Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Expert discusses ways to stay heart healthy, hydrated and fit during the summer

Expert discusses ways to stay heart healthy, hydrated and fit during the summer
From the 22 July 2015 Virginia Commonwealth news release

Summer can be a lazy time. Cookouts, vacations, graduation parties and similar events may tempt us to throw caution to the wind when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, particularly as it relates to diet and exercise. However, experts at the Pauley Heart Center, part of Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, suggest being ever mindful of lifestyle habits that promote good heart health.

What is the significance of staying hydrated as it relates to a healthy heart?

Your heart has to work harder if you are dehydrated.  Your muscles do not work efficiently without proper hydration. Hydrate throughout the day, not just before exercise. Water is best. Mix it up with flavored waters or sparkling water.  Keep a water bottle within reach. Avoid sodas and alcohol. Additionally, monitor your urine. If you are drinking enough water, it should be clear or light yellow, not cloudy and dark. If you weigh yourself before and after exercise, consume 16-20 ounces of fluid for every pound lost.

Consider healthy choices at your family events. Choose lean beef and make smaller hamburger patties. Grill chicken or salmon. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Considering typical summer events such as cookouts, graduation celebrations, etc., what are some tips for eating healthy and thoughtfully?

Consider healthy choices at your family events. Choose lean beef and make smaller hamburger patties. Grill chicken or salmon. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. They contain nutrients that you lose when you sweat. Enjoy seasonal food, peaches, watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes, cantaloupes. Try new healthy foods like kale, spinach or red beets. Eat desserts in moderation.

Describe the appropriate attire and accessories to stay cool and regulate your body temperature during the summer months?

Wear single-layer, absorbent, loose-fitting clothing, preferably light colors. Look for “wicking” fabrics. Carry a water bottle and consider a water belt.

What types of exercises and preventive actions are appropriate during the summer months for a person who has heart issues?

Don’t give up.  If you can stay active, you should.  Walk on the treadmill indoors.  Exercise at a cardiac rehab center with blood pressure and heart rate monitoring. Take more breaks. Rest in a shaded area. Exercise early in the day.  Gradually begin your exercise and gradually cool off. Pay attention to the heat index which takes into account

Read the entire article here

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July 25, 2015 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Many health impacts of aging are due to inactivity—not getting old [Reblog]

Many health impacts of aging are due to inactivity—not getting old.

From the 2 June 2015 post at The Longevity Network

 

This past winter I taught a course titled “Physical Activity and Aging.” It was a fun course, and really drove home an issue that I’ve known for a while, but hadn’t previously given a lot of thought: the impact of aging is identical to the detraining that happens in response to reduced physical activity and/or increased sedentary behaviour.

Aging is associated with reduced fitness, weaker bones, reduced insulin sensitivity, reduced muscle strength, and reduced balance. Lack of  is also associated with all of those things. This isn’t a coincidence – many (probably most) of the health impacts of aging are not really due to aging at all.

You see, there are 2 types of aging. Eugeric aging, which you can think of as “true” aging. The stuff you simply cannot avoid as you get older (e.g. hearing loss, or reduced eyesight).

– See more at: http://www.longevitynetwork.org/news/many-health-impacts-of-aging-are-due-to-inactivity-not-getting-old/#sthash.MXcqsEDG.dpuf

July 21, 2015 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , | 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

[AHA article] (Aerobics /Preventive Medicine pioneer) Dr. Kenneth Cooper is keynote speaker at Scientific Sessions 2013

Back in college I took a “physical fitness” class.  One of Dr. Cooper’s books was required reading. Very inspiring. Good to see he is still a living example of his well tested theories of aerobic exercise and wellness  program benefits.

Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 6.41.03 AM

From the 18 November American Heart Association article

In the early 1960s, when the great Space Race was being fueled by the escalating Cold War, a former track and basketball star from Oklahoma envisioned himself soaring through the Milky Way.

