7 life events that can lead to divorce

We asked Elizabeth Ochoa, PhD, marriage counselor and chief psychologist at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, to weigh in on life events that can sometimes lead to divorce—and how to protect your relationship from their harmful effects.

Illness – When one spouse develops a serious or chronic health condition, it can change the entire dynamic of a relationship. “Illnesses create debt and pain and loss of self,” Ochoa said. “It can mean one partner isn’t able to maintain his or her part of the deal, which requires the other partner to step it up. Some couples will be better at dealing with that than others.”

Which spouse gets sick may have an affect on a couple’s future, as well. A recent study from Iowa State University found that divorce rates were 6 percent higher among relationships in which wives had an illness such as cancer, heart disease, or lung disease. Divorce rates didn’t increase when husbands were in poor health.

“Anecdotally, it might be harder for men to take on a caring role if the wife is unable to perform a lot of responsibilities that she’d normally do,” Ochoa said. “But I think it depends on how the tasks of the marriage were divided up between spouses. If the husband is the one who stays home and runs the household, it might be an easier adjustment.”


Posted in Divorce, Human Behavior: Relationships, Marriage | Leave a comment

Boys cheat more than girls in school

Research by the University of the Balearic Islands has analysed the phenomenon of academic plagiarism among secondary school students. The study, published in the journal ‘Comunicar’, confirms that this practice is widespread in secondary education, especially among the boys. Also, those who leave tasks to the last minute are the ones with a greater tendency to copy.

The subject of plagiarism at pre-university levels has been little studied and hardly dealt with in its Spanish-speaking context. For this reason, a team of scientists from the University of the Balearic Islands has investigated this activity amongst secondary school pupils, and its relationship with gender and procrastination (postponing tasks for later).

The scientists surveyed 1,503 pupils in their second, third and fourth year of secondary school and 1,291 staying on for their first and second year of their Baccalaureate on the Balearic Islands. The results show that practices constituting plagiarism are widespread in secondary school classrooms.

The study, published in ‘Comunicar’, also shows that the boys tend to commit plagiarism significantly more than the girls and that the pupils that tend to leave work until the last minute have a higher propensity to plagiarise.

“The common practices are known as ‘collage plagiarism’, or rather, creating work by copying odd fragments of text, either from digital or printed sources and including them in an academic piece without referencing them,” as Rubén Comas-Forgas, researcher at the University of the Balearic Islands and co-author of the work, explains to SINC.

A total of 81.3% of pupils declared to have copied fragments of texts from websites that they pasted directly into a document and handed in as work for a subject without referencing the source at least once during the previous academic year.

Similarly, 72.5% admitted to having copied (without referencing) fragments of printed sources (books, encyclopaedias, newspapers, magazine articles, etc.) and having added them as part of their work for a subject.

Other less common actions were: downloading the full piece of work from the internet and handing it in as their own, or presenting work already handed in by other pupils in previous years.

According to Comas-Forgas, “the secondary education centres must plan for and tackle this with decisive measures to reduce and prevent this type of academic fraud”.

The close relationship between procrastination and fraud

The results also recommend that teachers monitor and effectively control the process for creating academic work. “The improvement of pupils’ abilities to source information is one of the necessary strategies to effectively confront the problem,” adds the researcher.

For the authors, the fact that (as reflected by the data confirmed in this work) there is a marked relationship between plagiarism and procrastination or postponement is worth highlighting.

“The explanation can be this simple: pupils who have the greatest tendency to leave tasks until the last minute do not have time to do the activity set by the teacher themselves and the only way that they can do the work is by plagiarising in some way,” Comas-Forgas points out.

A ‘practice range’ for corruption

Teachers who set work and do not monitor its progress in any way “fuel the chance that their students leave the task to the last minute,” argues the expert.

For this reason, the team recommends breaking the work up and carrying out regular checks on the tasks, monitoring the process and not simply waiting for the outcome.

The study proposes the need to include academic integrity values in the educational centres, both as regulations and in adopting teaching methodologies adapted to information technology.

“We have to teach the pupils how to use the information effectively and ethically. Fraud in education is the main type of non-violent or white-collar antisocial academic behaviour. Not only that, but it is also the key practice range for fraud and corruption, as indicated in a pioneering study on the topic by teacher Juan Manuel Moreno in 2001,” he concludes.



