Yoga and physical therapy as treatment for chronic lower back pain also improves sleep

Yoga and physical therapy (PT) are effective approaches to treating co-occurring sleep disturbance and back pain while reducing the need for medication, according to a new study from Boston Medical Center (BMC). Published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the research showed significant improvements in sleep quality lasting 52 weeks after 12 weeks of yoga classes or 1-on-1 PT, which suggests a long-term benefit of these non-pharmacologic approaches. In addition, participants with early improvements in pain after 6 weeks of treatment were three and a half times more likely to have improvements in sleep after the full, 12-week treatment, highlighting that pain and sleep are closely related.

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Previous research from BMC discovered that yoga and PT are similarly effective for lowering pain and improving physical function, reducing the need for pain medication. In this study, results for sleep improvements were compared over a 12-week intervention period and after 1 year of follow-up.The image is in the public domain.

Sleep disturbance and insomnia are common among people with chronic low back pain (cLBP). Previous research showed that 59% of people with cLBP experience poor sleep quality and 53% are diagnosed with insomnia disorder. Medication for both sleep and back pain can have serious side effects, and risk of opioid-related overdose and death increases with use of sleep medications. Continue reading

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Weight-Loss Surgery May Release Toxic Compounds From Fat Into the Bloodstream – Surgery

I’m not a doctor, just a guy who writes a blog on trying to live healthy by getting enough exercise and eating intelligently. So, I find the conclusion of this study to be almost karmic.

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Toxic man-made chemicals—such as polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides—that are absorbed into the body and stored in fat may be released into the bloodstream during the rapid fat loss that follows bariatric surgery, according to a study from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The finding points to the need for further research to understand the health effects of this potential toxicant exposure.

For the study, published online November 5 in Obesity, the researchers examined 26 people undergoing bariatric weight-loss surgery, and found evidence of post-surgery rises in the bloodstream levels of environmental toxicants that are known to be stored long term in fat, including PCBs, organochlorine pesticides, and PCB-like polybrominated diphenyl ethers. The study also revealed that participants born before 1976—when most of these chemical compounds were still widely used—tended to have much higher bloodstream levels of the chemicals, compared to younger participants.

“The fact that this increasingly popular type of surgery may be causing these compounds to be released into the bloodstream really challenges us to understand the potential health consequences,” says study senior author John Groopman, PhD, the Edyth H. Schoenrich Professor in Preventive Medicine at the Bloomberg School.

About 16 million people in the U.S. are morbidly obese, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 35 kg/m2. Their extreme overweight condition confers a relatively high risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and many cancers. For almost three decades, the U.S. National Institutes of Health has recommended weight-loss surgeries called bariatric surgeries—including stomach stapling and gastric bypass procedures—for people who are morbidly obese and have serious obesity-related conditions such as diabetes, as well as for anyone with a BMI over 40. More than 200,000 bariatric surgeries are now performed in the country every year. Continue reading

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Filed under bariatric surgery, belly fat, central obesity, obesity

Weekend funnies …

I found these to be amusing. I hope you feel similarly. Remember, to write with a broken pencil is pointless.😎

Have a great weekend!

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Sorry, I couldn’t resist this one.

Tony

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Your brain on sugar: What science actually says

We love sweet treats. But too much sugar in our diets can lead to weight gain and obesity, Type 2 diabetes and dental decay. We know we shouldn’t be eating candy, ice cream, cookies, cakes and drinking sugary sodas, but sometimes they are so hard to resist.

It’s as if our brain is hardwired to want these foods.

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Neuroscience research centers on how modern day “obesogenic,” or obesity-promoting, diets change the brain. We want to understand how what we eat alters our behavior and whether brain changes can be mitigated by other lifestyle factors. Continue reading

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Filed under neuroplasticity, sugar, sugar addiction

Improved fitness can mean living longer without dementia – Study

“It is important to say that it is never too late to begin exercising. The average participant in our study was around 60 years old at baseline, and improvement in cardio-respiratory fitness was strongly linked to lower dementia risk. Those who had poor fitness in the 1980s but improved it within the next decade could expect to live two years longer without dementia,” says Atefe Tari of the Cardiac Exercise Research Group (CERG) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

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Tari is lead author of a new study that was recently published in Lancet Public Health, a highly ranked journal in the prestigious Lancet family.

“Persistently low fitness is an independent risk factor for dementia and death due to dementia,” the authors concluded. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, aging brain, cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, exercise frequency, successful aging

4 Tips for staying healthy this winter

Colder temperatures, inclement weather, reductions in the amount of daylight, and the spread of cold and flu viruses can all have a significant impact on your winter well-being, making it more challenging for you to stay safe and healthy.

