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Running – Even a Little — Helps You Live Longer

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Even a little running on a regular basis can extend your life, Australian researchers say.

They analyzed 14 studies that included more than 232,000 people whose health was tracked for between 5.5 and 35 years. During the study periods, nearly 26,000 participants died.

The collective data showed that any amount of running was associated with a 30% lower risk of death from heart disease, and a 23% lower risk of death from cancer.

Even as little as 50 minutes of running once a week at a pace slower than 6 mph appeared to be protective, according to the authors of the study published online Nov. 4 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

They said that makes running a good option for people who say they are too busy to exercise.

The reasons running is associated with a reduced risk of premature death are unclear, and the study doesn’t establish cause and effect, said lead researcher Zeljko Pediscic. He’s an associate professor of public health at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia.

His team also noted that the number of studies analyzed was small and considerable variation in their methods may have influenced the results.

Even so, any amount of running is better than none, the authors suggested.

“Increased rates of participation in running, regardless of its dose, would probably lead to substantial improvements in population health and longevity,” they concluded in a journal news release.

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Sources

SOURCE:British Journal of Sports Medicine, news release, Nov. 4, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Lawn Mowers May Be Even More Dangerous for Rural Kids

FRIDAY, Oct. 25, 2019 — Lawn mowers are always a hazard around children, but a new study suggests that kids in rural areas are at the highest risk.

Each year, more than 9,000 children in the United States are treated in emergency departments for lawn mower-related injuries.

“Despite efforts within the health community to highlight how easily children can be injured by lawn mowers, we still see thousands of children in emergency departments each year for lawn mower-related injuries,” said researcher Ronit Shah, a medical student at the University of Toledo in Ohio.

In this study, researchers analyzed data on patients under the age of 18 with lawn mower-related injuries who were seen at 49 U.S. hospitals from 2005 to 2017.

Rural areas had much higher rates of such injuries, younger patients, and higher rates of amputations, surgical complications and infections.

Injury rates were 7.3 injuries per 100,000 cases in rural areas, compared with 1.5 injuries per 100,000 cases in urban areas.

By region, the highest injury rate was in the South (2.7 injuries per 100,000 cases), followed by the Midwest (2.2 injuries per 100,000 cases) and the Northeast (1.3 injuries per 100,000 cases). The Western United States had the lowest rate at 0.6 injuries per 100,000 cases.

Lawn mower-related injuries in rural areas required longer hospital stays, had higher rates of surgical complications (5.5% vs 2.6%), and occurred in younger patients.

Amputation rates were 15.5% in rural areas and 9.6% in urban areas, with rural patients being 1.7 times more likely to have an amputation.

In rural areas, children younger than 10 had a higher rate of more severe injuries, longer hospital stays, and greater health care costs than children older than 10.

The findings will be presented by researchers on Sunday at the American Academy of Pediatrics annual meeting, in New Orleans. Such research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

“Our research shows young children in rural areas are more likely to be severely hurt,” Shah said in an academy news release.

More public education about children and lawn mower safety is needed and “should be specifically targeted for rural communities, especially in the Southern and Midwestern United States,” he added.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more on lawn mower safety.

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Posted: October 2019

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Even Age 80 Is Not Too Late to Begin Exercising

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Even seniors who never exercised regularly can benefit from a workout program, researchers say.

A new study found that men in their 70s and 80s who had never followed an exercise regimen could build muscle mass as well as “master athletes” — those of the same age who had worked out throughout their lives and still competed at the top levels of their sports.

The U.K. researchers took muscle biopsies from both groups in the 48 hours before and after a single weight-training session on an exercise machine. The men were also given an isotope tracer before the workout in order to track how proteins were developing in their muscles.

It was expected that the master athletes would be better able to build muscle during exercise, but both groups had an equal capacity to do so, the University of Birmingham team found.

The study was published Aug. 30 in the journal Frontiers in Physiology.

“Our study clearly shows that it doesn’t matter if you haven’t been a regular exerciser throughout your life, you can still derive benefit from exercise whenever you start,” lead researcher Leigh Breen said in a university news release. He’s a senior lecturer in exercise physiology and metabolism.

“Obviously a long-term commitment to good health and exercise is the best approach to achieve whole-body health, but even starting later on in life will help delay age-related frailty and muscle weakness,” Breen said.

Current public health advice about strength training for older people tends to be “quite vague,” he noted.

“What’s needed is more specific guidance on how individuals can improve their muscle strength, even outside of a gym-setting through activities undertaken in their homes — activities such as gardening, walking up and down stairs, or lifting up a shopping bag can all help if undertaken as part of a regular exercise regimen,” Breen said.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE: University of Birmingham, news release, Aug. 30, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Even a Little Drinking While Pregnant Ups Miscarriage Odds: Study

TUESDAY, Aug. 27, 2019 — Just small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage, researchers warn.

They analyzed 24 studies conducted between 1970 and 2019 that included more than 231,000 pregnant women.

They found that drinking alcohol during pregnancy — even small amounts — increases odds of miscarriage by 19%. Among women who have fewer than five drinks a week, each additional drink a week during pregnancy was linked with a 6% higher risk of miscarriage.

“Since alcohol is one of the most common exposures in early pregnancy, it’s critical to understand how consumption relates to miscarriage,” said lead investigator Alex Sundermann, a doctoral student at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn.

“Adverse pregnancy outcomes, like fetal alcohol syndrome, are often associated in popular culture with heavy consumption. However, our meta-analysis indicates even a modest amount of alcohol use has a meaningful impact on miscarriage risk,” she said in a university news release.

The review pointed to important gaps in knowledge, including how the timing of alcohol consumption during pregnancy relates to miscarriage risk.

A previous study found that most women quit drinking after finding out they’re pregnant, but no studies account for how this affects miscarriage risk.

“Timing of alcohol exposure in pregnancy is undoubtedly meaningful but isn’t well-studied,” Sundermann said.

“The groundwork for fetal development is laid in those first weeks of gestation before pregnancy can be detected with a home test, and that is also the time when alcohol exposure is most prevalent. It’s key that we understand the impact of consumption in those first weeks,” she said.

Sundermann noted that 1 in 3 women experience miscarriage, but many never get answers about why their miscarriage occurred.

She emphasized the need for more research into risk factors for miscarriage.

“Most women are motivated to do anything they can for the health of their pregnancy. We want to provide this information to empower women to make the best decisions,” Sundermann said.

The meta-analysis was recently published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

More information

The March of Dimes has more on miscarriage.

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Posted: August 2019

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Americans Are Spending Even More Time Sitting, Study Shows

FRIDAY, July 26, 2019 — The United States has grown a bumper crop of couch potatoes in recent years, a new study reports.

The amount of time people spend sitting around actually increased after the initial release of the federal Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans in 2008, researchers have found.

“Over the past 10 years, there was no significant change in physical activity levels, but there was a significant increase in the time we sit around,” said senior researcher Dr. Wei Bao. He’s an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

As a result, the proportion of people who didn’t get enough aerobic exercise and also sat around for more than 6 hours a day rose from 16% to nearly 19% between 2007 and 2016, according to the study published online July 26 in JAMA Network Open.

An inactive lifestyle has been linked to many chronic diseases.

Sitting around too much increases your risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, anxiety and even certain cancers, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Because of this, federal health officials released the activity guidelines, which recommend adults get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity exercise.

Moderate-intensity activity can include mowing the lawn, playing tennis, enjoying a leisurely bike ride, engaging in a brisk walk, or doing heavy housework like vacuuming, mopping or washing windows.

Vigorous exercise includes jogging, bicycling fast, playing basketball or soccer, shoveling dirt or carrying heavy loads.

To see how many Americans meet these recommendations, Bao’s team reviewed data from a series of federal studies that track health trends among U.S. adults and children.

The investigators found that time spent sitting increased from 5.7 hours a day in 2007-2008 to 6.4 hours a day in 2015-2016.

The increase in sedentary behavior was seen in nearly every major subgroup of the U.S. population, the study authors said.

At the same time, there was no real change in Americans’ physical activity. About 65% of people met guidelines for aerobic activity in 2015-2016, compared with 63% in 2007-2008, the study found.

American life is designed to be cushy, so it’s natural that folks settle in and relax rather than get up and go, Bao said.

“This will be a natural phenomenon for a convenience society, for a modern society like the United States,” he said. “I think sitting down is a natural desire for humans. When people are tired at work and go home, the first thing is to lie down on the sofa and watch TV for another two hours.”

American jobs have also gotten less physically demanding, said Donna Arnett, dean of the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, in Lexington.

“If you look at physical activity from occupational energy expenditure, that has been going down dramatically over the past three to four decades,” she said. “Our jobs are getting more automated. There’s much less physical activity at work.”

The proliferation of screens at work and home hasn’t helped, she added.

“The automation in our lives — at home and at work — is also likely related to the increased use of screen time. People are spending more time looking at their phones and working on their computers, even after hours,” Arnett said.

So why haven’t the Physical Activity Guidelines been more inspiring?

It could be that folks simply don’t know about them.

Only about one in three Americans said they were aware of the guidelines in a 2009 survey, and fewer than 1% could say what the guidelines recommend, researchers said in background notes.

Bao suggested that “there should be more effort to communicate this information and to have people fight against sitting down.”

Smart technology also might help, Arnett said. Devices like Fitbits and Apple Watches can be programmed to regularly remind wearers to get up and move around.

Clever outreach could be key, too. Arnett said someone told her that while binge-watching Netflix, an ad from the American Heart Association appeared urging the viewer to take a break, get up and move around.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about the health risks of inactivity.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: July 2019

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Coffee on Your Mind? Even Thinking About It ‘Arouses’ the Brain

MONDAY, April 1, 2019 — Need a quick pick-me-up? Just thinking about a cup of joe can give you a mental boost, researchers say.

“Coffee is one of the most popular beverages and a lot is known about its physical effects,” said study co-author Sam Maglio, associate professor of management at the UNi. “Much less is known about its psychological meaning — in other words, how even seeing reminders of it can influence how we think.”

But Maglio said just looking at things that call coffee to mind can arouse a java junkie’s brain. It’s all due to what he called priming, in which exposure to cues about something can affect thoughts and behavior.

“People often encounter coffee-related cues, or think about coffee, without actually ingesting it,” Maglio said in a university news release. “We wanted to see if there was an association between coffee and arousal such that if we simply exposed people to coffee-related cues, their physiological arousal would increase, as it would if they had actually drank coffee.”

Arousal refers to the way specific brain areas get activated into a state of being alert, awake and attentive, according to the researchers. The trigger can be emotions, neurotransmitters in the brain — and even the caffeinated beverages we favor.

To check it out, Maglio and fellow University of Toronto researcher Eugene Chan compared coffee- and tea-related cues among participants from Western and Eastern cultures.

Those exposed to coffee-related cues perceived time as shorter and thought in more concrete, precise terms. Subjective and physiological arousal probably explains these effects, according to the study.

But everyone didn’t get the same boost. Coffee-related cues did not provoke as much arousal for participants from Eastern cultures, probably because they are not coffee-dominated cultures, Maglio said.

“In North America we have this image of a prototypical executive rushing off to an important meeting with a triple espresso in their hand. There’s this connection between drinking caffeine and arousal that may not exist in other cultures,” he said.

The study was published in the April issue of the journal Consciousness and Cognition.

Next up: Researchers will examine associations people have for different foods and beverages.

More information

The American Heart Association looks at coffee and your health.

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Posted: April 2019

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