Balance between sleep and exercise may be key to help osteoarthritis patients manage pain

Although osteoarthritis has no cure, researchers are developing a new intervention to improve patients’ chronic pain outcomes.

It may shoot through the hands while typing or flare in the knees when getting out of the car. Wherever the pain, over 32 million Americans living with osteoarthritis experience it.

Photo by Mike Jones on Pexels.com

To reduce that pain, patients living with the degenerative joint disease are often told to exercise.

It sounds simple.

But people with osteoarthritis may experience pain when they start to move more, which can be a deterrent to taking up, or sticking with, an exercise program.

“Pain during movement is an important reason why this population isn’t more active, and we need to identify ways we can help to change this,” said Daniel Whibley, Ph.D., research assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Michigan Medicine. “Otherwise, they may end up in a loop of pain and inactivity that we know can lead to disability later down the line.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Plant-Based Diet May Protect Against Stroke

If you have had a stroke or want to lower your risk for one, the case for eating more fruits, vegetables, and other healthy plant foods—and cutting back on meat and other animal products—gets stronger every year. A recent study published in Neurology adds to the evidence that a plant-based diet can reduce the odds of a stroke and preserve overall brain health. The study also indicates that the types of plant-based foods consumed may make a difference.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Earlier studies have looked at the benefits of plant-based diets, but this one focused on the quality of those diets, says Kathryn M. Rexrode, MD, senior author of the study and a family physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “Not all plant-based diets are healthy,” she notes. “After all, you can be a vegetarian and eat pasta and cake all day.”

Dr. Rexrode and colleagues at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston studied the diets of 209,508 men and women over a roughly 25-year period and found that people who ate mostly fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (such as beans), and nuts reduced their overall risk for stroke by 10 percent. By contrast, they found no benefit against stroke among people who ate six daily servings of refined grains (such as white pasta and rice), potatoes (which convert to sugar rapidly in the body), fruit juice and sugar-sweetened beverages, and sugary desserts.

“If everyone in the United States followed healthy plant-based diets, we could see a reduction of about 80,000 strokes per year,” says Dr. Rexrode. “As someone who has seen the devastating impact of stroke on individuals and families, that sounds like a pretty substantial impact, and a reason to focus on diet.” Every year nearly 800,000 Americans experience a stroke, and survivors stand a one in four chance of having a second one.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Alcohol’s Over-hyped Health Benefits

Some people feel a drink at the end of a tough day helps them unwind and relax. Others may see a daily glass of red wine as a way to boost heart health. This kind of moderate drinking has been associated in some studies with positive health effects, but cause-and-effect evidence is lacking, and alcohol carries serious risks to health and safety. Understanding the science behind the risks and benefits of alcohol consumption can help us make informed decisions about our drinking.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Red wine is often singled out for potential health benefits. It contains bioactive compounds called polyphenols which have been associated with cardiovascular health. It is important to recognize that all of the potentially beneficial compounds in red wine are also found in other foods and beverages. For example, flavonoids, which account for over 85 percent of the polyphenols in red wine, are common in many vegetables, seeds, nuts, spices, and herbs. Resveratrol, a much-hyped compound being studied for health benefits, is found in grape skins and wine, but also in more than 70 other plant species, including berries, peanuts, and cocoa.

The detrimental effects of excess alcohol intake on heart health are well documented. Drinking a lot over a long time or binge drinking can damage the heart, causing problems including stretching of the heart muscle (cardiomyo-pathy), irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation), high blood pressure, and stroke. The potential benefits of red wine drinking, particularly in excess, may therefore be outweighed by potential risks, especially since the beneficial compounds in the wine are easily available from other dietary sources.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Weekend funnies …

Here’s hoping that the first week of the New Year is a good one for you. If not, hopefully these images will lift your spirits.

Tony

3 Comments

Filed under weekend funnies

Let there be light …

I don’t know if I suffer from SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder – or not. If I do, I think it is a mild case. Don’t know what SAD is?


Here’s the Mayo Clinic explaining it, “Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.”

Photo by Szabó Viktor on Pexels.com


“Treatment for SAD may include light therapy (phototherapy), medications and psychotherapy.”