Here are four important tips and tricks to help you cope with the cold weather, care for your immune system, and stay active until spring arrives, from Western Connecticut Medical Group.

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Tip 1: Prepare in Advance

A little prevention in the fall can help everyone — and especially older adults — avoid serious wintertime accidents. Precautions include preventing falls by installing handrails and fixing uneven or steep stairs before the weather turns cold and icy.

Fall is also a great time to work on increasing your flexibility. Increasing your flexibility decreases your risk of falling. And if you do fall, flexibility helps to decrease the severity of the injury. Stretching several times a week can improve your flexibility. Traditional stretching, yoga, tai chi, or Pilates are all great ways to stay flexible. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, cold weather exercising, flu season, flu shot, successful aging

Aging folks worried about dementia risk

Nearly half of Americans in their 50s and early 60s think they’re likely to develop dementia as they grow older, but only 5% of them have actually talked with a doctor about what they could do to reduce their risk, a new study finds. 

Meanwhile, a third or more say they’re trying to stave off dementia by taking supplements or doing crossword puzzles – despite the lack of proof that such tactics work. 

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The new findings suggest a need for better counseling for middle-aged Americans about the steps they can take to keep their brains healthy as they age.

Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies continue to work on potential dementia-preventing medications. But an over-estimation of future dementia risk by individuals may lead to costly over-use of such products, the researchers warn.

The new results appear in a research letter in the new edition of JAMA Neurology, and a presentation at the Gerontological Society of America’s annual meeting.

Both are by members of a team from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation who analyzed data from a nationally representative poll of 1,019 adults between the ages of 50 and 64.

Donovan Maust, M.D., M.S., a geriatric psychiatrist specializing in dementia-related care and lead author of the JAMA Neurology letter, notes that even among the oldest Americans, the risk of dementia is lower than one in three people over age 85.

Risk starts rising around age 65, and is higher among people of Latino or African-American heritage. Continue reading

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Filed under Alzheimer's disease, Alzheimer's risk, dementia, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits

When you are ready to quit smoking …

I have written about quitting smoking and the damage smoking does for several years. You can go to my Page – How many ways does smoking harm you ?to read further on it. To be honest I have a hard time understanding how anyone who is able to read can still be a smoker, but, clearly, there are still millions of them/you. The following tips are from Rush University Medical Center.

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There is no arguing about the glamor of smoking.

When you’re ready to quit, these strategies can help:

Quitting smoking for good can be a challenge, but your health and lifestyle will reap the rewards:

  • Just 20 minutes after you quit, your heart rate and blood pressure both drop.
  • Within two to three months, your heart attack risk begins to drop and your lung function starts to improve.
  • Within nine months, you’ll be coughing less and experience less shortness of breath.
  • Five to 15 years after quitting, your stroke risk will be the same as a nonsmoker’s.

Continue reading

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Filed under quitting smoking, smoking, Smoking dangers, Snacking, Uncategorized

More Americans struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep – Study

Getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep every night is a struggle for most people, but even those who do may not have the best sleep.

New research from Iowa State University finds more Americans have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. The changes were independent of sleep duration, and difficulties were most prevalent in people with healthy sleep length, the findings show. The study, published in the journal Sleep Health, is one of the first to look at how multiple dimensions of sleep health change over time.

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Continue reading

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Filed under cell phones, good night's sleep, sleep, sleep deprivation, social media

Weekend funnies …

If you are in one of those sections of the country that just got hit with the arctic air, I hope you have a pleasant and warmer weekend. And, maybe a giggle or two …

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Tony

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Why you should add legumes to your diet – Tufts

Eat more plant foods…increase dietary fiber…choose natural foods over processed…get your nutrients from whole foods, not supplements. For an easy way to follow all of this sound dietary advice at the same time, simply up your intake of foods from the legume family. Legumes, which include beans, lentils, split peas, green peas, and peanuts, are thought to be one of the first cultivated crops and have been consumed by people around the world for over 10,000 year, according to Tufts Health & Nutrition Update.

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Unfortunately, legumes are no longer a staple food in most American diets. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend adults consume one to three cups of legumes per week (depending on calorie requirements), but average intake is less than one cup weekly.

Try these tips for adding more satisfying, health-promoting legumes to your diet: Continue reading

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Study finds negative effects from popular herb

The herb kratom is increasingly being used to manage pain and treat opioid addiction, but it’s not safe to use as an herbal supplement, according to new research led by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

The drug is available in smoke shops and online. Using low doses, it is a stimulant. At high doses, it has an opioid-like effect.