This tall, lanky fellow was an Army doctor, but the lure of space flight led him to transfer to the Air Force. He became certified in aerospace medicine. Then he developed training programs for astronauts – some for before they took off, others to help them remain in shape while floating weightlessly in outer space. All along, his sights were set on becoming among a select group of “science astronauts.”

Imagine how different life on Earth would be today if Kenneth Cooper, MD, MPH, hadn’t shifted gears.

Cooper actually was still in the Air Force when he published “Aerobics,” a book that did as much for the health of Americans as the Apollo 11 lunar landing did for the aerospace industry. Cooper’s book, by the way, came out first – more than a year before Neil Armstrong planted the U.S. flag on the moon.

That book is now available in more than 40 languages. Cooper has spoken in more than 50 countries, and written 18 more books. He is the “Father of Aerobics” and a big reason why the number of runners in the United States spiked from 100,000 when his book came out to 34 million in 1984.

Having proven the benefits of preventive medicine and wellness in the military, he was ready to shift to the private sector.

The private sector, however, wasn’t ready for him.

When he opened his clinic in Dallas, naysayers told him, “You can’t limit your practice to taking care of healthy people. People only want to see their physicians when they’re sick.” And those were the kind ones. Others turned him in to the local medical society’s board of censors.

“They thought I was going to kill people by putting them on treadmills for stress testing,” Cooper said. “I’d been doing it in the Air Force for 10 years!”

The big picture turned out more clearly. Baby Boomers became exercisers, triggering a fitness craze that produced what he calls “the glory years of health in America.” As Boomers have aged, and future generations have made fitness a lower priority, health had spiraled in the wrong direction. It’s been 17 years since the Surgeon General recommended 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week, and the statistics show that most Americans aren’t doing it.

“For many years, I’ve put people into five health categories, ranking them from very poor to excellent. Research constantly shows that major gains can be made by moving up just one category, even if it’s just from very poor to poor,” Cooper said. “If we can get the 50 million Americans who are totally inactive today to move up just one category, think of the dramatic effect that would have. Just by avoiding inactivity!”

 

November 18, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , | 1 Comment

Truth or consequences? The negative results of concealing who you really are on the job

 

 

Caption: Clayton R. Critcher is an assistant professor of marketing at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

From the 8 October 2013 EurkAlert

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY’S HAAS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS – Most know that hiding something from others can cause internal angst. New research suggests the consequences can go far beyond emotional strife and that being forced to keep information concealed, such as one’s sexual orientation, disrupts the concealer’s basic skills and abilities, including intellectual acuity, physical strength, and interpersonal grace—skills critical to workplace success.

“With no federal protection for gays and lesbians in the work place, our work suggests that the wisdom of non-discrimination laws should be debated not merely through a moral lens, but with an appreciation for the loss of economic productivity that such vulnerabilities produce,” says Clayton R. Critcher, assistant professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Critcher, a member of the Haas Marketing Group, conducts research on consumer behavior and social psychology, including questions of self and identity.

Critcher’s paper, “The Cost of Keeping it Hidden: Decomposing Concealment Reveals What Makes it Depleting,” forthcoming in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General and co-authored with Melissa J. Ferguson of Cornell University, details multiple negative consequences of concealment. The findings, says Critcher, stem from the difficulty of having to constantly monitor one’s speech for secret-revealing content that needs to be edited out.

The researchers conducted four studies, each of which was a variation on a single paradigm. When participants arrived at the study, they learned they would be taking part in an interview. Following a rigged drawing, all participants learned they were assigned to be an interviewee. Another supposed participant—who, in reality, was an actor hired by the experimenter—was the interviewer.

Some participants were given special instructions about what they could reveal in the interview. In three of the four studies, some participants were told they should make sure not to reveal their sexual orientation while answering the questions. For example, participants were told that in answering questions, instead of saying “I tend to date men who …,” the participants could say, “I tend to date people who ….”

After the interview, participants thought they were moving on to an unrelated study. In actuality, this second part of the experiment was related, offering researchers the opportunity to measure whether participants’ intellectual, physical, or interpersonal skills were degraded by concealment. The studies revealed the variety of negative effects of concealment.

