Blog Archives & Categories
11/30/2011 | | Share

Here’s another reason why “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”—according to new research findings published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology(, oral ingestion of apple polyphenols (antioxidants found in apple peels) can suppress T cell activation to prevent colitis in mice. This study is the first to show a role for T cells in polyphenol-mediated protection against an autoimmune disease and could lead to new therapies and treatments for people with disorders related to bowel inflammation, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and colitis-associated colorectal cancer. David W. Pascual, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana said “Our results show that a natural product found … MORE

11/30/2011 | | Share

Much attention has been given to the idea of “Barefoot Running” since the publishing of the book Born to Run (most definitely worth a read, by the way).  And the Vibram 5 Finger Shoes have reaped great benefits from this latest trend.  If you were to pick up a Runner’s World shoe review issue just 3 years ago, Vibrams didn’t even make the cut.  Now an entire category of “minimalist” shoes is being featured – for good reason.  If you’ve not tried the Vibrams, they’re definitely worth checking out.  But do not make the mistake of suddenly switching over to them from your “normal” running shoes.  Rather, gradually ease into them, adding a few minutes each day and transitioning over … MORE

11/30/2011 | | Share

Like you, I’m always trying to learn new things.  And yesterday I picked up a couple of tips to help avoid the negative effects of illness during this time of the year when they’re all around us and my Ironman training volume likely has my defenses down a bit.  The two items I’ll be adding to my morning smoothie concoction are Aloe Vera Juice and Oil of Oregano, which are both known to enhance immunity in the body.  The aloe is a slam dunk – not “tasty” but almost stands on it’s own.  But the oil of oregano?  Oh my word!  It’s awful (and awfully strong!).  When I first dropped a few droplets into my mouth after leaving the store, … MORE

11/23/2011 | | Share

A new study now reveals that an increase in physical activity is linked to an improvement in diet quality. The data from epidemiological studies suggest that tendencies towards a healthy diet and the right amount of physical exercise often come hand in hand. Furthermore, an increase in physical activity is usually linked to a parallel improvement in diet quality. Exercise also brings benefits such as an increase in sensitivity to physiological signs of fullness. This not only means that appetite can be controlled better but it also modifies hedonic responses to food stimuli. Therefore, benefits can be classified as those that occur in the short term (of metabolic predominance) and those that are seen in the long term (of behavioral predominance). According to … MORE

11/23/2011 | | Share

People sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, a new study concludes. A nationally representative sample of more than 2,600 men and women, ages 18-85, found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week, which is the national guideline, provided a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality. People also said they felt less sleepy during the day, compared to those with less physical activity. The study, out in the December issue of the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity, lends more evidence to mounting research showing the importance of exercise to a number of health factors. Among adults in the United States, about 35 to 40 … MORE

11/22/2011 | | Share

Trend data show a sharp increase in the number of emergency department (ED) visits involving energy drinks between 2005 (1,128 visits) and 2008 and 2009 (16,053 and 13,114 visits, respectively), representing about a tenfold increase between 2005 and 2009.  Approximately half of the energy drink related ED visits (52 percent) made by patients aged 18 to 25 involved combinations of energy drinks with alcohol or other drugs (but almost 50% were unrelated to alcohol or drugs).  

11/21/2011 | | Share

Among 40 year old men who participated in the survey, 5,380 persons had taken an IQ test during the mandatory Swedish conscription examination at a mean (sd) age of 18.1 (1.0) years, 21.0 (1.0) years before the survey. The results of the IQ test were standardized to a normal distribution score with nine levels. Waist-Hip-Ratio (WHR) was calculated as waist circumference divided by hip circumference.  Results: WHR among middle-aged men differed significantly between IQ levels (p<0.001). The association was inverse, with the highest mean (sd) WHR value 0.91 (0.06) for the men with lowest IQ and the lowest value 0.88 (0.06) for the men with highest IQ (see figure). The results were robust when adjusting for confounding factors in a … MORE

11/19/2011 | | Share

Currently about 10 weeks into the base building phase.  The goal is to build an outstanding base through the end of December and then begin upping specific intensity, aero position training and race specific workouts.  As noted previously, multiple changes to this season’s training, including 2+ hrs/wk of strengthening, a minimum of 3 days at the pool, a maximum of 6 hrs/wk of running (where most injuries originate), limited intensity on the run training (little to no intervals – focus on bricks and tempo training), scheduling based on RestWise score each day, Compex electrical stim twice/wk and probably most importantly – a strong nutritional focus.  I’ve been following the Paleo Diet for Athletes (Cordain and Friel) over the past 2 … MORE

11/17/2011 | | Share

There is no doubt that eating a balanced diet is essential for maintaining a healthy body weight as well as appropriate arousal and energy balance, but the details about how the nutrients we consume are detected and processed in the brain remain elusive. Now, a research study discovers intriguing new information about how dietary nutrients influence brain cells that are key regulators of energy balance in the body. The study, published by Cell Press in the November 17, 2011 issue of the journal Neuron, suggests a cellular mechanism that may allow brain cells to translate different diets into different patterns of activity.  Taken together, these results support a new and more complex nutrient-specific model for dietary regulation of orexin/hypocretin neurons. … MORE

11/11/2011 | | Share

As amazing as it may seem, people (even some Physicians, unfortunately) STILL continue to claim that “running is bad for your knees.”  Please note – this is FALSE.  A peer-reviewed, long-term research and epidemiological study out of Stanford Medical School found that after 20 years, the knees of distance runners were actually HEALTHIER than those of a control group.  And a 2011 study by the American College of Sports Medicine concluded that “physical activity [including running] is BENEFICIAL, rather than detrimental, to join health” (here’s the study if interested:  The only exception to that is if you already have an injured knee, then running on it without correcting the cause could result in further injury, of course.  

