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July 23, 2008, 4:34 PM CT

Exercise could be the heart's fountain of youth

Exercise could be the heart's fountain of youth
Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but endurance exercise seems to make it younger. As per a research studyconducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, older people who did endurance exercise training for about a year ended up with metabolically much younger hearts. The scientists also showed that by one metabolic measure, women benefited more than men from the training.

"We know that the heart deteriorates as people get older, and that's largely because they don't stay as active as they used to," says first author Pablo F. Soto, M.D., instructor in medicine in the Cardiovascular Division. "Past research has suggested that exercise can reverse some effects of aging, and we wanted to see what effect it would have specifically on the heart."

The scientists measured heart metabolism in sedentary older people both at rest and during administration of dobutamine, a drug that makes the heart race as if a person were exercising vigorously. At the start of the study, they observed that in response to the increased energy demands produced by dobutamine, the hearts of the study subjects didn't increase their uptake of energy in the form of glucose (blood sugar).

But after endurance exercise training which involved walking, running or cycling exercises three to five days a week for about an hour per session the participants' hearts doubled their glucose uptake during high-energy demand, just as younger hearts do.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 20, 2008, 4:57 PM CT

Refuting common stereotypes about obese workers

Refuting common stereotypes about obese workers
Mark Roehling, associate professor, School of Labor and Industrial Relations, College of Social Science

New research led by a Michigan State University scholar refutes usually held stereotypes that overweight workers are lazier, more emotionally unstable and harder to get along with than their "normal weight" colleagues.

With the findings, employers are urged to guard against the use of weight-based stereotypes when it comes to hiring, promoting or firing.

Mark Roehling, associate professor of human resource management, and two colleagues studied the relationship between body weight and personality traits for nearly 3,500 adults. Contrary to widely held stereotypes, overweight and obese adults were not found to be significantly less conscientious, less agreeable, less extraverted or less emotionally stable.

The research, done in conjunction with Hope College near Grand Rapids, appears in the current edition of the journal Group & Organization Management.

"Prior research has demonstrated that a number of employers hold negative stereotypes about obese workers, and those beliefs contribute to discrimination against overweight workers at virtually every stage of the employment process, from hiring to promotion to firing," Roehling said.

"This study goes a step further by examining whether there is empirical support for these usually held negative stereotypes. Are they based on fact or fiction? Our results suggest that the answer is fiction".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 17, 2008, 9:37 PM CT

Saltwater olives

Saltwater olives
The news that olives are sources of "good fat" has increased worldwide demand for the luscious, versatile fruits. Olives have become extremely popular, enjoyed as condiments, appetizers, spreads, and additions to salads and sauces. Their heart-healthy oil has is also enjoying superstar status in kitchens around the world.

The olive's reputation as a health food is being borne out by modern science, as studies of olive-consuming Mediterranean peoples have shown. To keep the world's olive lovers satisfied, an intensive wave of olive planting has occurred in the past decade in a number of parts of the world. Traditionally, olives have been cultivated in the Mediterranean region. But fresh water is becoming increasingly hard to come by in semiarid areas, and irrigation of most new olive plantations is often accomplished with low-quality sources of water that contain relatively high levels of salt.

The relationship between the use of "saline water" and olive cultivation has been actively studied for a number of years. As per Professor Zeev Wiesman, Department of Biotechnology Engineering at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, it is well-known that saline conditions can limit the development of olives, mainly because the salty water interferes with the olives' root system and causes "toxic accumulation of chloride and sodium ions on the leaves".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 16, 2008, 9:05 PM CT

Low-fat diets not best for weight loss

Low-fat diets not best for weight loss
A two-year study led by scientists from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) reveals that low-carbohydrate and Mediterranean diets may be just as safe and effective in achieving weight loss as the standard, medically prescribed low-fat diet, as per a new study reported in the prestigious New England Journal (NEJM)

The study was conducted by BGU and the Nuclear Research Center in Dimona, Israel, in collaboration with Harvard University, The University of Leipzig, Gera number of and the University of Western Ontario, Canada.