What I do know about myself is that I don’t feel happy about the dwindling hours of sunlight as winter advances. I can’t ride my bike as much because of the looming darkness. By late December I am thrilled to see that the days are beginning, very slowly, a few minutes a day, but undeniably, to have more light.
I live in Chicago. To help me to enjoy the return of the light as winter ebbs, I have charted the sunrise and sunset for January through March. I mentioned living in Chicago because you likely live elsewhere and your sunrise and set times will vary somewhat from mine.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Mapping the musical mind

Researchers in Japan used magnetic resonance imaging to study the brains of secondary school students during a task focused on musical observation. They found that students trained to play music from a young age exhibited certain kinds of brain activity more strongly than other students. The researchers also observed a specific link between musical processing and areas of the brain associated with language processing for the first time.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Professor Kuniyoshi L. Sakai from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tokyo is a keen musician, as are many of his colleagues. Although Sakai has studied human language through the lens of neuroscience for the last 25 years, it’s no surprise that he also studies the effect music has on the brain. Inspired by a mode of musical training known as the Suzuki method, which is based on ideas of natural language acquisition, Sakai and his team wanted to explore common neurological aspects of music and language.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Excessive intake of simple sugar affect higher brain function

There has been a remarkable increase in intake of simple sugar (sucrose, isomerized sugar (corn syrup)) from beverages and diets in modern society. The intake of simple sugars in adolescents in which mental disorders frequently occur is higher than any other generations. Moreover, patients with mental disorders consume approximately 2-fold more sugar than age-matched healthy individuals, and patients with schizophrenia who consume more sucrose exhibit more severe symptoms. Despite accumulating evidence, it is still unproven that excessive sugar intake contributes to the pathogenesis of psychiatric disorders among susceptible individuals. Doesn’t an excessive intake of simple sugar affect higher brain function? We attempted to elucidate this causal relationship.

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

As a susceptibility gene for psychiatric disorder, we selected Glyoxylase-1 and Disrupted-in-schizophrenia-1. By combining the heterozygous mice with environmental factors of excessive sugar intake at the age of puberty, we successfully created a novel mouse model exhibiting various mental disorder-like symptoms, including decreased sensorimotor gating function, decreased working memory, hyperactivity, abnormal gamma-band component in EEG. In other words, this demonstrates a possibility that the excessive intake of simple sugar at the age of puberty could be an environmental risk factor of psychiatric disorders.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

No convincing scientific evidence that hangover cures work

Spoiler alert: I’m not much of a drinker. I down maybe two beers in a month, so I have no need for hangover cures of any kind. However, I thought with New Year’s Eve celebrations barely over, maybe you might ….

A new systematic review has found only very low-quality evidence that substances claiming to treat or prevent alcohol-induced hangover work. 

Photo by Prem Pal Singh Tanwar on Pexels.com

The researchers call for more rigorous scientific exploration of the effectiveness of these remedies for hangovers to provide practitioners and the public with accurate evidence-based information on which to make their decisions. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

7 Areas of the Body Affected by Sitting too Long – Infographic

I have posted on sitting too long in the past. This post specifies the exact region of the body affected.

To read further on the hazards of sitting too long, check out Too Much Sitting can be Hazardous to Your Health and Longevity”, Exercising More, Sitting Less Reduces Heart Failure Risk in Men, Sitting Too Much is Killing Us – New York Times, Sitting Is Killing You – Infographic.

How Sitting Too Long Affects the BodyTony

2 Comments

Filed under sitting too long

Nutrition Experts Reveal Top Consumer Diet Changes Due to COVID-19

The following was written as a summary of changes that consumers had made as a result of the Covid-19 conditions at the beginning of 2021. Here we are at the beginning of 2022. This provides a fascinating look back in time.

Photo by Lisa on Pexels.com

The global pandemic has changed all aspects of normal living, and ushered in an era where health and wellness are paramount decision drivers for the foreseeable future, especially when it comes to food and beverage choices. The 2021 Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian “What’s Trending in Nutrition” survey, with 1,165 registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) responding, provides an in-depth look at how dietitians believe consumers’ diets have changed due to COVID-19. The health revolution has exploded as a result of the pandemic, with the top findings for 2021 revealing a focus on foods that support immunity and provide comfort, as well as a major shift in snacking habits. Changes to the top 10 superfoods list also indicate a move toward foods that are plant-forward and support health, with green tea, a natural anti-inflammatory beverage, jumping from #10 last year to the #3 spot this year, and nutrient-rich spinach and leafy greens making their debut on the list. As consumers continue to search for diets that promote well-being and longevity, intermittent fasting surpasses the ketogenic diet as the #1 diet trend dietitians predict for 2021, and RDNs forecast consumers will be on the hunt for natural, clean labels and ingredients like cannabidiol (CBD), collagen and hemp. Here’s a look at the full results.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Happy New Year: Weekend Funnies

How about starting the New Year with maybe a giggle anyway. Heaven knows last year didn’t give us much to laugh about.

