Category: Nutrition

Treadmill Training’s Benefits Mixed for Individuals Poststroke

For people who have had a stroke and are unable to walk at the outset of treatment, treadmill training is not likely to aid their progress toward walking independently—but for patients with stroke who are ambulatory, the intervention may significantly improve endurance and speed. These were the broad conclusions reached in a recent review of 44 trials and 2,658 participants.

The research, to be published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews(abstract only available for free at this time), focused on “randomized or quasi-randomized controlled and crossover trials of treadmill training and body weight support, individually or in combinations, for the treatment of walking after stroke.” Authors focused on outcomes related to walking speed, endurance, and dependency.

Full story of treadmill training at APTA

Sitting Connected With Heart Failure in Men

The flurry of news and magazine articles last year proclaiming that “sitting is the new smoking” may have been a bit hyperbolic, but apparently there’s at least 1 thing a sedentary lifestyle has in common with tobacco use: increased risk of heart failure in men, even with low to moderate exercise.

The conclusion is drawn from an article (abstract only available for free) recently published in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association, and has received wide attention in newspapers and other media. The study focused on lifestyles of 84,170 men aged 45 to 69 and the incidence of heart failure (HF) over time. Researchers found that while high rates of physical activity did reduce risk of HF, low to moderate exercise had less of an impact on HF rates among men who also spent relatively long periods of time sitting.

Full story on connected heart failure at APTA

FDA approves new diabetes medication

We now know that there’s much more to pain than simply what is happening in the painful body part, and attention has turned to the role of the brain. But not even this mysterious organ can tell us everything we need to know about pain, at least not yet.

You may wonder why the brain is part of the discussion about pain at all. After all, we’re not talking about a brain disease such as Alzheimer’s or stroke.

But we think that the brain is actually the best place to look when trying to understand pain; after all, pain is a purely subjective experience.

The problem is that pain cannot be “seen”. While a flinch, a limp, or a grimace may provide us with clues, ultimately we only know that someone is in pain if they tell us they are.

And it doesn’t necessarily make sense to only consider the part of the body that’s sore – sometimes people report pain in a body part that no longer exists, known as phantom limb pain.

Full story of FDA approving new diabetes drug at the Los Angeles Times

Can Chewing Gum Cause Migraines in Teens?

Maybe it’s not only teachers who get a headache from their students’ lip smacking, bubble popping and gum cracking.

Dr. Nathan Watemberg of Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, Israel, has evidence that gum-chewing teenagers, and younger children as well, may be giving themselves a pain in the head. His small study focused on child and adolescent gum-chewers suffering from migraines and other chronic headaches.

“Out of our 30 patients, 26 reported significant improvement, and 19 had complete headache resolution,” said Watemberg. “Twenty of the improved patients later agreed to go back to chewing gum, and all of them reported an immediate relapse of symptoms.”

He is hoping that his findings, to be published in Pediatric Neurology, could offer a simple way to treat migraine and tension headaches in gum-chewers without the need for additional testing or medication.

Full story of chewing gum and migraines at Shalom Life

11 Totally Natural And Completely Unexpected Ways To Ease Pain

What’s the thing you do best? Our biggest strengths can contribute significantly to our happiness, success and well-being — and to those of the people around us.

According to newly-released Gallup data, using one’s best talents can also play a role in one’s comfort. In more than 120,000 interviews conducted during the latter half of 2012, Gallup found that the more people use their strengths throughout the day, the less likely they are to say they feel physical pain.

At least 116 million Americans live with chronic pain, uncomfortable at best, debilitating and isolating at worst.

Despite existing health problems, 50 percent of people who do what they do best for at least 10 hours a day said they experience pain, while 69 percent of people who use their top strengths for three hours a day or less said they experience pain, according to the new report. The relationship also exists among people without any ongoing health issues, albeit more weakly: 13 percent of people who use their strengths for 10 or more hours a day reported physical pain, while 17 percent of people who use their strengths for three hours or fewer did.

Whether the people using their strengths all day long are simply more positive people or just more distracted is still to be determined, according to Gallup. But it’s certainly something to consider when reaching into the toolbox of pain management techniques. In addition to playing to your strengths, here are 10 more all-natural, little-known ways to make yourself more comfortable, fast.

Full story of natural pain reliefs at the Huffington Post

10 Easy Resolutions for Healthy Aging at Home

Happy New Year! As you look ahead to 2014, do you wonder what you or your parents might need in the year ahead to stay safe, healthy and independent at home?

You might think, “Hoo boy, grab bars, or maybe they should move.” Think again. Much of the preventive work that supports healthy aging at home can be done with nary a screwdriver. Here are 10 easy-to-follow New Year’s resolutions that you and your loved ones can make for a happy and healthy 2014.

