US gov’t to spend $31 million to “empower people to make healthy eating choices”

Richmond, VA, Sept. 29, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is making up to $31.5 million in funding available to help participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) more easily afford healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. Secretary Vilsack made the announcement with Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe in Richmond.

“Too many struggling families do not have adequate access to nutritious food,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Helping families purchase more fresh produce is clearly good for families’ health, helps contribute to lower health costs for the country, and increases local food sales for family farmers. Public-private partnerships with non-profit organizations and other community groups are already proving to have great success across the country. These resources will allow partnerships like these to help even more families.”

The Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program, a new Farm Bill program, brings together stakeholders from distinct parts of the food system and fosters understanding of how they might improve the nutrition and health status of SNAP households. Under FINI, applicants may propose relatively small pilot projects, multi-year community-based projects, or larger-scale multi-year projects. Funded projects will test community based strategies that could contribute to our understanding of how best to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants through incentives at the point of purchase, supported by effective and efficient benefit redemption technologies, that would inform future efforts.

NIFA will give priority to projects that:

Maximize the share of funds used for direct incentives to participants

Test innovative or promising strategies that would contribute to our understanding of how best to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants, which would inform future efforts

Develop innovative or improved benefit redemption systems that could be replicated or scaled

Use direct-to-consumer sales marketing

Demonstrate a track record of designing and implementing successful nutrition incentive programs that connect low-income consumers and agricultural producers

Provide locally- or regionally-produced fruits and vegetables, especially culturally-appropriate fruits and vegetables for the target audience

Are located in underserved communities, particularly Promise ZonesThis is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website. and StrikeForce communities.

All FINI projects must (1) have the support of a state SNAP agency; (2) increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by low-income consumers participating in SNAP by providing incentives at the point of purchase; (3) operate through authorized SNAP retailers, and be in compliance with all relevant SNAP regulations and operating requirements; (4) agree to participate in the FINI comprehensive program evaluation; (5) ensure that the same terms and conditions apply to purchases made by individuals receiving SNAP benefits as apply to purchases made by individuals who are not SNAP participants; and (6) include effective and efficient technologies for benefit redemption systems that may be replicated in other states and communities.

Applications are requested in each of the following three categories: (1) FINI pilot projects (awards not to exceed $100,000 over one year); (2) multi-year, community-based FINI projects (awards not to exceed $500,000 over no more than four years); and (3) multi-year, FINI large-scale projects (awards of $500,000 or more over no more than four years).

FINI is a joint effort between NIFA and USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, which oversees SNAP and has responsibility for evaluating the impacts of the incentive projects. This solicitation combines funds for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. There will not be a solicitation in fiscal year 2015. Applications are due Dec. 15, 2014. NIFA will host a webinar for applicants on Oct. 2 at 2 p.m., EDT.

Funding for the FINI program is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

SNAP – the nation’s first line of defense against hunger – helps put food on the table for millions of families experiencing hardship. The program has never been more critical to the fight against hunger. Nearly half of SNAP participants are children, and 42 percent of recipients live in households in which at least one adult is working but still cannot afford to put food on the table. SNAP benefits provided help to millions who lost their jobs during the Great Recession. For many, SNAP benefits provide temporary assistance, with the average new applicant remaining on the program 10 months.

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people’s daily lives and the nation’s future. More information is at www.nifa.usda.gov.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

Last Date Modified: 09/29/2014

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Could energy be harvested from the shoes of people who walk?

A shoe fits a device that saves the energy the person makes by walking and successfully uses it in watch batteries.

At the Center for Research in Advanced Materials (CIMAV), scientists decided to “capture” the energy produced by people walking. They designed a pill-shaped cylinder adapted to a shoe in order to store the mechanical-vibrational energy  the person generates when walking.

With the captured energy they have been able to recharge clock and triple A batteries. The prototype designed by CIMAV in Chihuahua, in the north of Mexico, adapted the pill which has a diameter of two inches and a thickness of three millimeters to the sole of a shoe.

Abel Macias Hurtado, head of research and specialist in materials science, said that the pill is a device called piezoelectric measuring pressure, force and acceleration, placed in the sole, and by means of a circuit converts mechanical energy into microwatts ; once connected to the batteries, it was tested with good results.

Piezoelectric is a term that comes from pressure and electricity. When walking, mechanical force is generated which is “captured or harvested” to generate the energy that is “stored” in the pill for further use.

The specialist indicates that in the area of ​​nanostructured materials an important base of the research is to harvest or produce clean energy, and this prototype is ideal for that purpose.

“We want to improve the circuit of the tablet to make it more efficient at capturing energy. Now we are working in making it more efficient, currently we already have clean energy,” says the researcher at CIMAV.

Hurtado Macias indicates that the prototype was implemented in an ordinary shoe with a wide sole; while walking people steps and makes contact with the ground. That’s where the energy is generated.

In this work engineering physics students of the Autonomous University of Chihuahua and Jesus Gonzalez collaborated for the evaluation of results.

Under the same premise, Hurtado Macias been proposed that although a pair of shoes can generate power for the operation of a battery, he considers to adapt a similar system on a “mat” and place it on the entry of a mass transport system like the subway. There it could generate energy capable of illuminating the public transport stations.

“Today, the energy generated by people walking is wasted; if we learn to harvest it and turn it into electricity, we can contribute to the global impact.

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New hamstring tester may keep more players on the field

Elite sporting stars can assess and reduce their risk of a hamstring injury thanks to a breakthrough made by QUT researchers.

The discovery could be worth a fortune to football codes, with hamstring strain injuries accounting for most non-contact injuries in Australian rules football, football and rugby union, as well as track events like sprinting.

