Tag: injury/ailment

New Findings: The Link Between Cancer and Exercise

Lance Armstrong has always been seen as the exception, rather than the rule. Conventional wisdom told us that he succeeded in spite of his cancer; that exercise is the realm of the healthy, rather than the ill. And it is that popular image of the bedridden, languishing cancer patient so prevalent in movies, media and culture that informed our reaction to Armstrong’s resurgence. How the hell was a guy with debilitating cancer able to repeatedly succeed on the world’s stage – in one of its most grueling athletic feats? Well, a recent spate of research (probably, in some small way, influenced or inspired by his Tour wins) into the relationship between cancer and exercise suggests that Lance Armstrong’s recovery may have actually been aided by his training regimen.

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New Biomarker for Heart Failure

For a while now, scientists have been examining the link between body fat and cardiovascular disease. Back in 2005, researchers from two Texas universities found that human fat cells produce a protein called C-reactive protein (CRP) with an interesting property – the tendency to cause the type of inflammation that leads to heart failure. A direct link between being fat and getting heart attacks had finally been established, corroborating years of general intuition suggesting that fat people seemed to have more heart attacks.

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Cranberry Juice and UTIs

You’ve known for years that cranberries can help stave off urinary tract infections (UTIs), but now scientists have figured out the mechanism behind the benefit!

In a study published in this month’s Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts analyzed the Gibbs free energy of adhesion changes between bacteria and uroepithelial cells exposed to varying concentrations of cranberry liquids. In English? Essentially, the researchers extracted some cells from the inside of the urinary tract, threw in some bacteria, doused them with cranberry juice and watched to see how they would interact.

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10 Unnecessary, Worthless or Dangerous Exercises

Perhaps at some point in all our personal fitness careers (however advanced or modest) we’ve all had one of those “doh!” moments, when we realized we did something really stupid that now has us writhing in pain. (It could be an immediate or slightly delayed awareness – stuck in the recliner later that night unable to move. Anyone?) Sometimes these strains are the result of momentary carelessness, and sometimes they’re caused by ongoing ignorance (coupled with bravado or bad advice).

And then there are the exercises that maybe don’t leave us regretting our very existences but that seem to keep us (knowingly or unknowingly) endlessly circling the same fitness territory with little to no measurable progress. How come none of the other Saturday gym rats seem stuck in the same rut? What am I doing wrong?

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What Happens to Your Body When… You Haven’t Properly Trained for Your Marathon?

The marathon. An epic struggle of the individual against his/her own body. A kind of “Mt. Everest” for athletic practice, it exacts a sizable toll on anyone who dares attempt it. (The first marathon man died after all.)

The seasoned athlete knows and respects the physical claim of a marathon, and it is substantial even for the best trained. But marathons are becoming increasingly popular in the last few years. Once limited to the athletic elites and diehards, marathons are now the stuff of social events and charity drives. We’re all for the social element of sport, and we’re suckers for a good cause like anyone. But this recent popularity has changed the face (and emergency support requirements) of marathons. While we believe that everyone’s got to start somewhere, we definitely believe this ain’t the place.

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Hormones and Heart Disease

We aren’t talking estrogen here, but this latest news does concern the ladies of the community.

In the recent “Hunt Study” conducted by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science, women with thyroid function in the less active part of the “normal” clinical reference range showed an increased risk for fatal coronary heart disease relative to those with numbers in the more active part of the clinical range.

The findings were based on a follow-up with 17,311 women and 8,002 men who had shown no signs of heart disease, diabetes or thyroid disorder at the beginning of the study in the mid-1990s. All participants were 40 years or older when initial tests were done to measure levels of thyrotropin, a hormone released by the pituitary gland that is known to stimulate the thyroid. During the follow-up examinations that were completed in 2004, researchers found that 192 women and 164 men had died of heart disease. Of these subjects, none had shown signs of thyroid malfunction. However, women whose readings showed the relative lowest (but still clinically normal) thyroid gland activity were “69 percent more likely to die from heart disease than women with more active glands.”

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8 Unusual Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide

Besides the odd scraped knee and that one fateful summer where you decided you’d look better as a blonde, you haven’t had much time for the medicine cabinet staple hydrogen peroxide. However, it should be noted that it does have a number of wild and unusual purposes…

But first, a discussion of what exactly this bubbly little solution is: In its purest form, hydrogen peroxide, or H2O2 as it is referred to by chemists and other science-nerds, is actually highly toxic. What you are generally getting when you buy an over-the-counter variety is only 3% hydrogen peroxide, with the rest made up of plain ol’ H2O! Hydrogen peroxide is probably best recognized by its signature brown bottle, which is used not as a marketing strategy, but to actually protect the bottles’ contents, which are highly sensitive to light.

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The Salt/Blood Pressure Debate

In response to last week’s canned soup post, reader Dave offered this comment: “I’d just like to point out that just as many Apple readers believe in literature that debunks the lipid hypothesis, there’s a camp that says there is minimal effect on blood pressure from salt. There are two sides to many stories!”

We couldn’t agree more that nutritional (or general health) debates are rarely so simple as they’re made out to be. As long-time readers have probably noticed, we’ll mention salt recommendations now and then and generally try to keep our recipe suggestions fairly low in salt. We do tend to follow general salt recommendations. Blood pressure issue aside, high salt intake (as we mentioned last week) has been associated with osteoporosis, asthma, kidney disease and stomach cancer.

But what about the salt and blood pressure issue? Does it really hold water (pun intended)? We’d say it has enough bearing to figure into our choices, and for some people, research suggests, it’s crucially significant.

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Yoga Good for Beating Symptoms of Breast Cancer

A study presented Saturday at the International Association of Yoga Therapists Symposium for Yoga Therapy Research in Los Angeles suggests that yoga may ease menopause symptoms in breast cancer survivors.

Breast cancer survivors suffer more severe menopause symptoms than other women, largely because the drugs used to prevent cancer recurrence can exacerbate the symptoms of menopause (hello hot flashes!) Furthermore, women with breast cancer are very much limited in their treatment options for menopause symptoms because traditional aides, such as hormone replacement therapy, may increase their risk of future recurrence.

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My Knee is Killing Me… No, Really.

One of the standard defenses uttered by those who desperately cling to the fast food and couch-potato lifestyle is, “why should I live like a hunter-gatherer? Their average lifespan was only 35 years.” Ipso fatso, if we clearly weren’t designed to live long, why make all those diet and exercise sacrifices?” This common faulty assumption that our hunter-gatherer ancestors lived “nasty, brutish and short” lives has always bugged me. Research suggests that Grok and his family were actually generally healthy (robust is the term), productive – and even so appreciative of their lives that they felt the need to express themselves through art. There are recent studies that suggest there may even have been a selective benefit within tribal units for grandparents – meaning that getting older may have actually had a selective benefit far past procreating. So, if they were so robust and if our genes truly evolved to allow us to live long lives, then why was the average lifespan relatively short? I had always assumed that it was things like deaths during childbirth, infections, accidental poisoning, even tribal warfare that brought the average lifespan down. But then I got a real-life experience of what might have affected the average more than anything else. And it’s really mundane, folks.

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