In one study, participants completed a measure of spatial intelligence that was modeled after items on military aptitude tests. Participants randomly assigned to conceal their sexual orientation performed 17% worse than those who went through the interview without instructions to conceal. In another experiment, participants tasked with hiding their sexual orientation exhibited reduced physical stamina, only able to squeeze an exercise handgrip for 20% less time than those in a control condition. Additional studies revealed that concealment led people to show less interpersonal restraint. For example, the participants responded to a “snarky” email from a superior with more anger than politeness.

During another test, participants demonstrated poorer performance on a “Stroop task,” a commonly-used measure of executive cognitive function.

In consequent experiments, participants’ abilities were assessed both before and after the interview. This permitted the experimenters to more directly observe that merely going through an interview does not affect one’s strength of cognitive control, but going through an interview while having to conceal one’s sexual orientation led to significant declines.

In addition, the researchers varied whether questions focused on participants’ personal or dating life, or on topics for which one’s sexual orientation would never be revealed. Concealment caused similarly sharp declines in both cases.

“Environments that explicitly or implicitly encourage people to conceal their sexual orientation—even when employers adopt a ‘Don’t Ask’ policy—may significantly harm workers,” says Critcher, “Establishing a workplace climate that supports diversity may be one of the easiest ways to enhance workplace productivity.”

 

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Watch Clayton Critcher talk about his research: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2bSRNjd5Yo&feature=youtu.be

See full paper: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23796042

 

 

 

October 14, 2013 Posted by | Psychiatry, Psychology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Students With Strong Hearts and Lungs May Make Better Grades

 

US Navy 110622-N-CW427-033 Sailors cheer stude...

US Navy 110622-N-CW427-033 Sailors cheer students while they complete an obstacle course during a physical fitness field day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the 3 August 2012 article at ScienceNewsDaily

 

Having a healthy heart and lungs may be one of the most important factors for middle school students to make good grades in math and reading, according to findings presented at the American Psychological Association’s 120th Annual Convention.

..

While previous studies have found links between being physically fit and improved academic performance, this study also examined several other potential influences, including self-esteem and social support. It also took into account the students’ socioeconomic status and their self-reported academic ability, Petrie said.

In addition to cardiorespiratory fitness, social support was related to better reading scores among boys, according to the study. It defined social support as reliable help from family and friends to solve problems or deal with emotions. For girls, having a larger body mass index was the only factor other than cardiorespiratory fitness that predicted better reading scores. For boys and girls, cardiorespiratory fitness was the only factor related to their performance on the math tests. “The finding that a larger body mass index for girls was related to better performance on the reading exam may seem counterintuitive, however past studies have found being overweight was not as important for understanding boys and girls performances on tests as was their level of physical fitness,” Petrie said.

 

 

 

 

August 6, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , | 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

Your Tax Dollars at Work – SuperTracker Looks Up Nutrition Info, Tracks/Compares Food to Your Targets, Tracks Physical Activities, and More

This is the icon for MyPlate which replaced MyPyramid in June 2011. The new MyPlate icon is composed of a plate divided into 4 sections: fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein. A dairy section is off the plate to the side. The MyPlate graphic is positioned on a placemat with the website ChooseMyPlate.gov written underneath.

Food-A-Pedia >
Look up nutrition info for over 8,000 foods and compare foods side-by-side.

Type in your food here

Select food category  All Foods  My Favorite Foods  Beverages  Breads, Cereals & Bakery Items  Pasta & Rice  Fruits  Vegetables  Dairy  Meat, Poultry, Fish & Eggs  Meals & Entrees (Mixed Dishes)  Snacks  Fast Foods  Sweets & Desserts

Bag of groceries

Food Tracker >
Track the foods you eat and compare to your nutrition targets.

Type in your food here

Select Food Category  All Foods  My Favorite Foods  Beverages  Breads, Cereals & Bakery Items  Pasta & Rice  Fruits  Vegetables  Dairy  Meat, Poultry, Fish & Eggs  Meals & Entrees (Mixed Dishes)  Snacks  Fast Foods  Sweets & Desserts

Plate of healthy foods

Physical Activity Tracker >
Enter your activities and track progress as you move.

