Tomatoes may help fight some cancers

Men who eat over 10 portions a week of tomatoes have an 18 per cent lower risk of developing prostate cancer, new research suggests.

With 35,000 new cases every year in the UK, and around 10,000 deaths, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide.

Rates are higher in developed countries, which some experts believe is linked to a Westernised diet and lifestyle.

To assess if following dietary and lifestyle recommendations reduces risk of prostate cancer, researchers at the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge and Oxford looked at the diets and lifestyle of 1,806 men aged between 50 and 69 with prostate cancer and compared with 12,005 cancer-free men.

The NIHR-funded study, published in the medical journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, is the first study of its kind to develop a prostate cancer ‘dietary index’ which consists of dietary components – selenium, calcium and foods rich in lycopene – that have been linked to prostate cancer.

Men who had optimal intake of these three dietary components had a lower risk of prostate cancer.

Tomatoes and its products – such as tomato juice and baked beans – were shown to be most beneficial, with an 18 per cent reduction in risk found in men eating over 10 portions a week.

This is thought to be due to lycopene, an antioxidant which fights off toxins that can cause DNA and cell damage. Vanessa Er, from the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol and Bristol Nutrition BRU, led the research.

She said: “Our findings suggest that tomatoes may be important in prostate cancer prevention. However, further studies need to be conducted to confirm our findings, especially through human trials. Men should still eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, maintain a healthy weight and stay active.”

The researchers also looked at the recommendations on physical activity, diet and body weight for cancer prevention published by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).

Only the recommendation on plant foods – high intake of fruits, vegetables and dietary fibre – was found to be associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer. As these recommendations are not targeted at prostate cancer prevention, researchers concluded that adhering to these recommendations is not sufficient and that additional dietary recommendations should be developed.


Posted in Cancer: Prostate, Nutrition: Food: Tomatoes | Leave a comment

Walking reduces sensorimotor network connectivity compared to standing

J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2014 Feb 13;11:14. doi: 10.1186/1743-0003-11-14.

Walking reduces sensorimotor network connectivity compared to standing.

Lau TM1, Gwin JT, Ferris DP.

Author information

1Human Neuromechanics Laboratory, School of Kinesiology University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2214, USA.



Considerable effort has been devoted to mapping the functional and effective connectivity of the human brain, but these efforts have largely been limited to tasks involving stationary subjects. Recent advances with high-density electroencephalography (EEG) and Independent Components Analysis (ICA) have enabled study of electrocortical activity during human locomotion. The goal of this work was to measure the effective connectivity of cortical activity during human standing and walking.


We recorded 248-channels of EEG as eight young healthy subjects stood and walked on a treadmill both while performing a visual oddball discrimination task and not performing the task. ICA parsed underlying electrocortical, electromyographic, and artifact sources from the EEG signals. Inverse source modeling methods and clustering algorithms localized posterior, anterior, prefrontal, left sensorimotor, and right sensorimotor clusters of electrocortical sources across subjects. We applied a directional measure of connectivity, conditional Granger causality, to determine the effective connectivity between electrocortical sources.


Connections involving sensorimotor clusters were weaker for walking than standing regardless of whether the subject was performing the simultaneous cognitive task or not. This finding supports the idea that cortical involvement during standing is greater than during walking, possibly because spinal neural networks play a greater role in locomotor control than standing control. Conversely, effective connectivity involving non-sensorimotor areas was stronger for walking than standing when subjects were engaged in the simultaneous cognitive task.


Our results suggest that standing results in greater functional connectivity between sensorimotor cortical areas than walking does. Greater cognitive attention to standing posture than to walking control could be one interpretation of that finding. These techniques could be applied to clinical populations during gait to better investigate neural substrates involved in mobility disorders.


Posted in Exercise: Standing, Exercise: Walking | Leave a comment

Public housing residents’ health statuses are vulnerable to sedentary behaviors

Ethn Dis. 2014 Summer;24(3):370-5.

The influence of sitting time and physical activity on health outcomes in public housing residents.

Leach HJ, Mama SK, Soltero EG, Lee RE.



Examine differences between levels of physical activity and sitting time for residents of public housing developments located in high vs low income neighborhoods, and whether physical activity or sitting time had a greater influence on health outcomes.


Secondary data analysis from the Healthful Options Using Streets and Transportation in Our Neighborhoods (HOUSTON) project.


Public housing developments located in Houston, TX.


African American, adult males and females.


Self-reported PA and time spent sitting on weekdays were measured using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) short form. Participants completed measures of BMI (kg/m2), % body fat (%BF) and resting blood pressure to assess health outcomes. Neighborhood income was defined as the median household income at the census block group level, obtained from the 2006-2010 American Community Survey.