1. Stop making “old” jokes. They perpetuate stereotypes about old age and make people feel worse about it, fueling a negativity (see Resolution 2) that causes problems. Self-deprecation has its place but does not need to be tied to the aging process.

2. Lighten up about aging. Similarly, positive attitudes about aging help people to live longer and feel better getting there.
Stay active and engaged in life, and the years will be less of a preoccupation.

3. Use realistic language about aging. No need to pretend that it’s a (slower) walk in the park, but “oldness” tends to be blamed for more problems than it causes. Why exaggerate? Say “I feel tired” instead of “I feel old” and “I feel energized” instead of “I feel young.” Speaking realistically will make it easier to talk pragmatically about changing needs; it will reduce denial and open the door to important cross-generational discussion.

Full story of resolutions for healthy aging at the Huffington Post

Many with diabetes unaware of vision loss

Less than half of people with diabetes-related eye disease have been told about it, which means they’re also missing out on treatment that could save their sight, U.S. researchers say.

In nationwide surveys of adults with diabetic macular edema – a condition that can ultimately lead to blindness – just 45 percent of respondents said they had been informed by their doctor that diabetes had affected their eyes. Nearly 30 percent already had vision loss in the affected eye.

It’s important to catch the signs of diabetic macular edema (DME) early because it can be treated, Dr. Neil M. Bressler said. He led the study at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Hospital in Baltimore.

Diabetes commonly causes DME, which is a thickening of the eye’s retina. That change can be detected in an eye exam that includes dilation of the pupils. Left untreated, DME is likely to cause progressive vision loss.

Degeneration of the retina in people with diabetes, known as diabetic retinopathy – which is often caused by DME – is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S., Bressler and his colleagues write in the journal JAMA Opthalmology.

Many U.S. medical authorities recommend annual eye checks for diabetics to monitor early signs of vision problems, but many people with diabetes do not get the proper type or frequency of eye care.

Full story of diabetes and vision loss at Zee News

Diabetes drug won’t help obese kids keep off weight

Few children who become obese are able to lose and keep off weight with diet and exercise alone, leading some doctors to prescribe drugs, such as the diabetes drug metformin, to treat childhood obesity. However, a new study suggests that metformin may not help kids and teens without diabetes lose weight over the long term.

The study, which reviewed information from previous research, found no evidence that children and teens who took the drug lost more weight after one year than those who did not take the drug.

While some adolescents who took the drug did experience short-term weight loss (six months or less), the effect was modest, and it’s not clear whether such limited weight loss would actually improve their health, the researchers said.

Given the current evidence, metformin has not been shown to be superior to other weight-loss treatments for kids, such as diet and exercise, the researchers said.

“Unfortunately, this drug is not going to be the answer,” said study researcher Marian McDonagh, of Oregon Health & Science University. Overall, the drug does not appear to provide enough weight reduction for children to experience meaningful health benefits in the long term, McDonagh said.

Full story of diabetes drugs and obese children at Fox News

Yoga moves in the office? Gentle stretches at your desk

Spending lots of time hunched over a computer keyboard at work causes tight, sore muscles that lead to tension headaches and neck pain. Here are a few stretches, based on yoga poses, recommended by the Cleveland Clinic; they can all be done at work so you don’t miss an e-mail or phone call.

All begin with a basic seated posture. Sit at the front edge of your chair with spine lengthened, chest lifted, shoulders relaxed down and away from your ears, feet flat on the floor and knees directly over ankles.

Neck rolls: Gently drop your head forward and roll from side to side. Let the weight of your head gently stretch your neck. Small popping noises are OK but there should be no pain. (Avoid letting your head drop back, to protect your cervical spine.)

Shoulder rolls: Gently lift your shoulders and rotate them backwards in slow circular motions. Repeat a few times then reverse the motion. This loosens and lubricates joints and helps open the chest for better breathing.

Full story of yoga moves for the office at USA Today

Healthy aging: To stay physically active, better start early

Unlike their predecessors, baby boomers will remain as physically and mentally active as ever, even as they retire from their day jobs.

Sixty- and 70-year-olds will continue to push boundaries, explore and experiment, travel the world, play sports, and stay healthy and fit far longer than what has been considered possible only a generation or two ago – or so we are told by an onslaught of literature, advertisements and workshops for active retirement, declaring the twilight years as the best of all times.

The truth is that many retirees find it hard to stay active at all after having lived sedentary lifestyles for most of their lives.

How active people will continue to be largely depends on the kind of jobs they are retiring from, according to Dr. Stephen Kritchevsky, a professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine and director of the Sticht Center of Aging at Wake Forest Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Full story of healthy aging and exercise at the Auburn Reporter