength training, keep it gradual — such as increases of no more than 10 percent each week until you reach your new goal.

Mix up your routine. Instead of focusing on one type of exercise, consider combining two or more types of physical activity, also known as cross-training. Doing a variety of low-impact activities — such as walking, biking, swimming and water jogging — in moderation can help prevent overuse injuries by allowing your body to use different muscle groups. Strive to include aerobic exercise, strength training, stretching, core stability and balance training elements in your routine.

Additional Web sites
Sports Fitness (MedlinePlus) has links to recent news items, nutrition tips, specific condition information, organizations, and more
Physical Activity Online Resources (American College of Sports Medicine) has guidelines, handouts, position stands, and tailored information for women, youth, and seniors

December 7, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Exercise May Help Beat the Common Cold

Each bout of aerobic actvity revs up the immune system, study authors suggest

From a November 2 Health Day news item

MONDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) — There may not be a cure for the common cold, but people who exercise regularly seem to have fewer and milder colds, a new study suggests.

In the United States, adults can expect to catch a cold two to four times a year, and children can expect to get six to 10 colds annually. All these colds sap about $40 billion from the U.S. economy in direct and indirect costs, the study authors estimate.

But exercise may be an inexpensive way to put a dent in those statistics, the study says.

“The physically active always brag that they’re sick less than sedentary people,” said lead researcher David C. Nieman, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the Appalachian State University, North Carolina Research Campus, in Kannapolis, N.C.

“Indeed, this boast of active people that they are sick less often is really true,” he asserted.

The report is published in the Nov. 1 online edition of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
[Available online at many health and medical libraries, fee may be charged. Ask a reference librarian for details]

 

 

November 3, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Walking 6 to 9 Miles a Week May Help Save Memory

From a Health Day news item

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 13 (HealthDay News) — Walking about six miles a week appears to protect against brain shrinkage in old age, which in turn helps stem the onset of memory problems and cognitive decline, new research reveals.

“We have always been in search of the drug or the magic pill to help treat brain disorders,” noted Kirk I. Erickson, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and the study’s lead author. “But really what we are after may be, at least partially, even simpler than that. Just by walking regularly, and so maintaining a little bit of moderate physical activity, you can reduce your likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease and [can] spare brain tissue.”

A report on the research, which was supported by the U.S. National Institute on Aging, is published online Oct. 13 in Neurology.

[Not yet available online (as of Oct 13, 2010)…if it is only available by paid subscription, check with your local public, academic, or medical library. Ask for a reference librarian. If it is only available from a library where you do not have borrowing privileges, there may be a charge for a copy. Again, ask a reference librarian for details.]

October 15, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , , | Leave a comment

Adding Recess to the Workday Gains Backers

Programs to get adults up and moving may have business as well as personal rewards

Excerpt

TUESDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) — Think recess, and you’ll probably smile. What wasn’t to like about a break in the school day set aside for running and playing, for friends and fun?

Now fast-forward to your adult life. What if your workplace started offering recess on the job?

Some medical experts think it’s not only a good idea but possibly one of the most solid tactics dreamed up for getting an increasingly out-of-shape America up and moving.

Adult recess would involve a 10-minute break in the workday, when employees would be led through a series of fun routines involving dance and sports-like moves.

The idea may be catching on. Employer-sponsored exercise is a big part of the U.S. National Physical Activity Plan, a cooperative effort by a number of health and fitness organizations to promote physical activity in public settings such as businesses, schools and churches. Partners include the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Heart Association, the YMCA and the AARP.

“When we can build physical activity into an easy, achievable part of our day, it’s a lot less daunting for people,” said Allison Kleinfelter, a consultant with the National Physical Activity Plan. The program, she said, “is looking at changing places where we live and work to support physical activity.”

The benefit of adult recess hinges on physical activity guidelines put out by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which recommend that all adults receive at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, Kleinfelter said.

But a person doesn’t need to stack up those minutes during just a few sessions, according to the guidelines, because moderate or vigorous effort will benefit overall health even if each session is as short as 10 minutes.

One work site where adult recess has been implemented is Latino Health Access, a nonprofit group in Santa Ana, Calif. Many of the 55 workers there participate in a 20-minute walk every other day and daily 15-minute aerobics classes, said Alejandro Espinoza, the group’s chronic disease program coordinator.

The benefits have been terrific, he said. Workers feel more energetic and focused and are less likely to feel lethargic in the afternoon.

“They look forward to it,” he said. “I’m one of the exercise team leaders. They come and tell me, ‘Alex, it’s time to do our exercise.’ “

September 30, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | Leave a comment

Most Americans Don’t Get Daily Exercise

Only 5% reported vigorous physical activity within preceding 24-hour period, researchers found

“On any given day, most U.S. adults reported performing predominantly sedentary and light activities. The greatest prevalence for reported moderate activities was food and drink preparation for both men (12.8 percent) and women (37.6 percent),” the authors wrote in the report.

An abstract of the article may be found here. Check with a local public or academic library for the availability of full text. Ask if there are any charges for getting this article.

Exercise and Physical Fitness (MedlinePlus) contains many great informational links on exercise, checking your health, and nutrition.

September 21, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | | Leave a comment

Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits


HealthDay news image

Eastern ‘exercises’ may aid heart, immune system, balance, bone health and quality of life.
The news item may be found at  Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits

July 14, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , , , | Leave a comment

BAM! (Body and Mind) aims to help children (9-13) make healthy lifestyle choices

BAM! Body and Mind is an interactive  comic book style Web site  designed for children 9-13 years old.  It gives youngsters the information they need to make healthy lifestyle choices.  The site focuses on topics children said were important, as stress and physical fitness.

The interactive features include

  • KABAM, a comic creator that allows kids to resolve conflicts and stressful situations with the help of the cartoon BAM bunch.
  • An exercise personality quiz that results in a custom activity list for each use
  • Disease Detectives 
  • A Dining Decisions game
  • A Physical Activities page where one can create a customized fitness/activity calendar, take a quiz to find out which activities one might like best, and more
  • A Your Body page with information and advice on genes, smoking, diabetes, germs, and more.

There is also a Teacher’s corner with in-school activities linked to the national education standards for science and health.

Created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

More on exercise and children may be found at the Exercise and Children Web page from MedlinePlus.

July 11, 2010 Posted by | Health Education (General Public) | , | Leave a comment