More evidence that exercise can help fight Alzheimer's disease

olderLenny Bernstein in the The Washington Post shared that evidence continues to accumulate that physical activity can help hold off the changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease, and perhaps the devastating symptoms of the disease itself.

The latest information comes from researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, who looked at 317 late-middle aged adults and determined that those who exercised five times a week or more had fewer of the age-related changes in the brain that are associated with the disease, and did better on cognitive tests.

Age remains the single greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s, greater even than having the gene found in many people with the disease, the study confirmed. But “what we have shown here is that physical activity diminishes the deleterious influence of age,” said Ozioma Okonkwo, an assistant professor of medicine at the school who led the study.

People who exercised had less accumulation of “beta amyloid plaque,” the proteins that build up in the brains of people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. They had less shrinkage of the hippocampus and less reduction in use of glucose in the brain, two other symptoms of the disease. And they had fewer neurofibrillary tangles, twisted fibers inside brain cells of people with Alzheimer’s. When researchers tested the people who worked out, they did better on memory and visual-spatial tests.

An increasing amount of research has shown that exercise can help hold off Alzheimer’s disease, including this July study that The New York Times called “inspiring.” The University Wisconsin research, published in November in the journal Neurology, adds strong evidence from examinations of the subjects’ brains to support that conclusion.

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Where does the fat go when you lose it?

body-fat-measureLenny Bernstein from The Washington Post shared that you’ve lost a pound of fat. Congrats, that’s not easy to do during the holidays. But where exactly does it go when you manage to get rid of it?

First, some possible answers:

A. The fat fairy came and took it. That’s why you always weigh less in the morning.

B. You converted it to heat and radiated it into the atmosphere.

C. It’s not really lost, it’s just delayed in Cleveland.

D. You released it as carbon dioxide and water through your lungs.

E. You melted it and excreted it in your urine and feces.

If you didn’t answer D, don’t worry too much. Neither did a bunch of doctors and biochemistry students whom Ruben Meerman queried before writing about all this in a short paper released in the British Medical Journal this month.

“We’re going to remove the mystery,” Meerman said in an interview from Sydney, Australia, where he lives. “Right now, most people, including doctors, have got an idea that’s scientifically incorrect. It’s literally impossible to do what they think is happening.”

Meerman is a former physicist who abandoned that career to take up “science communication,” including work for a popular Australian television show, “Catalyst.” Last year, he lost some weight and began to think about what happens on a molecular level to the kilograms of fat he was shedding.

“I had a little bit of understanding you can’t just turn fat into heat,” he said, though that turned out to be a popular answer when he started asking the question.

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Tis The Season for STRESS!

staying-healthyVirgin Heath shared in its 2014 Survey on “The holidays’ impact on employees’ health happiness (& what it means for employers) that it looks like the stress – not to mention all that turkey and eggnog – is weighing on employees’ health.

Sixty-two percent said eating healthy is the hardest aspect of well-being to maintain during the holidays, with 71 percent of respondents saying they eat unhealthily between two and five days a week.

Employees are also have trouble finding time to exercise and aren’t logging enough sleep. Fifty-one percent and 46 percent, respectively, said these were the aspects of well-being they found hardest to maintain during the holidays. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they sleep poorly and 51 percent said they skip exercising between two and five days during the holidays.

Encourage your employees to maintain their healthy habits during the holidays, and all year long. With exercise, sleep, and proper nutrition all proven to have dramatic impacts on people’s performance.

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Researchers Shed Light on Asthma's Mysteries

kids-with-asthmaSHIRLEY S. WANG shared this article in the Wall Street Journal Newspaper on Sept. 22, 2014.  I found it very informative.
Researchers are making interesting new discoveries about a particularly confusing type of asthma.

Doctors increasingly are recognizing that as many as half of asthma sufferers have a form of the lung disease known as nonallergic asthma. Some medications that help control symptoms of the more familiar allergic asthma aren’t as effective in nonallergic patients.

There is still much that isn’t understood about allergic asthma, which is brought on by an overactive response of the body’s immune system to food, pollen and other allergens. Even more mysterious is the cause of nonallergic asthma, which doesn’t involve an immune-system response. Symptoms for both forms of the disease typically include constricted airways, wheezing and coughing.