All participants (N = 216) had an annual household income of < or = $19,350, and neighborhood income ranged from $9,226 to $57,618. Participants reported an average of 4342.2 +/- 4828.3 MET-min/wk of physical activity, and 4.5 +/- 3.2 hours of sitting per weekday. Time spent sitting was associated with BMI (beta = .50, t = 2.4, P = .018), %BF (beta = .87, t = 3.6, P =.000), and diastolic blood pressure (beta = .62, t = 2.1, P = .041). Physical activity was not significantly associated with any health outcomes.


Our findings indicate that public housing residents’ health statuses are vulnerable to sedentary behaviors regardless of the affluence of the neighborhood surrounding the housing development.


Posted in Environmental Health: Urban, Human Behavior: Sedentary | Leave a comment

Moderate physical activity reverses age-related endothelial dysfunction if enough of it is done

J Am Heart Assoc. 2014 Feb 26;3(1):e000702. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.113.000702.

Relative importance of step count, intensity, and duration on physical activity’s impact on vascular structure and function in previously sedentary older adults.

Suboc TB1, Strath SJ, Dharmashankar K, Coulliard A, Miller N, Wang J, Tanner MJ, Widlansky ME.

Author information

1Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI.



Age-related endothelial dysfunction and vascular stiffening are associated with increased cardiovascular (CV) risk. Many groups have encouraged goals of ≥10 000 steps/day or ≥30 min/day of moderate intensity physical activity (MPA) to reduce age-related CV risk. The impact of MPA on the vasculature of older adults remains unclear.


We randomized 114 sedentary older adults ages ≥50 to 12 weeks of either no intervention (group 1), a pedometer-only intervention (group 2), or a pedometer with an interactive website employing strategies to increase the adoption of habitual physical activity (PA, group 3). Endothelial function by brachial flow-mediated dilation (FMD%), vascular stiffness by tonometry, step-count by pedometer, and PA intensity/distribution by accelerometer were measured. Step-count increased in groups 2 (5136±1554 to 9596±3907, P<0.001) and 3 (5474±1512 to 8167±3111, P<0.001) but not in group 1 (4931±1667 to 5410±2410). Both groups 2 and 3 increased MPA ≥30 min/day. Only group 3 increased MPA in continuous bouts of ≥10 minutes (P<0.001) and improved FMD% (P=0.001). Neither achievement of ≥10 000 steps/day nor ≥30 min/day of MPA resulted in improved FMD%. However, achieving ≥20 min/day in MPA bouts resulted in improved FMD%. No changes in vascular stiffness were observed.


MPA reverses age-related endothelial dysfunction, but may require MPA to be performed in bouts of ≥10 minutes duration for ≥20 min/day to be effective. Commonly encouraged PA goals do not guarantee improved endothelial function and may not be as effective in reducing CV risk.


Posted in Endothelial Dysfunction, Exercise: Benefits | Leave a comment

Sideways walking: preferred is slow, slow is optimal, and optimal is expensive

Biol Lett. 2014 Jan 15;10(1):20131006. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2013.1006. Print 2014 Jan.

Handford ML1, Srinivasan M.

Author information

1Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, The Ohio State University, , Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


When humans wish to move sideways, they almost never walk sideways, except for a step or two; they usually turn and walk facing forward.

Here, we show that the experimental metabolic cost of walking sideways, per unit distance, is over three times that of forward walking.

We explain this high metabolic cost with a simple mathematical model; sideways walking is expensive because it involves repeated starting and stopping.

When walking sideways, our subjects preferred a low natural speed, averaging 0.575 m s(-1) (0.123 s.d.).

Even with no prior practice, this preferred sideways walking speed is close to the metabolically optimal speed, averaging 0.610 m s(-1) (0.064 s.d.).

Subjects were within 2.4% of their optimal metabolic cost per distance.

Thus, we argue that sideways walking is avoided because it is expensive and slow, and it is slow because the optimal speed is low, not because humans cannot move sideways fast.


Posted in Exercise: Walking, Sports Medicine | Leave a comment

Parkinson’s and walking: a new study

J Parkinsons Dis. 2013;3(4):609-19. doi: 10.3233/JPD-130217.

Walking economy during cued versus non-cued treadmill walking in persons with Parkinson’s disease.

Gallo PM1, McIsaac TL, Garber CE.

Author information

1Teacher’s College, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.



Gait impairment is common in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and may result in greater energy expenditure, poorer walking economy, and fatigue during activities of daily living. Auditory cueing is an effective technique to improve gait; but the effects on energy expenditure are unknown.