Type in your activity here

Select food category  All Activities  My Favorite Activities  Walking & Running  Conditioning  Sports  Home  Occupation  Other

Sneakers

My Weight Manager >
Get weight management guidance; enter your weight and track progress over time.

Weight scale

My Top 5 Goals >
Choose up to 5 personal goals; sign up for tips and support from your virtual coach.

To-do list

My Reports >
Use reports to see how you are meeting goals and view your trends over time.

Report papers and pie charts

From the 22 December USDA news Release

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2011 – Just in time to help Americans keep their New Year’s resolutions by making healthy food and physical activity choices, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today releasedUSDA’s new nutrition SuperTracker. The SuperTracker is a comprehensive, state-of-the-art resource available at ChooseMyPlate.gov designed to assist individuals as they make changes in their life to reduce their risk of chronic disease and maintain a healthy weight. Release of this new web tool comes as USDA highlights the second in a series of themed consumer messages supporting the MyPlate icon – Enjoy Your Food, But Eat Less – that USDA is promoting the next three months in conjunction with more than 5,000 organizations participating in the MyPlate Nutrition Communicators Network.

“Overcoming the health and nutrition challenges we face as a nation is critical and the SuperTrackerprovides consumers with an assortment of tools to do just that,” said Vilsack. “This easy-to-use website will help Americans at all stages of life improve their overall health and well-being as they input dietary and physical activity choices into the tool. During the holiday season we are surrounded by good food and this is a perfect time to Enjoy Your Food, But Eat Less.”

The SuperTracker is a visually appealing, comprehensive, state-of-the-art resource available atChooseMyPlate.gov. It is designed to assist individuals as they make changes in their life to reduce their risk of chronic disease and maintain a healthy weight. Consumers can access this free, on-line tool at anytime and can choose a variety of features to support nutrition and physical activity goals.SuperTracker offers consumers the ability to:

  • Personalize recommendations for what and how much to eat and amount of physical activity.
  • Track foods and physical activity from an expanded database of foods and physical activities.
  • Customize features such as goal setting, virtual coaching, weight tracking and journaling.
  • Measure progress with comprehensive reports ranging from a simple meal summary to in-depth analysis of food groups and nutrient intake over time.
  • Operationalize the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines.
  • Support family and friends by adding their individual profiles.

December 26, 2011 Posted by | Nutrition | , | 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

Exercise Intensity: Why It Matters, How It’s Measured

Exercise Intensity: Why It Matters, How It’s Measured

 

From the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research Page

When you work out, are you working hard or hardly working? Exercising at the correct intensity can help you can get the most out of your physical activity — making sure you’re not overdoing or even underdoing it. Here’s a look at what exercise intensity means and how to make it work for you.

Understanding exercise intensity

When you’re doing aerobic activity, such as walking or biking, exercise intensity correlates with how hard the activity feels to you. Exercise intensity also is reflected in how hard your heart is working.

There are two basic ways to measure exercise intensity:

  • How you feel. Exercise intensity is a subjective measure of how hard physical activity feels to you while you’re doing it — your perceived exertion. Your perceived level of exertion may be different from what someone else feels doing the same exercise. For example, what feels to you like a hard run can feel like an easy workout to someone who’s more fit.
  • Your heart rate. Your heart rate offers a more objective look at exercise intensity. In general, the higher your heart rate during physical activity, the higher the exercise intensity.

Studies show that your perceived exertion correlates well with your heart rate. So if you think you’re working hard, your heart rate is likely elevated.

You can use either way of gauging exercise intensity. If you like technology and care about the numbers, a heart rate monitor might be a useful device for you. If you feel you’re in tune with your body and your level of exertion, you likely will do fine without a monitor…

The article goes on to explain the differences and signs of light, moderate, vigorous, and overexertion exercising.



Source: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
Related MedlinePlus Page: Exercise and Physical Fitness

March 19, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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