How to avoid running overuse injuries

The ubiquitous overuse injuries that nag runners may stem from an unlikely culprit: how far you lean forward.

Trunk flexion, the angle at which a runner bends forward from the hip, can range wildly–runners have self-reported angles of approximately -2 degrees to upward of 25. A new study from the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) found that greater trunk flexion has significant impact on stride length, joint movements, and ground reaction forces. How you lean may be one of the contributors to your knee pain, medial tibial stress syndrome, or back pain.

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“This was a pet peeve turned into a study,” said Anna Warrener, PhD, lead author and assistant professor of anthropology at CU Denver. Warrener worked on the initial research during her postdoc fellowship with Daniel Liberman, PhD, in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. “When [Lieberman] was out preparing for his marathons, he noticed other people leaning too far forward as they ran, which had so many implications for their lower limbs. Our study was built to find out what they were.”

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How to eat right and save money – AHA

You want to eat healthy. You need to save cash. Can you have it both ways?

Yes, experts say.

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“People think that healthy eating is an elite thing, that it’s something you can only do if you have lots of money, and lots of spare time, and all kinds of fancy equipment,” said Christine Hradek, a nutrition specialist at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Ames. “And really, that isn’t true.”

Here’s how to make it happen.

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Weekend funnies …

I hope you had a pleasant Bastille Day this week and a lovely weekend ahead.

Tony

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Moderate alcohol use linked to higher cancer risk

A new study from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), published in the journal Lancet Oncology, has found an association between alcohol and a substantially higher risk of several forms of cancer, including breast, colon, and oral cancers. Increased risk was evident even among light to moderate drinkers (up to two drinks a day), who represented 1 in 7 of all new cancers in 2020 and more than 100,000 cases worldwide.

In Canada, alcohol use was linked to 7,000 new cases of cancer in 2020, including 24 per cent of breast cancer cases, 20 per cent of colon cancers, 15 per cent of rectal cancers, and 13 per cent of oral and liver cancers.

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“All drinking involves risk,” said study co-author Dr. Jürgen Rehm, Senior Scientist, Institute for Mental Health Policy Research and Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute at CAMH. “And with alcohol-related cancers, all levels of consumption are associated with some risk. For example, each standard sized glass of wine per day is associated with a 6 per cent higher risk for developing female breast cancer.”

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5 ways to protect your heart in extreme heat

With many areas of the country facing triple digit temperatures and summer heat and humidity elsewhere, the American Heart Association, a global force for longer, healthier lives for all, is urging people to take extra steps to protect their hearts. Precautions are especially important for older adults and individuals with high blood pressure, obesity or a history of heart disease and stroke.

Temperatures over 100 or even temperatures in the 80s with high humidity can cause a dangerous heat index that can be hard on the heart. Recent research published in Circulation, the flagship journal of the American Heart Association, found that when temperatures reach extremes of an average daily temperature of 109 degrees Fahrenheit, the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease may double or triple. Another study, featured at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference, suggests that the more temperatures fluctuate during the summer, the more severe strokes may become.

In hot weather, the body tries to cool itself by shifting blood from major organs to underneath the skin. This shift causes the heart to pump more blood, putting it under significantly more stress.

“If you’re a heart patient, older than 50 or overweight, the American Heart Association suggests you take special precautions in the heat to protect your heart,” said Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Sc.M., FAHA, the American Heart Association’s new volunteer president and chair of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

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Handwriting beats typing and watching videos for learning to read

Though writing by hand is increasingly being eclipsed by the ease of computers, a new study finds we shouldn’t be so quick to throw away the pencils and paper: handwriting helps people learn certain skills surprisingly faster and significantly better than learning the same material through typing or watching videos.

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“The question out there for parents and educators is why should our kids spend any time doing handwriting,” says senior author Brenda Rapp, a Johns Hopkins University professor of cognitive science. “Obviously, you’re going to be a better hand-writer if you practice it. But since people are handwriting less then maybe who cares? The real question is: Are there other benefits to handwriting that have to do with reading and spelling and understanding? We find there most definitely are.”