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William Eggleston, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Binghamton University, had been seeing more and more patients presenting with toxicity or withdrawal from kratom use. Kratom is an herbal supplement derived from a plant that grows throughout southeast Asia. It is well-reported that the active chemicals in the plant act on opioid receptors in the body. Patients report using the supplement to treat/prevent withdrawal, treat opioid use disorder, or treat pain. Continue reading

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Filed under herbal supplement, kratom, opioids, Pain relief

Some tips for biking (or any exercise) in cold weather …

“The hawk is back.” That’s what we Chicagoans say when temperatures turn cold here. I woke up to 20F degrees the other morning. The second week in November is a bit early for such temps, but if you want to ride your bike, you deal with it. By the way, when temps fall to sub zero, the expression here is, “The hawk is back … and he brought his whole damn family.”

So, winter seems to have come early to Chicago.

Whether you ride a bike or not, I think you will find some useful info here.

From the Toronto Star

The Wall Street Journal a while back had a cleverly written item on Your Outdoor Sports Survival Guide, by Jason Gay. He aptly describes “the maniacal joy of Survival Season,” and observes “Nobody looks suave playing sports in the freezing cold. If you are doing it correctly, you look a little unhinged and suspicious. Are you going to play golf…or rob the Bank of Alaska?”
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Filed under cold season, cold weather, cold weather biking, cold weather exercising, Exercise, exercise benefits, good health

Thinking about shoveling snow …

It is for many of us the onset of snow shoveling season. If you are a reader on the East Coast, where the El Nino blizzard hit a while back, please be aware that in terms of your body shoveling snow is not a totally innocent activity.

While I strongly support calorie burning exercises to build up your cardiovascular system and other benefits, it is important to know your limits. If you are not currently working out or don’t consider yourself to be “in condition,” please think twice before you grab that snow shovel and race out to clear the walk.

The American Journal of Emergency Medicine reported that more than 195,000 people were treated in U.S. Emergency Rooms for snow-shovel-related incidents from 1990 to 2006. This is an average of 11,500 individuals per year. Keep in mind that this information only covers folks who actually went to the ER for treatment. Plenty more stayed home and nursed their wounds ….

About 2/3 of these incidents occurred among males. Children younger than 18 made up 15.3% of the cases. Older adults (above 55 years) accounted for more than 20%.
Continue reading

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Filed under Exercise, fitness, sedentary lifestyle, snow shoveling

Vaping not worth potential heart risk …

I feel very strongly about the dangers of smoking and have written about them repeatedly. It seems that some folks have switched over to vaping as a less unhealthy alternative. The more we learn about it, the less that seems to be true. Don’t smoke. Here is my Page on smoking – How many ways does smoking harm you?

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Science hasn’t yet caught up with electronic cigarettes, leaving health care providers and users with many unknowns. But a new review of the research so far finds growing evidence that vaping can harm the heart and blood vessels.

“Many people think these products are safe, but there is more and more reason to worry about their effects on heart health,” said Loren Wold, senior author of the study, published today (Nov. 7, 2019) in the journal Cardiovascular Research. Continue reading

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Filed under heart, heart health, smoking, Smoking dangers, vaping

The benefits of interval walking …


In Japan, health-conscious folks have been known to carry around pedometers to track the number of steps they walk everyday. The target number: 10,000 steps, as a foundation for a healthy lifestyle.

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Conscientious walkers can now update their device from a pedometer to a smartphone and forget about ten thousand steps with the latest study from Dr. Shizue Masuki of Shinshu University who found an effective way to increase overall fitness and decrease lifestyle-related disease (LSD) through Interval Walking Training (IWT). It’s not how much you walk, but how intensely you do so for a minimum amount of time to get positive results. This finding may be welcome news for those who want to save time and get the most out of their workout.

Interval Walking Training is the method of walking at 70% of the walker’s maximum capacity for 3 minutes, then at 40% of their capacity for the next 3 minutes. This is continued for 5 or more sets. Dr. Masuki studied a group of 679 participants with a medium age of 65 over the course of 5 months. Every two weeks data was collected from participants at a local community office and via the internet through the data measuring device (triaxial accelerometer). The triaxial accelerometer is a device that beeped to let the walker know when they were at least 70% of their peak aerobic capacity (VO2peak), and at 3 minutes to switch. It recorded their walking data to the central server at the administrative center for automatic analysis.

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Filed under interval walking, steps, Uncategorized, VO2peak, walking