Posted in Human Behavior: Cheating, Human Behavior: Ethics, Human Behavior: Gender Differences | Leave a comment

High chronic sucrose intake accelerated sarcopenia in older male rats

Chronic Intake of Sucrose Accelerates Sarcopenia in Older Male Rats through Alterations in Insulin Sensitivity and Muscle Protein Synthesis 1,2,3

Eva Gatineau4,5,
Isabelle Savary-Auzeloux4,5,
Carole Migné4,5,
Sergio Polakof4,5,
Dominique Dardevet4,5, and
Laurent Mosoni4,5,*

J. Nutr. March 25, 2015 jn205583

- Author Affiliations

4National Institute of Agronomic Research, Joint Research Unit 1019 for Human Nutrition, Saint Genès Champanelle, France; and
5Clermont 1 University, Research and Training Unit Medicine, Joint Research Unit 1019 for Human Nutrition, Clermont-Ferrand, France

↵*To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: laurent.mosoni@clermont.inra.fr.


Background: Today, high chronic intake of added sugars is frequent, which leads to inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance. These 3 factors could reduce meal-induced stimulation of muscle protein synthesis and thus aggravate the age-related loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia).

Objective: Our aim was to determine if added sugars could accelerate sarcopenia and assess the capacity of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents to prevent this.

Methods: For 5 mo, 16-mo-old male rats were starch fed (13% sucrose and 49% wheat starch diet) or sucrose fed (62% sucrose and 0% wheat starch diet) with or without rutin (5-g/kg diet), vitamin E (4 times), vitamin A (2 times), vitamin D (5 times), selenium (10 times), and zinc (+44%) (R) supplementation. We measured the evolution of body composition and inflammation, plasma insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-I) concentration and total antioxidant status, insulin sensitivity (oral-glucose-tolerance test), muscle weight, superoxide dismutase activity, glutathione concentration, and in vivo protein synthesis rates.

Results: Sucrose-fed rats lost significantly more lean body mass (−8.1% vs. −5.4%, respectively) and retained more fat mass (+0.2% vs. −33%, respectively) than starch-fed rats. Final muscle mass was 11% higher in starch-fed rats than in sucrose-fed rats. Sucrose had little effect on inflammation, oxidative stress, and plasma IGF-I concentration but reduced the insulin sensitivity index (divided by 2). Meal-induced stimulation of muscle protein synthesis was significantly lower in sucrose-fed rats (+7.3%) than in starch-fed rats (+22%). R supplementation slightly but significantly reduced oxidative stress and increased muscle protein concentration (+4%) but did not restore postprandial stimulation of muscle protein synthesis.

Conclusions: High chronic sucrose intake accelerated sarcopenia in older male rats through an alteration of postprandial stimulation of muscle protein synthesis. This effect could be explained by a decrease of insulin sensitivity rather than by changes in plasma IGF-I, inflammation, and/or oxidative stress.


Posted in Longevity, Nutrition: Food: Sugar | Leave a comment

Exactly how much alcohol it takes to cause liver cancer: new study

It turns out three drinks a day is the tipping point — but drinking coffee might actually protect people from the disease that accounts for about 746,000 deaths in the world each year.

That’s according to the World Cancer Research Fund International, which on Wednesday released an analysis of global studies on the probable causes of and preventions for liver cancer.

Dr. Anne McTiernan, an epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, is among the group of scientists who considered nearly three dozen studies from around the world. The studies included 8.2 million adults and analyzed 24,500 cases of liver cancer.

“The finding provides the clearest indication to date of how many drinks actually cause liver cancer,” McTiernan’s group said in a statement.

The panel found strong evidence that consuming more that 45 grams a day of alcohol — about three drinks — is a “convincing cause” of liver cancer. Drinking at least a cup of coffee a day decreased the risk, the panel found.


Posted in Alcohol, Alcoholism, Cancer: Liver | Leave a comment

Age-specific brain changes in autism: University of Miami

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 26, 2015) – The field of autism research has tried to find a central theory underlying brain changes associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Now, a new study shows that individuals with the disorder exhibit different patterns of brain connectivity, when compared to typically developing (TD) individuals and that these patterns adjust as the individual ages.