To determine whether energy expenditure differs in individuals with PD compared with healthy controls and if auditory cueing improves walking economy in PD.


Twenty participants (10 PD and 10 controls) came to the laboratory for three sessions. Participants performed two, 6-minute bouts of treadmill walking at two speeds (1.12 m·sec-1 and 0.67 m·sec-1). One session used cueing and the other without cueing. A metabolic cart measured energy expenditure and walking economy was calculated (energy expenditure/power).


PD had worse walking economy and higher energy expenditure than control participants during cued and non-cued walking at the 0.67 m·sec-1 speed and during non-cued walking at the 1.12 m·sec-1. With auditory cueing, energy expenditure and walking economy worsened in both participant groups.


People with PD use more energy and have worse walking economy than adults without PD. Walking economy declines further with auditory cuing in persons with PD.


Posted in Exercise: Walking, Parkinson's | Leave a comment

Falls by adults over 50: how much exercise is needed for prevention? New data.

Disabil Rehabil. 2014;36(2):117-24. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2013.782355. Epub 2013 Apr 17.

Role of physical activity in the occurrence of falls and fall-related injuries in community-dwelling adults over 50 years old.

Pereira CL1, Baptista F, Infante P.

Author information

1Department of Sports and Health, University of Évora , Évora , Portugal .



This study examined the effect of the type, level and amount of physical activity in falls and fall-related injuries.


Participants were 506 community-dwelling adults aged >50 years (390 women: 67.7 ± 6.8 years and 116 men: 69.6 ± 6.6 years). Falls, fall-related injuries (slight and severe), and physical activity (type, level and energy expenditure) were evaluated by questionnaires. Confounders included co-morbidities, fear of falling, environmental hazards and physical fitness.


After adjustment for confounders, logistic analysis revealed that the likelihood of falling decreased by 2% for each 100 metabolic expenditure (MET-min/week) of total physical activity and increased by 5% for each 100 MET-min/week of vigorous-intensity physical activity; total physical activity >1125 MET-min/week and vigorous physical activity <500 MET-min/week were identified as cut-off values discriminating non-fallers from fallers. Compared to the low physical activity level, increased physical activity levels diminished the likelihood of the occurrence of severe fall-related injuries by 76% (moderate) and 58% (high; p < 0.05) in fallers.


Being active, especially sufficiently active, reduces fall-related injuries by decreasing falls and by safeguarding against severe injuries when falls occur. At least 1125 MET-min/week of total physical activity including >500 MET-min/week of vigorous intensity seems to prevent falls and, therefore, fall-related injuries.


Posted in Elder Care: Falls, Exercise: Benefits | Leave a comment

Athletes have higher rates of violence and alcohol use: J Sci Med Sport

J Sci Med Sport. 2014 Jan;17(1):2-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2013.03.011. Epub 2013 Apr 18.

The association between sports participation, alcohol use and aggression and violence: a systematic review.

Sønderlund AL1, O’Brien K2, Kremer P3, Rowland B4, De Groot F4, Staiger P4, Zinkiewicz L4, Miller PG4.

Author information

1School of Psychology, Deakin University, Australia. Electronic address:

2School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, UK.

3School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Australia.

4School of Psychology, Deakin University, Australia.



To review the current research on alcohol-related violence and sports participation.


The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines were used to identify relevant studies for inclusion. A search of six databases (EBSCOhost) was conducted.


A total of 6890 studies was were identified in the initial search. Of these, 11 studies met the inclusion criteria. The majority of the studies were from the US (n=10) and focused on collegiate athletes (n=7), adolescents (n=3), professional/former professional athletes (n=1).


The reviewed research indicates higher rates of alcohol use and violence in athlete populations when compared against non-athlete populations. Masculinity, violent social identity and antisocial norms connected to certain sports stand out as potential factors that may impact the association between sport and violence in athlete populations.


Posted in Alcohol, Human Behavior: Violence | Leave a comment

Corporate fitness programs positively affect the bottom line: new data

J Occup Environ Med. 2014 Aug 21. [Epub ahead of print]

The Association of Self-Reported Employee Physical Activity With Metabolic Syndrome, Health Care Costs, Absenteeism, and Presenteeism.

Burton WN1, Chen CY, Li X, Schultz AB, Abrahamsson H.

Author information

1From the University of Illinois at Chicago (Dr Burton); American Express Company (Dr Burton), New York, NY; University of Michigan Health Management Research Center (Dr Chen, Li, and Schultz), Ann Arbor; and Akershus Universitetssykehus (Dr Abrahamsson), Sykehusveien, Loerenskog, Norway.