The work appears in the journal Psychological Science.

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The sense of smell in older adults declines when it comes to meat, but not vanilla

TASTE AND SMELL

Contrary to what science once suggested, older people with a declining sense of smell do not have comprehensively dampened olfactory ability for odors in general – it simply depends upon the type of odor. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen reached this conclusion after examining a large group of older Danes’ and their intensity perception of common food odors.

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That grandpa and grandma aren’t as good at smelling as they once were, is something that many can relate to. And, it has also been scientifically demonstrated. One’s sense of smell gradually begins to decline from about the age of 55. Until now, it was believed that one’s sense of smell broadly declined with increasing age. However, a study from the University of Copenhagen reports that certain food odors are significantly more affected than others.

The Department of Food Science’s Eva Honnens de Lichtenberg Broge and her fellow researchers have tested the ability of older Danes to perceive everyday food odors. The researchers measured how intensely older adults perceived different food odours, as well as how much they liked the odours.

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Consuming more fish fats, less vegetable oils can reduce migraine headaches

A diet higher in fatty fish helpedfrequent migraine sufferers reduce their monthly number of headaches and intensity of pain compared to participants on a diet higher in vegetable-based fats and oils, according to a new study. The findings by a team of researchers from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), parts of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and the University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill, were published in The BMJ.

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The NIH team was led by Chris Ramsden, a clinical investigator in the NIA and NIAAA intramural research programs, and a UNC adjunct faculty member. Ramsden and his team specialize in the study of lipids — fatty acid compounds found in many natural oils — and their role in aging, especially chronic pain and neurodegenerative conditions. The UNC team was led by Doug Mann, M.D., of the Department of Neurology, and Kim Faurot, Ph.D., of the Program on Integrative Medicine.

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Scientists Develop Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease Blood Test

An international research team led by Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has developed a simple but robust blood test from Chinese patient data for early detection and screening of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) for the first time, with an accuracy level of over 96%.

Currently, doctors mainly rely on cognitive tests to diagnose a person with AD. Besides clinical assessment, brain imaging and lumbar puncture are the two most commonly used medical procedures to detect changes in the brain caused by AD. However, these methods are expensive, invasive, and frequently unavailable in many countries. 

The research team identified 19 plasma hub proteins (indicated as yellow dots in the figure) in AD patients, which are irregular compared to healthy people.

Now, a team led by Prof. Nancy IP, Vice-President for Research and Development at HKUST, has identified 19 out of the 429 plasma proteins associated with AD to form a biomarker panel representative of an “AD signature” in the blood.  Based on this panel, the team has developed a scoring system that distinguishes AD patients from healthy people with more than 96% accuracy. This system can also differentiate among the early, intermediate, and late stages of AD, and can be used to monitor the progression of the disease over time. These exciting findings have led to the development of a high-performance, blood-based test for AD, and may also pave the way to novel therapeutic treatments for the disease.

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Weekend Funnies …

Here’s hoping that you enjoyed your holiday weekend. Possibly some fun follows …

Tony

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Healthy choices may reduce Alzheimer’s risk

No effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease exists, even though more than 5 million Americans have it, according to the Penn State Health News.

But what if there was a way to reduce the risk? Research suggests there may be methods to protect yourself.

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What is Alzheimer’s disease?

“Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia,” said Dr. Chen Zhao, a neurologist at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. “With Alzheimer’s, an abnormal protein builds up in the brain, and over time, that spreads to other parts of the brain and normal brain cells start to die.”

This progression can lead to problems that affect one’s day-to-day life, including short-term memory loss, getting lost, spatial and navigation issues and trouble making judgments. It can eventually lead to trouble speaking or recognizing people.

