Weekly Health Update
~ Robert A. Heinlein
Mental Attitude: Slower Walking Speed May Be Harbinger of Mental Decline…
In this study, researchers followed 175 seniors with normal brain function for 14 years and found that those whose walking speed slowed during the course of the study also experienced shrinkage of the right hippocampus. This area of the brain not only affects spatial orientation, which may explain the slowed walking speed, but it also plays a role in forming long-term memories. The findings suggest that doctors should check older patients’ walking speed and watch for changes over time, since it may be an early indication of mental decline that warrants testing or preventative measures.
Neurology, June 2017
Health Alert: These Heartburn Meds May Shorten Your Life…
Proton pump inhibitor medications used to treat heartburn may increase the risk of early death when taken for extended periods of time. Investigators compared the medical records of nearly 276,000 users of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) against those of about 73,000 people who took another class of heartburn medication called H2 blockers. They found that patients taking PPIs for a year or more had a 51% increased risk of premature death, compared with 31% for people on PPIs for six months to a year, and 17% for three- to six-month users. The researchers add that short-term use of PPIs of up to 90 days did not appear to affect mortality risk. Senior researcher Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly comments, “If people find themselves taking proton pump inhibitors for an extended period of time with no valid need for doing so, or for symptoms that can be managed in other ways, that’s when there’s far more risk than any potential benefit.”
BMJ Open, June 2017
Diet: High Fruit Juice Intake May Increase Thyroid Cancer Risk.
Several studies have shown that consuming fruits and vegetables can reduce one’s risk for many types of cancer. While a recent study did not find this to be the case for thyroid cancer, the authors of the study did observe that higher fruit juice consumption may slightly increase the risk (23%) for that form of cancer.
International Journal of Cancer, July 2017
Exercise: Benefits of Intense Exercise.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is characterized by brief bouts of intense exercise followed by less intense activity. According to the American Council on Exercise, HIIT benefits include: improved anaerobic and aerobic fitness; increased sensitivity to insulin; decreased fasting insulin; reductions in belly fat and fat deposits just beneath the skin; and improvements in fitness with less time commitment.
American Council on Exercise, July 2017
Chiropractic: Job Strain, Sleep Disturbances, and Back Pain.
Using data from the Stockholm Public Health Cohort surveys from 2006 and 2010, researchers have determined that a physically active job, high job strain, and sleep disturbances increase the risk for developing troublesome low back pain. The findings may suggest that a reduction in job demands and improvement in sleep quality could help prevent or reduce one’s lower back pain risk.
Journal of Rehabilitation of Medicine, June 2017
Wellness/Prevention: Biking Safely.
To help reduce your risk of a serious biking injury, the United States National Safety Council recommends the following: obey traffic laws; understand the limits of your bike; bike in a single-file line in the same direction as traffic; watch for dangers such as open car doors; use hand signals when you turn; look left, right, left again, and over your shoulder before biking into traffic; ride only during daylight hours; wear bright clothing; if you must ride at night, make sure your clothing is reflective and your bike has reflectors on the spokes, front, rear, and pedals; and equip your bike with a bright headlight, a rear-view mirror, and a horn.
National Safety Council, July 2017
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