Evidence in both humans and animals points to emotional benefits from exercise, both physical and mental. Now, in recent experiments with mice, scientists have traced the stress-buffering effect of activity to a brain circuit known to be involved in emotional regulation as well as mood disorders and medication effects. The finding is a clue to understanding the neurological roots of resilience, key to developing new means of prevention and treatment for stress-related illness. This study, conducted by Lehmann and Herkenham, appeared in the Journal of Neuroscience 31:6159-6173, 2011
In a study published in Diabetologia (Lim & Hollingsworth, et al), it was found that type 2 diabetes could be reversed in 8 weeks with a 600 calorie/day intervention. Normalization of both beta cell function and hepatic insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes was achieved by dietary energy restriction alone. This was associated with decreased pancreatic and liver triacylglycerol stores. The abnormalities underlying type 2 diabetes are reversible by reducing dietary energy intake.
If you’ve been trying to lose weight and suspect your body’s working against you, you may be right, according to a University of Illinois study published in the journal Obesity. “When obese persons reduce their food intake too drastically, their bodies appear to resist their weight loss efforts. They may have to work harder and go slower in order to outsmart their brain chemistry,” said Gregory G. Freund, a professor in the U of I College of Medicine and a member of U of I’s Division of Nutritional Sciences. He particularly cautions against beginning a diet with a fast or cleansing day, which appears to trigger significant alterations in the immune system that work against weight loss. “Take smaller steps … MORE
The most recent Journal of the American Heart Association included a study showing that an exercise training program worked better than a commonly used beta blocker. It significantly improved — even cured — patients with a debilitating heart syndrome, according to research published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) — called “The Grinch Syndrome” because most patients have a heart that’s “two sizes too small” — affects about 500,000 Americans, primarily young women. POTS is characterized by a rapid increase in heartbeat of more than 30 beats per minute or a heart rate that exceeds 120 beats per minute when patients change from lying down to standing within 10 minutes. The heart rate … MORE
A recent Purdue study found that fat substitutes actually do lead to weight gain, confirming the findings of a previous study. Synthetic fat substitutes used in low-calorie potato chips and other foods could backfire and contribute to weight gain and obesity, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association. The study, by researchers at Purdue University, challenges the conventional wisdom that foods made with fat substitutes help with weight loss. “Our research showed that fat substitutes can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate food intake, which can lead to inefficient use of calories and weight gain,” said Susan E. Swithers, PhD, the lead researcher and a Purdue psychology professor. The study was published online in the APA … MORE
The potentially lasting implications of day-to-day couple conflict on physical and mental well-being are revealed in a study published today in the journal Personal Relationships (June 17, 2011). The study found that all participants across the sample as a whole experienced sleep disruption after conflict. Conflict was also found to have repercussions for next-day mood. The results of this study have significant implications for the greater understanding of how routine relationship experiences influence emotional and physical health over time. “We already know from prior research that people in stable, happy marriages experience better overall health than do those in more conflicted relationships,” said Professor Hicks. “We can now further conclude from our current research that individuals who are in insecure … MORE
Powerful video – might be that little extra encouragement needed to make today the day… (here’s the cut/paste in case your screen isn’t showing the link — http://youtu.be/iWpVTKbk8-U)
Older people who regularly exercise at a moderate to intense level may be less likely to develop the small brain lesions, sometimes referred to as silent strokes, that are the first sign of cerebrovascular disease, according to a new study published in the June 8, 2011, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). “These ‘silent strokes’ are more significant than the name implies, because they have been associated with an increased risk of falls and impaired mobility, memory problems and even dementia, as well as stroke,” said study author Joshua Z. Willey, MD, MS, of Columbia University in New York and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
Fascinating! In a study involving 27 year olds, brain function increased more than 50% from the baseline following the introduction of a consistent exercise program. Then, as soon as the exercise was stopped, the brain function began dropping again immediately. The reference for the study is below, but before looking it up, maybe it’s a good time to get up and take a walk? ;- ) Here’s the source: Harada, T. et al (2004) Jogging improved performance of a behavioral branching task: implications for prefrontal activation. Neuroscience Research 49: 325 – 337
Today was one of those tough, tough workouts that drains every bit of energy, but pays off immensely in the long run, or in this case, the long “cycle.” 4 training buddies and I met early this morning and lined up for a 10 mile time trial (TT) on our bikes. Once complete, we rode easy to recover for 5 minutes and then did it again. And then again. And then again. All total, we did 4 draft-free 10 mile TT with 5 minutes recovery in between each. Absolutely nothing left at the end, but without a doubt it was an immense deposit in the fitness bank that can be withdrawn later in the season. Good stuff! Would love to … MORE
Why participate in a race (whether it’s a 5k run or an Ironman Triathlon)? Bicycling Magazine’s 43 year old Editor in Chief Peter Flax, who admits he’s never a threat to win or even podium in any event of significance, said it so well in the July issue and worth sharing: “For me, the point isn’t to triumph. We spend our so-called modern lives coddled- breezing through airports on people movers, accepting meeting requests nestled in Aeron chairs, engaging cruise control to avoid the demands of the gas pedal. Our amazing muscles and capillaries and neural pathways are built to do something far more profound if we put them to the test.” Well said, Mr. Flax. Well said.
Prescription drugs are known to include a number of potential side effects. We now know what that number is. Researchers from the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University School of Medicine found an average of 70 reactions per drug, a number that can overwhelm physicians trying to select suitable treatments for their patients. In the study, appearing in the May 23, 2011 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, the researchers also found that more commonly prescribed drugs averaged around 100 side effects. The upper range was as many as 525 reactions. The study involved analysis of more than 5,600 drug labels and more than half a million labeled effects.