To examine employees’ self-reported physical activity and metabolic syndrome (MetS) risks and their association with health-related workplace outcomes.


Employees participated in a health risk appraisal in 2010. Generalized Linear Modeling was used to test the association between MetS risk factors, physical activity, and the outcome measures while controlling for confounders.


MetS was found in 30.2% of employees. Health care costs for employees with MetS who reported sufficient exercise (150 or more minutes/week) totaled $2770 compared with $3855 for nonsufficient exercisers. The percentage of employees with MetS who had absenteeism and presenteeism was also significantly lower for employees achieving sufficient physical activity. All risk factors for MetS were mitigated for regular exercisers.


Employers should consider programs and services to support regular aerobic exercise to address the growing prevalence and costs of MetS in the workforce.


Posted in Corporate Wellness, Workplace Issues | Leave a comment

For plantar fasciitis, high-load strength training may aid in a quicker reduction in pain and improvements in function

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2014 Aug 21. doi: 10.1111/sms.12313. [Epub ahead of print]

High-load strength training improves outcome in patients with plantar fasciitis: A randomized controlled trial with 12-month follow-up.

Rathleff MS1, Mølgaard CM, Fredberg U, Kaalund S, Andersen KB, Jensen TT, Aaskov S, Olesen JL.

Author information

1Orthopaedic Surgery Research Unit, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark.


The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of shoe inserts and plantar fascia-specific stretching vs shoe inserts and high-load strength training in patients with plantar fasciitis.

Forty-eight patients with ultrasonography-verified plantar fasciitis were randomized to shoe inserts and daily plantar-specific stretching (the stretch group) or shoe inserts and high-load progressive strength training (the strength group) performed every second day.

High-load strength training consisted of unilateral heel raises with a towel inserted under the toes.

Primary outcome was the foot function index (FFI) at 3 months.

Additional follow-ups were performed at 1, 6, and 12 months.

At the primary endpoint, at 3 months, the strength group had a FFI that was 29 points lower [95% confidence interval (CI): 6-52, P = 0.016] compared with the stretch group.

At 1, 6, and 12 months, there were no differences between groups (P > 0.34).

At 12 months, the FFI was 22 points (95% CI: 9-36) in the strength group and 16 points (95% CI: 0-32) in the stretch group.

There were no differences in any of the secondary outcomes.

A simple progressive exercise protocol, performed every second day, resulted in superior self-reported outcome after 3 months compared with plantar-specific stretching.

High-load strength training may aid in a quicker reduction in pain and improvements in function.


Posted in Plantar Fasciitis, Science Updates | Leave a comment

Kids’ headaches tied to sedentary behaviors in new study

Cephalalgia. 2014 Aug 22. pii: 0333102414547134. [Epub ahead of print]

Relationship of childhood headaches with preferences in leisure time activities, depression, anxiety and eating habits: A population-based, cross-sectional study.

Bektaş O1, Uğur C2, Gençtürk ZB3, Aysev A2, Sireli O2, Deda G4.

Author information

1Department of Pediatric Neurology, Ankara University Medical School, Turkey

2Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Ankara University Medical School, Turkey.

3Department of Statistics, Ankara University Medical School, Turkey.

4Department of Pediatric Neurology, Ankara University Medical School, Turkey.



The objective of this article is to determine the relationship between headache frequency and socio-demographic data, personal characteristics, habits, daily activities, daily loss of ability, depression and anxiety in the headache subtypes in the pediatric population.


Our sample group was composed of approximately 5355 children aged between 9 and 18 years. An eight-stage questionnaire was administered to the children. In the second stage of the study, headache subtypes were created according to the ICHD-II criteria. The resulting data were compared according to the results of the headache subtypes.


In school-age children, the prevalence of recurrent headaches was 39.4%, and the prevalence of migraine was 10.3%. The subjects with migraine mostly preferred sedentary activities in their leisure time, and preferred less exercise than the subjects with the other headache types. The PedMIDAS score of the children who preferred to play sports was significantly lower than those who did not prefer to play sports. In the group that preferred reading books, an opposite relationship was found. In overweight and obese migraine sufferers, other types of headache were found to be significantly higher.


In the management of treating childhood headaches, the association of psychiatric comorbidities should be considered. To minimize disability, children should be directed to more useful physical activities.


Posted in Exercise: Benefits, Headaches, Human Behavior: Sedentary, Pediatric Health | Leave a comment

Blueberries lower blood pressure: new evidence

Nutr Res. 2014 Jul;34(7):577-84. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2014.07.002. Epub 2014 Jul 8.