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Changing consumption of certain fatty acids can lessen severity of headaches

A new study shows how a change in diet based on certain classes of fatty acids decreased headaches in patients over a 16-week period

Migraine is one of the largest causes of disability in the world. Existing treatments are often not enough to offer full relief for patients. A new study published in The BMJ demonstrates an additional option patients can use in their effort to experience fewer migraines and headaches – a change in diet.

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“Our ancestors ate very different amounts and types of fats compared to our modern diets,” said co-first author Daisy Zamora, PhD, assistant professor in the UNC Department of Psychiatry in the UNC School of Medicine. “Polyunsaturated fatty acids, which our bodies do not produce, have increased substantially in our diet due to the addition of oils such as corn, soybean and cottonseed to many processed foods like chips, crackers and granola.”

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How COVID-19 is changing life expectancy

A year after the first U.S. coronavirus deaths, UCLA sociologist Patrick Heuveline reports on the dramatic impact

As a demographer — someone who studies how human populations grow and change — UCLA professor of sociology Patrick Heuveline typically spends time each year traveling around the world, talking to people about their hopes for their families and their dreams for the future.

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“Demography is obviously all about numbers — but at its core, it’s about people’s lives,” he said.

A big part of understanding demographics is understanding mortality, which is why in 2020 Heuveline’s research took on a grim new reality. He began tracking worldwide COVID-19 deaths and interpreting what those numbers mean to overall life expectancy.

April marks a somber milestone in the pandemic: one year since the U.S. recorded its first COVID-19–related deaths. As of the end of March, more than 2.8 million around the world, including more than 550,000 Americans, have died of causes related to COVID-19.

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What about watermelon’s sweetness? AHA

For the record, I love to eat watermelon. I probably have some every day. You can check out my post on it at

Just how healthy is watermelon? The following is from the American Heart Association Health News.

Whether they’re serving as snacks at a family reunion or props in a late-night comedy act, watermelons and fun just seem to go together. But how does watermelon hold up health-wise?

Smashingly, you might say.

“I’m definitely impressed by its health benefits,” said Tim Allerton, a postdoctoral researcher at Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge.

It’s a rich source of minerals such as potassium and magnesium. It’s also a good source of vitamins C and A (plus beta carotene, which helps produce vitamin A), and it has fair amounts of vitamins B1, B5 and B6. You get all of that for only 46.5 calories per cup.

Befitting its name, watermelon is about 92% water, which suggests why ancestral watermelons were carried in Africa’s Kalahari Desert as long as 5,000 years ago. This is a treat with a lineage: Modern-looking versions are depicted in ancient Egyptian tombs.

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Happy 4th of July!

Health Secrets of a SuperAger

I hope you are having a Wonderful 4th of July!

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Ton

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Activities in youth impact brain as it ages

Because of the Alzheimer’s and dementia in my family in previous generations, the subject of any activity that might help (or have helped) my aging brain is high on my list of priorities.

Human DNA – and this also applies to mice – contains thousands of genes. However, it is not only the genetic blueprint that is decisive for the function of a cell and whether it is healthy or not, but above all which genes can be switched on or off. Aging, living conditions and behavior are known to influence this ability to activate genes. The phenomenon, referred to as “epigenetics”, was the focus of the current study. For this, researchers including Dr. Sara Zocher and Prof. Gerd Kempermann examined mice that had grown up in different environments: One group of animals experienced, from a young age, an “enriched” environment with toys and tunnel tubes. The rodents of a second group did not have such occupational opportunities.

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Attachments to the DNA

When the scientists examined the genome, they found that in those mice that grew up in the stimulating environment, there was, with age, only a relatively small change in certain chemical tags of the DNA. In mice from the low-stimulus environment, these changes were much more pronounced – in comparison between young and older animals. “We registered so-called methyl groups, which stick to the DNA,” explains Gerd Kempermann, speaker for the DZNE’s Dresden site, DZNE research group leader and also a scientist at the CRTD. “These chemical attachments do not alter the genetic information per se. Rather, they influence whether individual genes can be activated or not.”

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