Mental Attitude: Being Lazy Shrinks Your Brain.
Less active individuals appear to have smaller brains later in life. This study included 1,583 participants who took a treadmill test to rate their fitness at around age 40 and again at around age 60. After the second treadmill test, they also underwent an MRI. The results revealed those who were less physically fit during both tests had lower brain volume than those who maintained high physical fitness levels during the course of the study. Researcher Dr. Nicole Spartano writes, “From other studies, we know that exercise training programs that improve fitness may increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain and improve neuroplasticity over the short term. Over the course of a lifetime, these mechanisms may have an impact on brain aging and prevent cognitive decline in older age.”
Neurology, February 2016
Health Alert: Acetaminophen Use Before Birth Linked to Childhood Asthma.
Women who experience pain, fever, or the flu during pregnancy commonly use acetaminophen. Now, a new study finds that exposure to acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol, before birth and during infancy increases a baby’s risk of developing asthma during childhood. Lead study author Dr. Maria Magnus notes, “Uncovering potential adverse effects is of public health importance, as paracetamol is the most commonly used painkiller among pregnant women and infants.”
International Journal of Epidemiology, February 2016
Diet: Eating Eggs Does Not Increase the Risk of Heart Disease.
Researchers analyzed the dietary habits of 1,032 men and found a relatively high intake of dietary cholesterol (from eating eggs daily, for example) is not associated with an increased risk of incident coronary heart disease, not even in people genetically predisposed for higher blood cholesterol levels via the apolipoprotein E type 4 allele (APOE4 allele), which impacts cholesterol metabolism. The findings suggest that cholesterol consumption at high levels is not as dangerous to our health as is currently perceived.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 2016
Exercise: Does Arial Yoga Offer Any Health Benefits?
The latest trend in yoga involves the use of circus hammocks to lift people off the floor to achieve yoga poses and align the body in the air. Researchers recruited 16 female volunteers to participate in a six-week intervention with three 50-minute aerial yoga sessions per week. Their analysis found that a single 50-minute session of aerial yoga burned an average of 320 calories and yielded cardiovascular effects similar to low- to moderate-intensity exercise. The American Council on Exercise’s Dr. Cedric X. Bryant writes, “We are pleased to announce that even though aerial yoga does not include traditional cardio exercises, a single session… offered participants many of the benefits associated with low- to moderate-intensity aerobic exercise like brisk walking or leisurely cycling.”
American Council on Exercise, February 2016
Chiropractic: Musculoskeletal Problems Among Hospital Staff.
Musculoskeletal pain is an extremely common complaint among hospital workers. A review of questionnaires completed by 416 hospital staff regarding musculoskeletal pain complaints found 74% experienced an episode of low back pain during the previous year while between 50-60% of participants also experienced neck, upper back, and/or shoulder pain during the same time frame.
Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, January 2016
Wellness/Prevention: National Smoking Bans Improve Health.
A review of 77 studies indicates that in countries with national bans on smoking in public places, there has been a corresponding decrease in hospital admissions for nonsmokers related to cardiovascular disease. Review author Dr. Cecily Kelleher adds, “The current evidence provides more robust support for the previous conclusions that the introduction of national legislative smoking bans does lead to improved health outcomes through a reduction in secondhand smoke exposure for countries and their populations.”
Cochrane Library, February 2016