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Researchers also continue to discover substances in the environment that appear to increase the risk for developing asthma. One of the latest studies, from New York’s Columbia University Medical Center, found an association between asthma rates and phthalates, chemicals used in many plastic products that have raised health concerns.

The scientific hunt for the causes of asthma reflects concern about the puzzling rise in rates of the disease. In the U.S., the percentage of the population diagnosed increased in 2010 to 8.4%—or more than 25 million adults and children—from 5.5% in 1996, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 1.8 million people visited a hospital emergency department in 2010 for asthma-related treatment.

Scientists studying nonallergic asthma say greater understanding of the molecular pathways in this form of the disease could lead to new targets for drug development.

Stefan Worgall, chief of the pediatric pulmonology, allergy and immunology division at Weill Cornell Medical College, and his colleagues recently discovered that when a normally occurring type of fat, known as sphingolipids, isn’t embedded properly in the cell walls in the lungs of mice, the airways constrict.

In a related experiment, they administered a drug to inhibit sphingolipid production in tissue taken from a healthy human lung. The tissue showed the same type of constriction as seen in the mice, the study found. The report was published last year in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Dr. Worgall says the finding could help explain why obesity is a risk factor for asthma. Obese people tend to exhibit abnormalities in sphingolipids, he says.

Currently, Dr. Worgall and his team are measuring sphingolipid levels in the blood and breath of asthmatic children. Early findings suggest the levels appear abnormal, he says.

Jeroen Douwes, director of the Centre for Public Health Research, at Massey University in New Zealand, believes nonallergic-asthma patients might have particularly sensitive nerves in the lungs that tell the brain at a lower-than-normal threshold that a noxious substance is in the air and airways need to be constricted.

 

 

Walk or bike to work to increase happiness

BTW2014_web_slider_1Walking to work is not only good for your body; it may also benefit your psychological health, a new study from England suggests, FOX News reports.

In the study, the researchers analyzed information from nearly 18,000 commuters in England who answered questions about their well-being, such as whether they experienced feelings of worthlessness, unhappiness or sleepless nights in the last few weeks. Based on those answers, the researchers gave each participant a well-being score. Participants completed the survey for at least three consecutive years between 1991 and 2009.

People who walked or cycled to work had higher well-being scores than those who drove. In particular, people who drove to work had a 13 percent higher likelihood of feeling that they were constantly under strain and unable to concentrate, compared with those who walked or cycled.

The findings held even after the researchers took into account factors that could affect well-being, such as household income, overall health and whether the participants had children.

What’s more, people who switched from driving to walking or cycling to work tended to experience an improvement in well-being, the study found.

“These results appear to suggest that avoiding car driving may be beneficial to well-being,” the researchers wrote in the Sept. 15 issue of the journal Preventive Medicine.

5 Healthy Back to School Tips

Back to schoolMaking back to school time healthy can be handled with ease when you incorporate these five healthy back to school tips into your children’s daily routine.

 

1. Don’t Short-Change Your Kids’ Sleep

According to the National Institute of Health, school-aged children and teens need at least 9 hours of sleep a night. You know how you feel when you sleep less than the 7-8 hours we as adults are supposed to get on average. So be sure to have an established bedtime that lets your kids get the proper rest so they are mentally and physically ready to take on the day at school.

2. Exercise Rocks!

Sadly, many schools have eliminated or reduced physical education classes.  However, just because physical activity may be lacking during school hours, it doesn’t mean your child should skip it.  If possible, have your child walk or bike to and from school, go to the local playground after school as weather permits, join a kid-friendly family gym or join a children’s sports or dance program.  Studies show that at least 60 minutes of exercise a day helps children maintain a healthy weight, build strength, stamina and self-confidence, reduce stress and sleep better.

Want your kids to be more active? Take the lead by exercising and setting a good example!  Or add some quality time by doing something active together each day.

3. A Great Day of Learning Starts with a Good Healthy Breakfast

A solid breakfast helps your children do well in school helping to support brain function, concentration and energy, and it also helps with maintaining a healthy weight.

An ideal healthy breakfast includes high quality protein like smoothies with whey protein, eggs (more egg white in proportion to whole eggs to balance cholesterol if they have them frequently) which can be made to go in a whole wheat pita, tortilla or English Muffin, turkey bacon (nitrate free if possible) or a quality energy bar like Quest Nutrition Protein Bars made from whey and milk protein (they have a cookies and cream bar that’s unbelievable).