Six weeks daily ingestion of whole blueberry powder increases natural killer cell counts and reduces arterial stiffness in sedentary males and females.

McAnulty LS1, Collier SR2, Landram MJ2, Whittaker DS3, Isaacs SE4, Klemka JM4, Cheek SL4, Arms JC2, McAnulty SR2.

Author information

1Dept. of Nutrition and Health Care Management, Boone, NC, 28608. Electronic address:

2Dept. of Health and Exercise Science Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, 28608.

3Boone Dermatology, Clinic, Boone, NC, 28608.

4Dept. of Nutrition and Health Care Management, Boone, NC, 28608.


Evidence suggests that berries contain bioactive compounds, which reduce certain cancers and hypertension.

Our hypothesis was that daily blueberry (BB) consumption would increase natural killer (NK) cells and plasma redox capacity and reduce blood pressure, augmentation index (AIx), central pulse wave velocity, and aortic systolic pressures (ASPs).

Twenty-five men and postmenopausal women aged 18 to 50 years were recruited and randomized to BB (n, 13) or placebo groups (n, 12).

Participants were provided with BB (equivalent to 250 g berries) or placebo powders each day for 6 weeks.

Blood pressure, vascular performance testing, and blood samples were taken at baseline (presupplementation).

Participants returned after 6 weeks and repeated all procedures.

Presupplementation to postsupplementation comparisons for the main effects of treatment, time, and treatment-time interaction were made using a 2 (treatment) × 2 (times) repeated-measures analysis of variance for all vascular measures, redox status, and NK cell counts.

Anthropometric measures were compared using t tests.

Body mass, composition, and overall blood pressures were not affected in either group.

Overall, AIx and ASPs were decreased in BB (treatment effect, P = .024 and P = .046, respectively).

Plasma redox was not affected.

Absolute NK cells were increased in BB (time, P = .001 and interaction, P = .012).

Subjects (n, 9) with prehypertensive pressures (≥120/80 mm Hg, respectively) were examined as a subset using t tests and exhibited significant reductions in diastolic pressure (P = .038) from presupplementation to postsupplementation in BB.

We conclude that BB ingestion for 6 weeks increases NK cells and reduces AIx, ASP, and diastolic pressures in sedentary males and females.


More articles about blueberries

Posted in Hypertension, Nutrition is Medicine, Nutrition: Food: Blueberries | Leave a comment

Music-based exercise may prevent age-related physical decline in older adults

Calcif Tissue Int. 2014 Aug 23. [Epub ahead of print]

Long-Term Exercise in Older Adults: 4-Year Outcomes of Music-Based Multitask Training.

Hars M1, Herrmann FR, Fielding RA, Reid KF, Rizzoli R, Trombetti A.

Author information

1Division of Bone Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine Specialties, Geneva University Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine, Rue Gabrielle-Perret-Gentil 4, 1211, Geneva 14, Switzerland,


Prospective controlled evidence supporting the efficacy of long-term exercise to prevent physical decline and reduce falls in old age is lacking.

The present study aimed to assess the effects of long-term music-based multitask exercise (i.e., Jaques-Dalcroze eurhythmics) on physical function and fall risk in older adults.

A 3-year follow-up extension of a 1-year randomized controlled trial (NCT01107288) was conducted in Geneva (Switzerland), in which 134 community-dwellers aged ≥65 years at increased risk of falls received a 6-month music-based multitask exercise program.

Four years following original trial enrolment, 52 subjects (baseline mean ± SD age, 75 ± 8 years) who (i) have maintained exercise program participation through the 4-year follow-up visit (“long-term intervention group”, n = 23) or (ii) have discontinued participation following original trial completion (“control group”, n = 29) were studied.

They were reassessed in a blind fashion, using the same procedures as at baseline. At 4 years, linear mixed-effects models showed significant gait (gait speed, P = 0.006) and balance (one-legged stance time, P = 0.015) improvements in the long-term intervention group, compared with the control group.

Also, long-term intervention subjects did better on Timed Up & Go, Five-Times-Sit-to-Stand and handgrip strength tests, than controls (P < 0.05, for all comparisons).

Furthermore, the exercise program reduced the risk of falling (relative risk, 0.69; 95 % confidence interval, 0.5-0.9; P = 0.008).

These findings suggest that long-term maintenance of a music-based multitask exercise program is a promising strategy to prevent age-related physical decline in older adults.

They also highlight the efficacy of sustained long-term adherence to exercise for falls prevention.


Posted in Elder Care, Exercise: Benefits, Music, Music Therapy | Leave a comment