11/09/2011 | | Share

Two new studies by researchers at the University of Rhode Island are providing additional insights into the role that eating rate plays in the amount of food one consumes. The studies found that men eat significantly faster than women, heavier people eat faster than slimmer people, and refined grains are consumed faster than whole grains, among other findings. Kathleen Melanson presented her research at the annual meeting of The Obesity Society in Orlando this month. The second study, which examined the characteristics associated with eating rates, found a close association between eating rate and body mass index (BMI), with those individuals with a high BMI typically eating considerably faster than those with a low BMI. The study also found that the test … MORE

11/08/2011 | | Share

Many complications of diabetes, including kidney disease, foot problems and vision problems are generally well recognized. But the disease’s impact on the brain is often overlooked. For the past five years, a team led by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) neurophysiologist Vera Novak, MD, PhD, has been studying the effects of diabetes on cognitive health in older individuals and has determined that memory loss, depression and other types of cognitive impairment are a serious consequence of this widespread disease. Now, Novak’s team has identified a key mechanism behind this course of events. In a study published in the November 2011 issue of the journal Diabetes Care, they report that in older patients with diabetes, two adhesion molecules – sVCAM and sICAM … MORE

11/04/2011 | | Share

For the first time, scientists report a link between eating nuts and higher levels of serotonin in the bodies of patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS), who are at high risk for heart disease. Serotonin is a substance that helps transmit nerve signals and decreases feelings of hunger, makes people feel happier and improves heart health. It took only one ounce of mixed nuts (raw unpeeled walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts) a day to produce the good effects. The report appears in ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research.  Symptoms of MetS include excess abdominal fat, high blood sugar and high blood pressure, which increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Dietary changes may help patients shed the excess weight and … MORE

11/02/2011 | | Share

Regular physical activity is associated with a lower risk of suffering depression in old age. This is shown by one of the largest studies on elderly Europeans to have been carried out, by researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, among others. Research also shows that self-determined motivation and perceived competence are important factors in persuading elderly people to exercise more. In a recently published study Lindwall, together with research colleagues, has studied 17,500 elderly people with an average age of 64 from 11 European countries who are taking part in the large EU-funded population study Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement (SHARE). The subjects in the study were followed up over a period of two and a half years, among … MORE

11/02/2011 | | Share

A new national study of eating out and income shows that fast-food dining becomes more common as earnings increase from low to middle incomes, weakening the popular notion that fast food should be blamed for higher rates of obesity among the poor. “There is a correlation between obesity and lower income, but it cannot be solely attributed to restaurant choice,” said J. Paul Leigh, professor of public health sciences at UC Davis and senior author of the study, which is published online in Population Health Management. “Fast-food dining is most popular among the middle class, who are less likely to be obese.”    

11/01/2011 | | Share

The genetic predisposition to obesity due to the ‘fat mass and obesity associated’ (FTO) gene can be substantially reduced by living a physically active lifestyle according to new research by a large international collaboration, led by Ruth Loos from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, in Cambridge, UK, and published in this week’s PLoS Medicine. The researchers found that the effect of the FTO gene on obesity risk is nearly 30% weaker among physically active than in physically inactive adults. This finding holds an important public health message relevant to health care professionals and the wider public as it challenges the widely-held view that obesity ‘is in my genes’ and not amenable to lifestyle changes. On the contrary, this study shows … MORE

11/01/2011 | | Share

Newswise — Failing to get back on a healthy eating plan soon after the big holiday feast can lead to serious weight gain and most likely a New Year’s resolution to get in shape. “Most of us will eat snacks and sweets the week leading up to Thanksgiving or Christmas, then continue for days and weeks afterwards,” said Gaye Lynn Hicks, R.D., L.D., a dietitian with the Methodist Weight Management Center in Houston. “This often leads to a whole season of eating and before you know it you have put on a lot of weight in a short amount of time.” Hicks said this type of behavior can spiral out of control very quickly, so adopting a healthy lifestyle becomes more important … MORE

11/01/2011 | | Share

If you’ve been tuning into this blog over time, you know that the past couple of years, while fantastic in many ways, have been a disappointment on the competitive front.  A broken ankle in 2010 (during a 14er hike with the family) and then a fractured fibula during a 70.3 Tri (first race of the season) resulted in two years without the pleasure of racing.  But hope springs eternal, and over the past 2 months, I’ve been gradually increasing my training to the higher volume levels.  And today, I officially registered for Ironman St. George, which will take place in Utah in May of 2012.  For those of you who may not be familiar with triathlon distances, this is one … MORE