Best wishes for the coming year!

This might be an Italian joke. When I grew up, many of my friends played the accordion.

Tony

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Common risk factor for Alzheimer’s may predispose carriers to severe COVID-19

A study conducted at the University of Helsinki and the Helsinki University Hospital suggests that the APOE4 allele may also increase cerebral microhaemorrhages related to COVID-19 and associate with mental fatigue related to long COVID.

Photo by CDC on Pexels.com

Roughly one-third of Finns carry the APOE4 allele, a genetic variant that predisposes carriers to Alzheimer’s disease. Globally, researchers have reported observations that show a link between APOE4 and COVID-19, both in terms of increased susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 mortality. Now, a research group at the University of Helsinki and the Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) has investigated the link between the APOE4 allele and the severity of COVID-19 in the Finnish population.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The different types of dementia – Infographic

Everyone over the age of 50 has concerns about their aging brain. I went through it and I know that the concerns are pervasive. Here is an infographic that explains a great deal about your brain.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Social isolation impacts brain function in significant, sometimes permanent ways

It appears that isolation rewires the brain in myriad ways, potentially leading to anxiety, depression, addiction, and other behavioral changes. The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2021, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health. 

Photo by Ann Zzz on Pexels.com

Humans are a highly social species who crave social contact for their well-being. Loneliness induced by social isolation can cause significant neurological and behavioral changes that may lead to health issues. Given the widespread experience of loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a need to better understand and prevent the long-term effects of social isolation. Scientists are just beginning to understand these changes and hope to find ways to curb their negative effects. 

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Botox injections may reduce anxiety

Botox, or Botulinum toxin, a medication derived from a bacterial toxin, is commonly injected to ease wrinkles, migraines, muscle spasms, excessive sweating and incontinence. Researchers at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California San Diego, in collaboration with two physicians from Germany, may have found a new use thanks to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Adverse Effect Reporting System (FAERS) database, in which nearly 40,000 people reported what happened to them after Botox treatment for a variety of reasons.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

The study, publishing Dec. 21, 2021 in the journal Scientific Reports, found that people receiving Botox injections at four different sites — not just in the forehead — reported anxiety significantly less often than patients undergoing different treatments for the same conditions. 

“A large number of diverse adverse effects are being reported to the FDA and the main objective usually is to find those harmful side effects that had not been identified during clinical trials,” said Ruben Abagyan, PhD, professor of pharmacy. “However, our idea was different. Why don’t we do the opposite? Why don’t we find beneficial effects?”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Intermittent fasting works for weight loss, health changes – Study

Intermittent fasting can produce clinically significant weight loss as well as improve metabolic health in individuals with obesity, according to a new study review led by University of Illinois Chicago researchers.

Photo by Sabel Blanco on Pexels.com

“We noted that intermittent fasting is not better than regular dieting; both produce the same amount of weight loss and similar changes in blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation,” said Krista Varady, KN professor and author of “Cardiometabolic Benefits of Intermittent Fasting.”

According to the analysis published in the Annual Review of Nutrition, all forms of fasting reviewed produced mild to moderate weight loss, 1%-8% from baseline weight, which represents results that are similar to that of more traditional, calorie-restrictive diets. Intermittent fasting regimens may also benefit health by decreasing blood pressure and insulin resistance, and in some cases, cholesterol and triglyceride levels are also lowered. Other health benefits, such as improved appetite regulation and positive changes in the gut microbiome, have also been demonstrated.

The review looked at over 25 research studies involving three types of intermittent fasting: 

  • Alternate day fasting, which typically involves a feast day alternated with a fast day where 500 calories are consumed in one meal. 
  • 5:2 diet, a modified version of alternate day fasting that involves five feast days and two fast days per week. 
  • Time-restricted eating, which confines eating to a specified number of hours per day, usually four to 10 hours, with no calorie restrictions during the eating period. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized