Wednesday, January 30, 2013

NFL Players Union Funding $100 mln Study on Injury

Last Updated: 2013-01-29 11:08:20 -0400 (Reuters Health)

By Scott Malone

BOSTON,(Reuters) - The union that represents U.S. professional football players has given Harvard University a $100 million grant for a study of the range of health problems, from brain damage to heart conditions, that affect current and former players.

Researchers with Harvard Medical School plan to spend a decade studying hundreds of former players who are members of the National Football League Players Association, school officials said on Tuesday. The aim is to develop strategies to limit the long-term damage that players suffer from years of hits on the field.

The recent suicides of a spate of former NFL players, including 12-time Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, have raised concerns about the toll that hits to the head take on the brains of current and former players.

Scientists have found that years of steady, small hits can lead to a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which at its start can cause sufferers to have a hard time concentrating on small tasks and eventually can lead to aggression and dementia.

The worries are not limited to the pros; parents of players from peewee leagues to college have raised concerns about the game, and leagues have changed rules to limit hits to the head.

Harvard Medical School Dean Jeffrey Flier said the research would aim to address health concerns at all levels of play.

"Millions of kids and college athletes play football, formally and informally," Flier said in a statement on the school's Web site. "We cannot afford to ignore the health risks associated with this sport."

Harvard researchers plan to identify a group of at least 1,000 retired NFL players from around the country and focus their study on 100 healthy and 100 unhealthy former players.

Copyright © 2013 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.
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Obama says Football Needs to Become Less Violent

Barack Obama
Barack Obama (Photo credit: jamesomalley)
Last Updated: 2013-01-28 10:46:11 -0400 (Reuters Health)

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said he loves football but thinks the sport should "probably change gradually" so that there are fewer concussions, particularly at the college level.

"I'm a big football fan, but I have to tell you if I had a son, I'd have to think long and hard before I let him play football," Obama said in a wide-ranging interview with The New Republic magazine published early on Sunday on its website.

Football is America's most popular televised sport, an industry worth $9 billion a year. But in recent years, suicides by brain-injured players and lawsuits from their families have raised concerns about the impact of repeated concussions.

In the interview, Obama was asked how he squares his love of the game with rising awareness of the impact of repeated head injuries on football players.

"I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence," Obama said.

"In some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting, but it will be a whole lot better for the players, and those of us who are fans maybe won't have to examine our consciences quite as much," Obama said.

Obama said he is "more worried about college players" than those in the National Football League who he noted are represented by a union and are "well-compensated" for the hits they take.

"You read some of these stories about college players who undergo some of these same problems with concussions and so forth and then have nothing to fall back on. That's something that I'd like to see the NCAA think about," he said, referring to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which runs college sports.

Copyright © 2013 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Car Commuters Gain More Weight

Last Updated: 2013-01-25 15:59:08 -0400 (Reuters Health)

By Kathryn Doyle

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People driving to work every day are packing on more pounds than their colleagues on trains, buses and bikes, according to a new study from Australia.

"Even if you are efficiently active during leisure time, if you use a car for commuting daily then that has an impact on weight gain," lead author Takemi Sugiyama of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne told Reuters Health.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Water-Based Exercise - Health Benefits

Health Benefits of Water-Based Exercise

Man starting a race
Man about to jump in a swimming pool

Swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity in the United States and a good way to get regular aerobic physical activity . Just two and a half hours per week of aerobic physical activity, such as swimming, bicycling, or running can decrease the risk of chronic illnesses. This can also lead to improved health for people with diabetes and heart disease. Swimmers have about half the risk of death compared with inactive people. People report enjoying water-based exercise more than exercising on land. They can also exercise longer in water than on land without increased effort or joint or muscle pain.

Recreational Water Illness (RWI) Prevention

Swimming pool
Swimming pool (Photo credit: ZaCky ॐ)

Take action and stay healthy!

Swimming is great exercise with many health benefits, but the water you swim in can also spread germs that can make you sick and cause illnesses known as recreational water illnesses (RWIs).

The germs that cause RWIs are spread when you swallow, breathe in the mists from, or have contact with contaminated water from pools, water parks, hot tubs, lakes, oceans, and any other type of water used for recreation.

Advocacy - Recreational Water Illness (RWI) Prevention

  1. Encourage pool operators to take steps known to kill germs. 
  • Add ultraviolet or ozone technology to treat water or Hyperchlorinate (add additional chlorine to the pool) regularly
     2.  Educate others about RWIs and promote healthy swimming behaviors.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Action: Recreational Water Illness (RWI) Prevention

English: Olympic Pool in Munich Español: Pisci...
English: Olympic Pool in Munich Español: Piscina olímpica en Munich. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  1. Check pool water yourself using test strips purchased at your local hardware or pool supply store. CDC recommends the following water quality ranges to kill germs:
  • free chlorine levels at 1–3 parts per million (ppm)
  • –pH 7.2–7.8
      2.  Ask the pool operator:
  • Are the free chlorine and pH levels checked at least twice a day and more often when the pool is heavily used?
  • What is the latest pool inspection score?
  • Has the operator completed specialized training in pool operation?
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Six Steps for Healthy Swimming

  • Don’t swim when you have diarrhea.
  •  Don’t swallow pool water.
  •  Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.

  • Take your kids on bathroom breaks or check diapers often.

  • Change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area and not at poolside.

  • Wash your child thoroughly (especially the rear end) with soap and water before swimming.

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Exercise Tied to Better Colon Cancer Survival Odds

colorectal cancer
colorectal cancer (Photo credit: istolethetv)

Last Updated: 2013-01-24 14:25:26 -0400 (Reuters Health)

By Genevra Pittman

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People with colon cancer who spend more time walking and fewer hours on the couch are less likely to die over the seven to eight years after being diagnosed, a new study suggests.

The findings don't prove exercise itself boosts a person's survival chances, researchers said. But the pattern held even after the study team took into account how advanced patients' cancers were, their age and other aspects of their diet, lifestyle and health.

Diabetics Underuse Special Footwear

Ulcus bei Diabetes mellitus
Ulcus bei Diabetes mellitus (Photo credit: rosmary)

Diabetics Found to Underuse Special Footwear

Last Updated: 2013-01-24 13:35:26 -0400 (Reuters Health)

By Trevor Stokes

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Diabetic patients too often walk without wearing their custom-made shoes designed to prevent foot sores that can lead to infections and amputations, new research finds.

"It's very important that patients wear prescribed footwear as much as possible," said senior author, Sicco Bus, staff scientist with the Academic Medical Centre at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. "High-risk patients are too low in their adherence, and that needs to be improved."

Awareness of Recreational Water Illness

  • Visit CDC’s Healthy Swimming website to learn more about staying healthy.
  •  Follow the Six Steps for Healthy Swimming.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Platelets, Steroids May Not Aid Tennis Elbow

English: Tennis Elbow
English: Tennis Elbow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last Updated: 2013-01-22 16:35:23 -0400 (Reuters Health)

By Genevra Pittman

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Over a few months, neither steroids nor platelet injections are any better than injections of inactive salt water when it comes to treating tennis elbow, according to new research.

Despite its name, tennis elbow - which is caused by overuse of tendons in the elbow - often affects people with strenuous jobs, not just athletes.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Doonya Classes Offer Fitness as Bollywood Dance Party

Hemalayaa performing a Bollywood dance.
Hemalayaa performing a Bollywood dance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last Updated: 2013-01-21 11:16:12 -0400 (Reuters Health)

By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Doonya, which combines high-energy aerobics and conditioning with the hip-swaying, arm-swirling exuberance of Indian folk, pop and classical dance, is a Bollywood-based workout that experts say can be fun and effective.

Named for the Hindi word for world, Doonya is the brainchild of two fitness instructors who tapped their heritage for inspiration. It draws on the infectious song and dance numbers popularized by the prolific Hindi-film industry based in Mumbai, nicknamed Bollywood, where movies usually feature intricate love sagas and plot twists.

Acupuncture May Ease Cancer-Related Fatigue

English: Acupuncture
English: Acupuncture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last Updated: 2012-10-29 16:00:28 -0400 (Reuters Health)

By Genevra Pittman

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Acupuncture may help relieve fatigue in women who've had breast cancer, a new UK study suggests.

Researchers found that women who attended six weekly acupuncture sessions had greater improvements in fatigue as well as anxiety, depression and quality of life, compared to those who only received educational materials.

Study Suggests Lowering Cholesterol Earlier in Life

Last Updated: 2012-10-25 15:40:42 -0400 (Reuters Health)

By Frederik Joelving

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Teens and young adults may want to pay attention to their cholesterol levels instead of waiting until later, when there is less room for improvement, according to a new study.

There is no ironclad proof that doing so would actually benefit anyone, and the idea that people under 35 should be screened for high cholesterol is controversial. But some doctors now believe the circumstantial evidence is strong enough to warrant earlier interventions.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Kids With Down Syndrome Twice as Likely to be Heavy

Last Updated: 2012-11-14 15:10:14 -0400 (Reuters Health)

By Kerry Grens

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - More than one in four children with Down syndrome in The Netherlands is overweight, a rate double that of Dutch youth without the developmental disability, according to a new study.

"We were alarmed by the high prevalence of overweight in children with Down syndrome," said Dr. Helma van Gameren-Oosterom, the lead author of the study from the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research in Leiden.

Winter Heart-Related Deaths Rise No Matter the Climate

Last Updated: 2012-11-06 16:00:29 -0400 (Reuters Health)

By Deena Beasley

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Retiring to a warm climate like Arizona does not change the fact that a person is more likely to die from a heart-related problem in winter than in summer, according to a study released on Tuesday.

Researchers at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles analyzed 2005-2008 death certificate data from seven U.S. regions with varying climates: Los Angeles County, Texas, Arizona, Georgia, western Washington state, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

Slimmer Future for Heavy Kids Who Get Help Early

Last Updated: 2012-10-29 16:00:59 -0400 (Reuters Health)

By Frederik Joelving

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Weight-loss programs can help even very young children slim down, and it appears that acting early may improve the odds of success, according to a pair of new studies.

"What they are showing is a pretty consistent trend that if we were to intervene early, we could really have an effect on changing the trajectory of weight gain in children," said Dr. Elsie Taveras, a pediatrician at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital, who co-wrote an editorial on the findings.

Pedometers Play Up Every Step You Take

Pedometer (Photo credit: Matti Mattila)
Last Updated: 2012-11-12 11:55:17 -0400 (Reuters Health)

By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pedometers have ticked off many miles since Leonardo da Vinci sketched his version, essentially a pendulum for walkers, in the 15th century.

While step counting will never be a magic fitness pill, experts say this most pedestrian of gadgets can put extra spring in an ambulatory routine.

Study Links Relaxation Method to Reduced Hot Flashes

A gray-haired old woman from the United Kingdom
A gray-haired old woman from the United Kingdom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last Updated: 2012-11-30 14:35:14 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Although studies of the effects of relaxation techniques on menopause symptoms have yielded mixed results so far, a new report from Sweden comes down in favor of the approach as an alternative to hormone therapy.

Postmenopausal women trained to relax before and during the onset of hot flashes cut the frequency of those events in half during the three-month trial, researchers say. Women in a comparison group that got no treatments experienced little change in their symptoms. 

Diabetes Remission Possible With Diet, Exercise

English: Diagram shows insulin release from th...
English: Diagram shows insulin release from the Pancreas and how this lowers blood sugar leves. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last Updated: 2012-12-18 16:00:12 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - One in nine people with diabetes saw their blood sugar levels dip back to a normal or "pre-diabetes" level after a year on an intensive diet and exercise program, in a new study.

Complete remission of type 2 diabetes is still very rare, researchers said. But they added that the new study can give people with the disease hope that through lifestyle changes, they could end up getting off medication and likely lowering their risk of diabetes-related complications. 

Can Exercise Detoxify the Body? Experts Skeptical

A yoga class.
A yoga class. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last Updated: 2012-12-17 10:55:31 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The word "detoxification" is flung around the fitness community as frequently as kettlebells are swung.

Yoga teachers regularly speak of detoxifying twists, aerobics instructors of detoxifying sweat, dieters of detoxifying fasts. But health professionals are skeptical.

Spending on Food Advertising to Kids Fell in '09

The Apex Building, headquarters of the Federal...
The Apex Building, headquarters of the Federal Trade Commission, on Constitution Avenue and 17th Streets in Washington, D.C.. The building was designed by Edward H. Bennett under the purview of Secretary of the Treasury Andrew W. Mellon, and was completed in 1938 at a cost of $125 million. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last Updated: 2012-12-21 15:25:13 -0400 (Reuters Health)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Food companies spent considerably less to advertise to children in 2009 than they did in 2006 as they shifted to the Internet, and products pitched to kids got slightly healthier, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said in a report on Friday.

Cereal makers, fast food restaurants and other food companies spent $1.79 billion to advertise to children aged 2 to 17 in 2009, down almost 20 percent, on an inflation-adjusted basis, from $2.1 billion three years earlier, the FTC said.

Hairstyles May Keep Some Black Women From Exercise

Last Updated: 2012-12-17 16:27:32 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A number of obstacles may stand between a person and exercise, and hairstyles may be one of them for African-American women, according to a new study.

Researchers found about two of every five African-American women said they avoid exercise because of concerns about their hair, and researchers say that is concerning given the United States' obesity epidemic.

Early Scheduling Gets More Patients to Cardiac Rehab

English: Front of the Mayo Clinic Methodist Ho...
English: Front of the Mayo Clinic Methodist Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last Updated: 2012-12-28 14:10:20 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Scheduling heart patients' first cardiac rehabilitation session within 10 days of hospital discharge gets more of them to show up, according to a new study.

Researchers found the earlier scheduling led to an 18 percent increase in attendance at that first cardiac rehab orientation session, compared to appointments that were scheduled a month or more after discharge.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Exercise Shows Opposing Effects on Appetite

Funny Smile You Are Losing Weight Fitness Cent...
Funny Smile You Are Losing Weight Fitness Center Sign (Photo credits:
Last Updated: 2009-11-25 9:00:25 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Exercise seems to simultaneously make people hungrier, yet more readily satisfied by a meal -- and differences in these responses from person to person may help explain why some exercisers shed pounds more easily than others, researchers say.

In a study of 58 overweight and obese adults who started an exercise regimen, researchers found that exercise tended to boost participants' hunger before a meal, compared with their sedentary days.
On the other hand, they were also more easily satisfied by their morning meal than they had been before becoming active.

Snowboarding Linked to Injury-Rate Rise on Slopes

English: freestyle snowboarding
English: freestyle snowboarding (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last Updated: 2013-01-18 16:48:11 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Introducing snowboarders to the mix at one ski resort in New Mexico led to a small increase in the overall number of injuries on the mountain, according to a new study.

Compared to the two years before snowboarders were allowed at the resort, injuries rose by 13 percent in the two years after snowboarding was permitted, researchers report in The American Journal of Sports Medicine.

Anti-Doping Agency Not Part of Armstrong Inquiry

Lance Armstrong finishing 3rd in Sète, taking ...
Lance Armstrong finishing 3rd in Sète, taking over the Yellow Jersey at Grand Prix Midi Libre 2002 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last Updated: 2013-01-16 16:00:34 -0400 (Reuters Health)
(Reuters) - Friction between anti-doping chiefs and the UCI escalated on Tuesday as WADA decided not to partake in an inquiry set up by cycling's governing body to look into allegations of widespread doping, saying it was too focused on Lance Armstrong.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said in a statement it had a number of serious concerns as to the commission's terms of reference and its ability to carry out its role without undue influence.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fitness DVDs Remain Hale and Hardly Over the Hill

Last Updated: 2012-02-27 10:30:12 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Despite the brave new workout world of streaming videos and smart phone exercise apps, the old-fangled fitness DVD has never been in better shape.

As people seek to live healthier, it remains the go-to workout aid for many who like their exercise accessible, inexpensive and private, according to a recent report.

"Consumers are getting more and more advice from doctors to exercise," said Agata Kaczanowska, industry analyst for IBIS, which conducted a market research study of the $264 million-dollar fitness DVD industry.

Short and Social Workouts Led Fitness Trends in 2012

English: July 2007 CrossFit Trainer certificat...
English: July 2007 CrossFit Trainer certification, Santa Cruz, CA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - From mud races to sweat parties to CrossFit competitions, workouts turned smarter, shorter and more social in 2012, experts say, as fitness was sweetened with a little help from smart phones and friends.

"Everything is about making fitness fun," said Jenna Autuori-Dedic, senior fitness editor at Fitness Magazine.

Even those grueling indoor cycling classes were a chance to mingle.

Walking Linked to Fewer Strokes in Women

Last Updated: 2013-01-03 15:45:17 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women who walk at least three hours every week are less likely to suffer a stroke than women who walk less or not at all, according to new research from Spain. 

"The message for the general population remains similar: regularly engaging in moderate recreational activity is good for your health," lead author José María Huerta of the Murcia Regional Health Authority in Spain told Reuters Health.

Vitamin D May Not Relieve Arthritis Pain

this is becoming a big problem these days
this is becoming a big problem these days (Photo credit: Malingering)
Last Updated: 2013-01-08 16:00:06 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Taking daily vitamin D doesn't keep knee pain from getting worse or slow the loss of cartilage for people with osteoarthritis, according to a new study.

Previous research suggested that among people with the joint disorder, those with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood tended to have a slower progression of symptoms. But whether that meant taking more in supplement form would also have a protective effect was unclear.

Racing to Om - Fitness Class Combines Spinning and Yoga

A yoga class.
A yoga class. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last Updated: 2013-01-14 12:00:15 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pairing indoor cycling's intense, calorie-busting cardio workout with yoga, the mind-body practice of stretching into inner peace, may seem like a mismatch but fitness experts say it works.

Whether it is called Yoga Ride, Spin to Ride or Cycle Yoga, the two very different activities complement each other to improve fitness and flexibility.

Lance Armstrong Admits Doping in "Toxic" Tale

Lance Armstrong in the prologue of the Tour de...
Lance Armstrong in the prologue of the Tour de France in July 2004 in Liege, Belgium (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last Updated: 2013-01-18 10:40:09 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lance Armstrong ended years of vehement denial on Thursday by finally coming clean and admitting he had cheated his way to a record seven Tour de France titles with systematic use of banned, performance-enhancing drugs.

Confessing his "toxic" tale to chat show host Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong described himself as a "flawed character" while at last owning up to being at the center of one of the biggest drugs scandals in world sport.

U.S. Faces Drug Shortages for Multidrug-Resistant TB

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) - More than 80 percent of health departments in the United States that treat tuberculosis resistant to standard treatment have trouble obtaining the drugs they need to cure the disease, according to a national survey released on Thursday.

Whole Body Vibration May Help Elderly Get Up and Go

Physical Fitness
Physical Fitness (Photo credit: Justin Liew)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - When the elderly can't exercise, stints on a vibrating platform may help older adults become slightly stronger, faster and more agile, according to a small short-term study.

Exercise is the best option for good health in older age, lead author Alba Gómez Cabello told Reuters Health in an email. But for those unable to perform aerobic exercise, this vibration technique "could be an easy and quick treatment to improve physical fitness."

No Exercise Tied to Fat in Kids

No exercise, More than Couch, Tied to Fat in Kids

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - For kids, time spent inactive seems less of a factor in higher body fat than does a lack of exercise, according to a new study.

Researchers found that the more minutes kids spent exercising at the pace of a fast walk each day, the lower their body fat percentage was. But the time they spent as couch potatoes made no difference, according to results published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

"Our study supports the current physical activity guideline, that's what I want people to know," lead author Soyang Kwon, a pediatric researcher at Northwestern University in Chicago, told Reuters Health.