“Our findings suggest that developmental stage must be taken into account to accurately build models that show how the brains of individuals with autism differ from neurotypical individuals,” said Lucina Uddin, assistant professor of Psychology at the University of Miami (UM) College of Arts and Sciences and corresponding author of the study. “We believe that taking a developmental approach to examining brain connectivity in autism is critical for predicting response to treatment in young children with ASD.”

Our brain is composed of more than one trillion cells called neurons. They interact with one another to form complex signaling networks. Previous studies have identified patterns of both functional hypo- and hyper-connectivity of these signaling networks in individuals with ASD. The current study, titled “Developmental Changes in Large-Scale Network Connectivity in Autism,” attempts to explain these conflicting results, by indicating that the developmental stage of the individual plays a key role in the findings. The study is published in the journal NeuroImage Clinical.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Children (7 to 11) with ASD, exhibit hyper-connectivity within large-scale brain networks, as well as decreased between-network connectivity, when compared to TD children.
  • Adolescents (age 11 to 18) with ASD do not differ in within network connectivity, but have a decrease in between network connectivity, from TD adolescents.
  • Adults (older than 18) with ASD show neither within, or between-network differences in functional connectivity compared with typical adults.

The findings suggest that alterations in the networks of the brain’s cortex may trigger the complex behavioral characteristics observed in individuals with ASD.

“This study helps us understand the functional organization of brain networks and how they change across the lifespan in autism,” said Jason S. Nomi, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at UM and lead author of the study.

The researchers are currently working to explicitly characterize an important developmental transition in individuals with autism: the onset of puberty.



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Thin air, high altitudes may cause depression in females: University of Utah Health Sciences

(SALT LAKE CITY) — In a novel study, University of Utah (U of U) researchers have shown that hypobaric hypoxia (the reduced oxygen experienced at high altitude) can lead to depression.

In the March 2015 edition of High Altitude Medicine and Biology online, the U of U researchers and a colleague from Tufts University show that female rats exposed to high-altitude conditions, both simulated and real, exhibit increased depression-like behavior. Male rats, interestingly, showed no signs of depression in the same conditions.

“The significance of this animal study is that it can isolate hypoxia as a distinct risk factor for depression in those living at altitude (hypobaric hypoxia) or with other chronic hypoxic conditions such as COPD, asthma or smoking, independent of other risk factors,” says Shami Kanekar, Ph.D., research assistant professor of psychiatry and lead author on the study.

The researchers housed rats for a week at simulated altitudes of sea level, 10,000 feet and 20,000 feet using altitude chambers, and at local conditions of 4,500 feet, the elevation of Salt Lake City where the research took place. They then used a widely accepted behavioral test in which depression is gauged by how much persistence rodents demonstrate in a swim test. “In female rats, increasing altitude of housing from sea level to 20,000 feet caused a parallel increase in depression-like behavior,” Kanekar says.

The correlation between altitude and high rates of depression and suicide is strikingly obvious in the Intermountain West region of the United States where elevations are considerably higher than in the rest of the country. In 2012, the eight states that comprise the Intermountain West-Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico-had suicide rates exceeding 18 per 100,000 people compared with the national average of 12.5 per 100,000, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The high rates of self-inflicted death in the West have earned the region a gloomy moniker: the Suicide Belt.

Several studies, including work by Perry F. Renshaw, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., USTAR professor of psychiatry at the U of U and senior author on this latest study, suggest altitude is an independent risk factor for suicide, and further that depression rates also increase with altitude and may contribute to the increased suicide risk.

Because rats are not subject to the same psychological and societal pressures as people, the current study bolsters the argument that physiological changes triggered by hypobaric hypoxia (the low oxygen at high altitude) can contribute to depression. What these changes are, and whether they also occur in people, will be the subject of future studies.

“There are many potential risk factors that contribute to depression and suicide at altitude, and we are not discounting any of these other factors at all,” says Renshaw. Several such factors that are prevalent in the Intermountain West include poverty, rural residence, low population density, gun ownership and psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disease. “But this new study shows that one factor inherent to living at altitude-hypobaric hypoxia-can cause depression. Hypobaric hypoxia thus clearly is linked to the high depression rates in regions of altitude, and this factor may need to be addressed.”

According to Renshaw, a potential cause for depression at altitude might be found in low levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is thought to contribute to feelings of well-being and happiness. Hypoxia impairs an enzyme involved in synthesis of serotonin, likely resulting in lower levels of serotonin that could lead to depression. In addition, Renshaw’s group has shown that brain cellular metabolism can be damaged by hypoxia in rats as well as in humans.

This deficit in brain function may contribute to what Renshaw calls “The Utah Paradox”. Despite having the highest use of antidepressants in the country, Utah also has the highest Depression Index, as defined by a National Mental Health Survey in 2007. Animal studies imply that SSRIs such as Prozac® may not work when brain serotonin levels are low. In current studies, Kanekar and Renshaw are therefore evaluating the effectiveness of currently available antidepressants in hypobaric hypoxia, with a major focus on SSRIs, the most commonly prescribed antidepressants in the United States. Future studies involve exploring novel therapeutic options for hypoxia-related depression.

“The fact that both depression and suicide rates increase with altitude implies that current antidepressant treatments are not adequate for those suffering from depression at altitude, leading to high levels of unresolved depression that can contribute to higher levels of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts,” says Kanekar.


Posted in Altitude Sickness, Mental Health: Depression | Leave a comment

With diabetic nerve damage, walking can pose fall risk: Diabetes Care

(Reuters Health) – Diabetics with nerve damage are more likely to have an uneven stride and struggle to maintain their balance even when walking on flat ground, a small study finds.

So-called peripheral neuropathy, or diabetic nerve damage, can lead to numbness and pain in the feet, legs and hands. It is the most common complication of diabetes, and though it has long been linked to an increased risk of falls, less is known about how specific body movements contribute to balance problems during daily activities such as walking or climbing stairs.

“By investigating the activities during which falls are more likely to occur, we can look to identify specific detriments of the underlying balance mechanisms, allowing a more targeted and educated approach to preventing falls within this population in the future,” lead author Steven Brown, of Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK, said in an email interview.

About one in nine adults has diabetes, and the disease will be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030, according to the World Health Organization.

Most of these people have type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and advanced age and happens when the body can’t properly use or make enough of the hormone insulin to convert blood sugar into energy.





Posted in Balance, Diabetes, Elder Care: Falls, Neuropathy | Leave a comment

High-fat diet alters behavior and produces signs of brain inflammation: new study

Philadelphia, PA, March 26, 2015 – Can the consumption of fatty foods change your behavior and your brain?

High-fat diets have long been known to increase the risk for medical problems, including heart disease and stroke, but there is growing concern that diets high in fat might also increase the risk for depression and other psychiatric disorders.

A new study published in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry raises the possibility that a high-fat diet produces changes in health and behavior, in part, by changing the mix of bacteria in the gut, also known as the gut microbiome.

The human microbiome consists of trillions of microorganisms, many of which reside in the intestinal tract. These microbiota are essential for normal physiological functioning. However, research has suggested that alterations in the microbiome may underlie the host’s susceptibility to illness, including neuropsychiatric impairment.

This led researchers at Louisiana State University to test whether an obesity-related microbiome alters behavior and cognition even in the absence of obesity.

Non-obese adult mice were conventionally housed and maintained on a normal diet, but received a transplant of gut microbiota from donor mice that had been fed either a high-fat diet or control diet. The recipient mice were then evaluated for changes in behavior and cognition.

The animals who received the microbiota shaped by a high-fat diet showed multiple disruptions in behavior, including increased anxiety, impaired memory, and repetitive behaviors. Further, they showed many detrimental effects in the body, including increased intestinal permeability and markers of inflammation. Signs of inflammation in the brain were also evident and may have contributed to the behavioral changes.

“This paper suggests that high-fat diets impair brain health, in part, by disrupting the symbiotic relationship between humans and the microorganisms that occupy our gastrointestinal tracks,” commented Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry.

Indeed, these findings provide evidence that diet-induced changes to the gut microbiome are sufficient to alter brain function even in the absence of obesity. This is consistent with prior research, which has established an association between numerous psychiatric conditions and gastrointestinal symptoms, but unfortunately, the mechanisms by which gut microbiota affect behavior are still not well understood.

Further research is necessary, but these findings suggest that the gut microbiome has the eventual potential to serve as a therapeutic target for neuropsychiatric disorders.


The article is “Obese-type Gut Microbiota Induce Neurobehavioral Changes in the Absence of Obesity” by Annadora J. Bruce-Keller, J. Michael Salbaum, Meng Luo, Eugene Blanchard IV, Christopher M. Taylor, David A. Welsh, and Hans-Rudolf Berthoud (doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014. 07.012). The article appears in Biological Psychiatry, Volume 77, Issue 7 (April 1, 2015), published by Elsevier.

Notes for editors

The authors’ affiliations, and disclosures of financial and conflicts of interests are available in the article.

John H. Krystal, M.D., is Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine, Chief of Psychiatry at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and a research psychiatrist at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System. His disclosures of financial and conflicts of interests are available here.

About Biological Psychiatry

Biological Psychiatry is the official journal of the Society of Biological Psychiatry, whose purpose is to promote excellence in scientific research and education in fields that investigate the nature, causes, mechanisms and treatments of disorders of thought, emotion, or behavior. In accord with this mission, this peer-reviewed, rapid-publication, international journal publishes both basic and clinical contributions from all disciplines and research areas relevant to the pathophysiology and treatment of major psychiatric disorders.

The journal publishes novel results of original research which represent an important new lead or significant impact on the field, particularly those addressing genetic and environmental risk factors, neural circuitry and neurochemistry, and important new therapeutic approaches. Reviews and commentaries that focus on topics of current research and interest are also encouraged.

Biological Psychiatry is one of the most selective and highly cited journals in the field of psychiatric neuroscience. It is ranked 5th out of 135 Psychiatry titles and 14th out of 251 Neurosciences titles in the Journal Citations Reports® published by Thomson Reuters. The 2013 Impact Factor score for Biological Psychiatry is 9.472.


Posted in Inflammation, Nutrition is Medicine, Nutrition: Fat | 2 Comments

Crossing fingers can reduce feelings of pain: University College London

How you feel pain is affected by where sources of pain are in relation to each other, and so crossing your fingers can change what you feel on a single finger, finds new UCL research.

The research, published in Current Biology, used a variation on an established pain experiment, known as the “thermal grill illusion”. In the thermal grill illusion, a pattern of warm-cold-warm temperatures applied to the index, middle and ring finger respectively causes a paradoxical, sometimes painful, sensation of burning heat on the middle finger – even though this finger is actually presented with a cold stimulus.

“The thermal grill is a useful component in our scientific understanding of pain,” says Angela Marotta (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience), co-lead author in the research, “It uses a precisely-controlled stimulus to activate the brain’s pain systems. This can certainly feel painful, but doesn’t actually involve any tissue damage.”

The thermal grill produces burning heat sensations because of a three-way interaction between the nerve pathways that tell the brain about warmth, cold and pain. The warm temperature on the ring and index fingers blocks the brain activity that would normally be driven by the cold temperature on the middle finger.

“Cold normally inhibits pain, so inhibiting the input from the cold stimulus produces an increase in pain signals,” explains co-lead author Dr Elisa Ferrè (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience). “It’s like two minuses making a plus.”

The researchers showed that this interaction was based on the spatial arrangement of the fingers. When the middle finger was crossed over the index finger, the paradoxical sensation of burning heat on the middle finger was reduced.

However, if the index finger was cooled and the middle and ring fingers were warmed, the burning heat sensation was now increased when the middle finger was crossed over the index finger.

“Our results showed that a simple spatial pattern determined the burning heat sensation,” says Dr Ferrè. “When the cold finger was positioned in between the two warm fingers, it felt burningly hot. When the cold finger was moved to an outside position, the burning sensation was reduced. The brain seemed to use the spatial arrangement of all three stimuli to produce the burning heat sensation on just one finger.”

“Interactions like these may contribute to the astonishing variability of pain,” says senior author Professor Patrick Haggard (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience). “Many people suffer from chronic pain, and the level of pain experienced can be higher than would be expected from actual tissue damage. Our research is basic laboratory science, but it raises the interesting possibility that pain levels could be manipulated by applying additional stimuli, and by moving one part of the body relative to others. Changing the spatial pattern of interacting inputs could have an effect on the brain pathways that underlie pain perception.”


The researchers were funded by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (EU FP7) project VERE, Work Package 1.


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PTSD, heart disease linked: new evidence

In a study of more than 8,000 veterans living in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, those with posttraumatic stress disorder had a nearly 50 percent greater risk of developing heart failure over about a seven-year follow-up period, compared with their non-PTSD peers.

The findings appear in the April 2015 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The study adds to a growing body of evidence linking PTSD and heart disease. The research to date–including these latest findings–doesn’t show a clear cause-and-effect relationship. But most experts believe PTSD, like other forms of chronic stress or anxiety, can damage the heart over time.

“There are many theories as to how exactly PTSD contributes to heart disease,” says Dr. Alyssa Mansfield, one of the study authors. “Overall, the evidence to date seems to point in the direction of a causal relationship.”

Mansfield was senior author on the study while with the Pacific Islands Division of the National Center for PTSD of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). She is now with the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System and also an assistant adjunct professor of epidemiology at the University of Hawaii.

The study tracked 8,248 veterans who had been outpatients in the VA Pacific Islands system. The researchers followed them an average of just over seven years. Those with a PTSD diagnosis were 47 percent more likely to develop heart failure during the follow-up period. The researchers controlled for differences between the groups in health and demographic factors.

Out of the total study group, about 21 percent were diagnosed with PTSD. Of the total 371 cases of heart failure during the study, 287 occurred among those with PTSD, whereas only 84 cases occurred among the group without PTSD.

Combat service, whether or not it led to a full-blown PTSD diagnosis, was itself a strong predictor of heart failure. Those Veterans with combat experience were about five times more likely to develop heart failure during the study period, compared with those who had not seen combat. Other predictors of heart failure were advanced age, diabetes, high blood pressure, and overweight or obesity.

The authors of the study say they didn’t have access to a full range of data that would have provided further clues as to the PTSD-heart disease link. For example, they were not able to distinguish in the data between those who had served in the Gulf during 1990 and 1991, and those who served more recently in Iraq or Afghanistan. Nor were they able to analyze whether racial or ethnic identity plays a role one way or the other, as that information was not complete for most veterans in study.

Nonetheless, the authors point out that the work is the “first large-scale longitudinal study to report an association between PTSD and incident heart failure in an outpatient sample of U.S. veterans.”

Heart failure, in which the heart grows weaker and can’t pump enough blood to adequately supply the body’s needs, affects about 5 million Americans in all, with some 500,000 new cases each year. People with the condition feel tired with physical activity, as the muscles aren’t getting enough blood.

The new results, says Mansfield, provide further potent evidence of the nexus between mental and physical health. The practical upshot of the findings, she says, is that veterans with PTSD should realize that by treating their PTSD, they may also be helping to prevent heart disease down the road.

By the same token, the authors point out that VA and other health care systems may need to step up efforts to prevent and treat heart failure among those with PTSD.


Lead author on the study was Samit S. Roy, with Ohio State University and the University of Minnesota. Other coauthors were Dr. Randi Foraker, with OSU; and Dr. Richard Girton, with the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System.


Posted in Heart Disease, Mental Health: PTSD, War | Leave a comment

Midlife fitness may lower risk of some cancers later: JAMA Oncology

(Reuters Health) – Men who are more fit in middle-age are less likely to be diagnosed with lung or colorectal cancers years later, according to a new long-term study.

Fitter men were also much less likely to die if they were diagnosed with cancer later in life, compared to less fit men, the authors found.

“Among the men who developed cancer, those who were more fit at middle age had a lower risk of dying from all the three cancers studied, as well as cardiovascular disease,” said lead author Dr. Susan G. Lakoski of the University of Vermont in Colchester.

“Even a small improvement in fitness (by 1 MET) made a significant difference in survival – reducing the risks of dying from cancer and cardiovascular disease by 10 and 25 percent, respectively,” she told Reuters Health by email.

One MET, or Metabolic Equivalent of Task, would translate, for example, to running an 11.5-minute mile compared to a 12-minute mile, she explained.

Researchers used data from a long-term study of more than 13,000 men who were an average of 49 years old when they had a comprehensive physical exam, a cardiovascular risk factor assessment and completed a treadmill test of fitness level between 1971 and 2009.





Posted in Cancer, Cancer: Colon, Cancer: Lung, Exercise: Benefits | Leave a comment

Even interrupting sitting time may improve health in type 2 diabetes

(Reuters Health) – – People with Type 2 diabetes could trim down and improve their metabolic health by replacing long periods of sitting with periodic standing, taking the stairs or even just changing the television station manually, a new study suggests.

“It is important to stress that physical activity incorporates all different forms of movement and that people do not have to participate in structured exercise to be sufficiently active,” said Catherine Falconer, who led the study.

“Whatever you can do to increase the amount of physical activity you do and reduce the length of time sitting will have an impact on your diabetes and general health,” she wrote in an email.

Previous research has shown that increasing physical activity can help people with type 2 diabetes better handle their weight, glucose and lipid levels, Falconer and her team point out in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. But people with diabetes may have a particularly hard time staying active.

“Type 2 diabetes is commonly associated with an obesogenic lifestyle, including low levels of physical activity. For some people with type 2 diabetes, mobility issues may prevent them from achieving sufficient physical activity, but for others it may be a result of behavior and environmental factors,” Falconer said.




Posted in Diabetes, Exercise: Benefits, Exercise: Standing, Sitting | Leave a comment

Work Site Wellness Centers Equate to Weight Loss and Health Care Savings, Mayo Expert Says

Newswise — ROCHESTER, Minn. — As employees and employers face higher health care costs, work site wellness centers are becoming increasingly more important to help control the costs of health care and encourage healthy lifestyle behaviors among the workforce, a Mayo Clinic study says.

Research published this month in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine shows that members of Mayo Clinic’s employee wellness center, the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center (DAHLC), who regularly participated in wellness activities, experienced significant weight loss and health care costs savings.

“A well-planned comprehensive wellness center can engage and retain members which can ultimately lead to important savings in health care costs and reductions in body mass index (BMI),” says lead researcher Bijan Borah, Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery.

For the study, the researchers used data from 3,199 members who were continuously enrolled in the DAHLC for three years and their attendance was categorized: 1–60, 61–180, 181–360 and greater than 360 visits. Weight loss was defined as moving to a lower BMI category and was based on their BMI at the beginning of the study: normal (BMI <25), overweight (BMI ≤25 to <30), obese (BMI ≤30 to <35), and obesity grade II or higher (BMI ≥35). The baseline patient information was collected in the first year and study outcomes were assessed during the three-year follow-up period. Researchers pulled data from multiple institutional sources: the wellness center attendance database, electronic health records and a health care claims database.

Important results from the study include:

* Compared to members who visited the DAHLC 1–60 times in the three-year period, members with 181–360 visits were 46 percent more likely to have weight loss, while the individuals with the most visits (more than 360) were 72 percent more likely to have weight loss.

* Compared with the mean annual cost of $13,267 for 1–60visits, the mean for subjects with 61–180visits, 181–360 visits, and more than 360 visits had significantly lower costs at $9,538, $9,332 and $8,293, respectively.

“The significant association between health care costs and the frequency of wellness center visits, implying an average cost difference of $4,974 between the top and bottom quartiles of the DAHLC users, is too strong to ignore,” says Dr. Borah. “While the use of DAHLC is unlikely the only mediator of either weight control or health care costs, workplaces that are able to offer comprehensive wellness facilities may be capable of achieving similar gains irrespective of individuals’ activity pursuits at the facility.”

Other study authors include Jason Egginton, M.P.H.; Nilay Shah, Ph.D.; Amy Wagie, M.H.A.; Kerry Olsen, M.D.; Xiaoxi Yao, Ph.D.; and Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D., all of Mayo Clinic.

About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to medical research and education, and providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

Posted in Commercial Fitness Industry, Corporate Wellness, Exercise: Benefits | Leave a comment