In the two-year study, 322 moderately obese people were intensively monitored and were randomly assigned one of three diets: a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet; a Mediterranean calorie-restricted diet with the highest level of dietary fiber and monounsaturated/saturated fat; or a low-carbohydrate diet with the least amount of carbohydrates, highest fat, protein, and dietary cholesterol. The low-carb dieters had no caloric intake restrictions.

Eventhough participants actually decreased their total daily calories consumed by a similar amount, net weight loss from the low-fat diet after two years was only 6.5 lbs. (2.9 kg) in comparison to 10 lbs. (4.4 kg) on the Mediterranean diet, and 10.3 lbs. (4.7 kg) on the low-carbohydrate diet. "These weight reduction rates are comparable to results from physician-prescribed weight loss medications," explains Dr. Iris Shai, the lead researcher.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 16, 2008, 8:58 PM CT

Men and women may need different diets

Men and women may need different diets
Diet can strongly influence how long you live and your reproductive success, but now researchers have discovered that what works for males can be very different for females.

In the first study of its kind, the scientists have shown that gender plays a major role in determining which diet is better suited to promoting longer life or better reproductive success.

In the evolutionary "battle of the sexes", traits that benefit males are costly when expressed in females and vice versa. This conflict may have implications for human diet, aging and reproduction, says a team of researchers from UNSW, the University of Sydney and Massey University.

"When it comes to choosing the right diet, we need to look more closely to the individual, their sex and their reproductive stage in life," says Associate Professor Rob Brooks, Director of the Evolution and Ecology Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. "It may be, for example, that women in their child-bearing years need a different diet to those who are post-menopausal.

"It also underlines the important lesson that what we want to eat or, if you like, what we're programmed to eat, is not necessarily best for us." The scientists are conducting long-term studies on Australian black field crickets and have discovered that the lifespan of both males and females is maximised on high-carbohydrate, low-protein diets, they say in the latest issue of Current Biology........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 16, 2008, 7:38 PM CT

Can you be born a couch potato?

Can you be born a couch potato?
The key to good health is to be physically active. The key to being active is to be born that way?

The well-documented importance of exercise in maintaining fitness has created the idea that individuals can manage their health by increasing their activity. But what if the inclination to engage in physical activity is itself significantly affected by factors that are predetermined? Two new studies suggest that the inclination to exercise may be strongly affected by genetics.

Controlled experiments into the effects of genetics on human activity have yet to be attempted, but recent studies on mice the standard test species for mammalian genetics have found genetic influences.

In a paper recently reported in the journal Physiological Genomics, a team of scientists led by University of North Carolina at Charlotte kinesiologist J. Timothy Lightfoot announced that they had found six specific chromosomal locations that significantly correlate to the inheritance of a trait of high physical activity in mice, indicating that at least six genetic locations were affecting activity. Now, in a study forthcoming in The Journal of Heredity, the same team has identified 17 other genetic locations that also appear to control the level of physical activity in mice through interaction with each other, a genetic effect known as epistasis. Together, the located genes account for approximately 84% of the behavioral differences between mice that exhibit low activity levels and mice that show high activity traits.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 15, 2008, 10:29 PM CT

Peers important for nutrition education

Peers important for nutrition education
A systematic literature review conducted by a team of scientists from the University of Connecticut, the Hispanic Health Council (Hartford), and the Connecticut Center for Eliminating Health Disparities among Latinos assessed the impact of peer education/counseling on nutrition and health outcomes among Latinos living in the United States. The results, reported in the July/recent issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, provide evidence that peer nutrition education has a positive influence on diabetes self-management and breastfeeding outcomes, as well as on general nutrition knowledge and dietary intake behaviors, among Latinos in the US.