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Get Moving!

ch3The “A Year of Being Well”  Newsletters shared that some people dread the thought of physical activity even though adults need at least 30 minutes each day and kids ages 6 and older need at least 60 minutes. Reasons for lacking enough physical activity vary. Perhaps being active seems tough because you’re not in shape or you have trouble finding time in the day? Whatever your reasons, there are affordable ways to keep moving that can fit into your busy schedule. It’s important for families to understand that small, easy steps can significantly increase your family’s prospects for healthier lives.

Explore new ideas to get your kids moving more. Doing things as a family will help you ensure you’re all getting the amount of physical activity you need. Play ball or tag. Ride bikes. Take a Walk to Be Well. Physical activity doesn’t have to be something you dread. Find an activity you like and do it every day!

Knee Pain – The Closest You'll Ever Get to a Panacea

lDerek Unnasch, (Derek@elitextraining.com)
the Owner and a Trainer at Elite X Training in Lombard, IL shares this information about knee pain:

For the last 25 years, I have exercised consistently without ever taking off more than a week  – including the two months I spent recouping from a catastrophic ankle break on crutches. Up until a couple years ago, I went to extremes to maintain big and powerful legs, hoping to keep that condition indefinitely. I pounded my joints mercilessly and without rest, never pondering the consequences of such punishment

Not surprisingly, the price I paid for a quarter century of overtraining was knee pain – bad knee pain! Walking down stairs was the worst. I was resolved to the idea that I must cease training my legs. That was until my mother came to town for a visit. She comes from a long line of bad knees. Her brother just had double knee replacement surgery and my mother had been seeking treatment for her own bad knees. She happened to relate to me something that her doctor had suggested that intrigued me. He recommended that she take massive doses of fish oil pills every day, noting that its daily consumption was accompanied by impressive therapeutic results. Now, I don’t know what constitutes a massive dose, as each horse pill looks like a massive dose in and of itself, but I thought I’d give it a try. Read more

Free Ageless Grace® Demo Classes in Lombard – Anti-Aging Fitness for Body and Brain

Certified Ageless Grace® Educator Melanie Jordan will be offering three free demo classes of the Ageless Grace Anti-Aging Fitness Program for body and brain in Lombard the week of July 21st.

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What is Ageless Grace?

It’s an anti-aging fitness program for body AND brain based on the science of neuroplasticity.  Each of the 21 simple tools focus on the healthy longevity of the body, mind, emotions and spirit.  It’s a creative, lively chair-based class set to upbeat popular music with natural moves (no choreography to learn).

It’s for baby boomers, all ages and abilities of seniors and those with weight, joint, diabetes, MS and other challenges, as well as those in wheelchairs or with other physical limitations love it!  This class is for anyone at any age who is interested in aging gracefully using timeless anti-aging techniques for the body and brain that almost anyone can do!™

When and Where are the FREE Ageless Grace Demo Classes?

Monday July 21st 1 – 1:45 PM, Helen Plum Library, 110 W. Maple St. in Lombard Register at: http://helenplum.org/adults-50-plus or call (630) 627-0316.  This is the July Senior Social Program.

Tuesday July 22nd and Thursday July 24th 10:15 – 10:45 AM, York Center Park District, 1609 S. Luther Ave in Lombard, just up from Meyers Rd, call or text Melanie to reserve your spot at (949) 285-7770 Cell.

These three free demo classes are a great opportunity to see what Ageless Grace is all about and how much fun you can have!

Those who are interested in taking Ageless Grace with Melanie Jordan ongoing can register for one of her 6-week classes at York Center Park District. The next ones start on Tuesday 7/29 and Thursday 7/31 10:15 – 10:45 AM for just $20 per 6-week class, $35 for both Tuesday and Thursday. The classes are also Silver Sneakers FLEX Program approved and are free to Silver Sneakers members with their current membership card.  To register online go to: www.ycpdfun.com or call (630) 629-0886.

 

Melanie Jordan is an ACE® Group Fitness Certified and Silver Sneakers FLEX Program Instructor and Wellcoaches® and ACE Certified Health and Wellness Coach and Healthy Lombard Partner who specializes in senior fitness and teaches Zumba Gold at York Senior Center in Lombard and Mayslake Village Senior Center in Oak Brook and Ageless Grace and Senior Strength and Circuit Training at York Center Park District in Lombard.

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