"Overall, these nutrition education demonstration studies suggest that peer education has the potential to change dietary behaviors among Latinos," commented lead investigator Rafael Prez-Escamilla, PhD. "There is a need to better understand how nutrition peer educators can be formally incorporated into the health care system within the Chronic Care Model community health worker (CHW) framework." Latinos are the largest minority group in the United States, accounting for more than 12% of the population, and they are expected to be nearly 25% of the population by 2050. Latinos also have less access to nutritionally adequate and safe foodin comparison to 7.8% of non-Latino white individuals, almost 20% of Latinos are food insecure.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 14, 2008, 9:50 PM CT

Exercise may prevent brain shrinkage in early

Exercise may prevent brain shrinkage in early
Mild Alzheimer's disease patients with higher physical fitness had larger brains in comparison to mild Alzheimer's patients with lower physical fitness, as per a research studyreported in the July 15, 2008, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

For the study, 121 people age 60 and older underwent fitness tests using a treadmill as well as brain scans to measure the white matter, gray matter and total volume of their brains. Of the group, 57 were in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease while the rest of the group did not have dementia.

"People with early Alzheimer's disease who were less physically fit had four times more brain shrinkage when in comparison to normal elderly adults than those who were more physically fit, suggesting less brain shrinkage correlation to the Alzheimer's disease process in those with higher fitness levels," said study author Jeffrey M. Burns, MD, of the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City and member of the American Academy of Neurology.

The results remained the same regardless of age, gender, severity of dementia, physical activity and frailty. There was no relationship between higher fitness levels and brain changes in the group of people without dementia.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 9, 2008, 9:16 PM CT

How food affects the brain

How food affects the brain
In addition to helping protect us from heart disease and cancer, a balanced diet and regular exercise can also protect the brain and ward off mental disorders.

"Food is like a pharmaceutical compound that affects the brain," said Fernando Gmez-Pinilla, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery and physiological science who has spent years studying the effects of food, exercise and sleep on the brain. "Diet, exercise and sleep have the potential to alter our brain health and mental function. This raises the exciting possibility that changes in diet are a viable strategy for enhancing cognitive abilities, protecting the brain from damage and counteracting the effects of aging." .

Gmez-Pinilla analyzed more than 160 studies about food's affect on the brain; the results of his analysis appear in the recent issue of the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience and are available online at www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v9/n7/abs/nrn2421.html.

Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, walnuts and kiwi fruit provide a number of benefits, including improving learning and memory and helping to fight against such mental disorders as depression and mood disorders, schizophrenia, and dementia, said Gmez-Pinilla, a member of UCLA's Brain Research Institute and Brain Injury Research Center.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 9, 2008, 7:37 PM CT

Obese men have less semen, more sperm abnormalities

Obese men have less semen, more sperm abnormalities
Obese men should consider losing weight if they want to have children, a scientist told the 24th annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology today (Wednesday 9 July). Dr. A Ghiyath Shayeb, from the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK, said that his research had shown that men with a higher body mass index (BMI) had lower volumes of seminal fluid and a higher proportion of abnormal sperm.

Dr. Shayeb and his colleagues looked at the results of seminal fluid analysis in 5316 men attending Aberdeen Fertility Centre with their partners for difficulties in conceiving. 2037 of these men had complete data on their BMIs. "We felt that it was possible that male overweight might contribute to fertility problems," he said, "especially since it is a known risk factor for problems in conceiving among women".

The researchers divided the men into four groups as per their BMI, from being underweight to being considerably overweight. Taking into account other characteristics that could confound the analysis, such as smoking, alcohol intake, age, social deprivation, and the length of time of abstinence from sex previous to producing a semen sample for analysis, they looked for a relationship between BMI and semen quality. The analysis showed that the men in Group B, who had an optimal BMI (20-25, as classified by WHO), had higher levels of normal sperm than those in the other groups. They also had higher semen volume. There was no significant difference between the four BMI groups in sperm concentration or motility.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Exercise can't stop the aging process, but experts at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston say that for the elderly, whether it's weight training, walking, swimming or biking, 30 minutes of exercise three to five times a week is a good prescription for aging."It's never too late to start exercising," said Dr. Robert Roush, an associate professor of medicine-geriatrics at BCM. "Being physically active and exercising regularly can help prevent or delay some diseases and disabilities as people age.".

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