Using an innovative field device, a research team led by Dr Anthony Shield, from QUT’s School – Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, and former QUT PhD student, Dr David Opar, now at the Australian Catholic University, measured the eccentric hamstring strengthof more than 200 AFL players from five professional clubs.

The in-demand device, the only portable ‘machine’ in the world capable of measuring strength during the Nordic hamstring curl, has attracted attention from some of the world’s biggest sporting teams, including French football giants Paris Saint-Germain and several top English Premier League sides, and National Football League teams in the United States.

The researchers found that higher levels of eccentric hamstring strength in pre-season could dramatically reduce a player’s chances of suffering a hamstring injury during the season.

The results have been e-published in leading sports medicine journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise and accepted for publication in an upcoming print edition.

“We showed, for the first time, that hamstring injury risk can be quantified by measuring an athlete’s hamstring strength when they’re performing the Nordic hamstring curl exercise,” Dr Shield said.

“The greater the athlete’s hamstring strength, the less likely they were to injure their hamstring, with the probability of a hamstring strain injury dropping to less than 10 per cent in the strongest athletes.

“Improving hamstring strength by 10 Newtons decreased the risk of hamstring injury by approximately 9 per cent. This is a significant benefit and it is likely that players new to the exercise could improve hamstring strength by 30 Newtons in a month.

“This means it’s possible to effectively counter the additional risk conferred by having a prior hamstring injury by improving the eccentric hamstring strength through exercises such as the Nordic curl.

“This is particularly important for athletes who are already at an increased risk of injury due to their age or because they have sustained a hamstring injury in the previous season.”

Dr Shield said players considered to have weak hamstring in early pre-season testing were 2.7 times more at risk of a hamstring injury than stronger players.

The trial, which included players from five professional AFL clubs, is part of proof-of-concept study funded by QUT’s innovation and knowledge transfer company qutbluebox (bluebox) to develop the patented device for the market.

Major sports clubs in Australia are already using prototypes of the device and the research team is also in the early stages of trials with rugby union, NRL, cricket and A-League clubs. Hockey Australia will also begin a trial shortly.

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Sleep apnea threatening public health, could be deadly

DARIEN, IL – Public health and safety are threatened by the increasing prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea, which now afflicts at least 25 million adults in the U.S., according to the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project. Several new studies highlight the destructive nature of obstructive sleep apnea, a chronic disease that increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke and depression.

“Obstructive sleep apnea is destroying the health of millions of Americans, and the problem has only gotten worse over the last two decades,” said American Academy of Sleep Medicine President Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler, a national spokesperson for the Healthy Sleep Project. “The effective treatment of sleep apnea is one of the keys to success as our nation attempts to reduce health care spending and improve chronic disease management.”

Data previously published in the American Journal of Epidemiology show that the estimated prevalence rates of obstructive sleep apnea have increased substantially over the last two decades, most likely due to the obesity epidemic. It is now estimated that 26 percent of adults between the ages of 30 and 70 years have sleep apnea.

Findings from new studies emphasize the negative effects of sleep apnea on brain and heart health; however, these health risks can be reduced through the effective treatment of sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure therapy:

  • A neuroimaging study in the September issue of the journal Sleep found that participants with severe, untreated sleep apnea had a significant reduction in white matter fiber integrity in multiple brain areas, which was accompanied by impairments to cognition, mood and daytime alertness. One year of CPAP therapy led to an almost complete reversal of this brain damage.
  • A study published online ahead of print Sept. 21 in the journal NeuroImage found functional and anatomical changes in brainstem regions of people with sleep apnea.
  • A study in the October issue of Anesthesiology shows that diagnosing sleep apnea and prescribing CPAP therapy prior to surgery significantly reduced postoperative cardiovascular complications – specifically cardiac arrest and shock – by more than half.
  • A study published online ahead of print Sept. 19 in the Journal of Hypertension found a favorable reduction of blood pressure with CPAP treatment in patients with resistant hypertension and sleep apnea.
  • A Brazilian population study published online ahead of print Sept. 23 found that nocturnal cardiac arrhythmias occurred in 92 percent of patients with severe sleep apnea, compared with 53 percent of people without sleep apnea. The prevalence of rhythm disturbance also increased with sleep apnea severity.

Common warning signs for sleep apnea include snoring and choking, gasping, or silent breathing pauses during sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sleep Research Society and other partners in the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project urge anyone with signs or symptoms of sleep apnea to visit http://www.stopsnoringpledge.org to pledge to “Stop the Snore” and talk to a doctor about sleep apnea.

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References

Peppard PE, Young T, Barnet JH, et al. Increased prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing in adults. Am J Epidemiol 2013 May 1;177(9):1006-14. Epub 2013 Apr 14.

Castronovo V, Scifo P, Castellano A, et al. White matter integrity in obstructive sleep apnea before and after treatment. SLEEP 2014;37(9):1465-1475.

Lundblad LC, Fatouleh RH, Hammam E, et al. Brainstem changes associated with increased muscle sympathetic drive in obstructive sleep apnea. Neuroimage 2014 Sep 21 [Epub ahead of print].

Mutter TC, Chateau D, Moffatt M, et al. A matched cohort study of postoperative outcomes in obstructive sleep apnea: could preoperative diagnosis and treatment prevent complications? Anesthesiology. 2014 Oct;121(4):707-18.

Iftikhar IH, Valentine CW, Bittencourt LR, et al. Effects of continuous positive airway pressure on blood pressure in patients with resistant hypertension and obstructive sleep apnea: a meta-analysis. J Hypertens 2014 Sep 19 [Epub ahead of print].

Cintra FD, Leite RP, Storti LJ, et al. Sleep Apnea and Nocturnal Cardiac Arrhythmia: A Populational Study. Arq Bras Cardiol 2014 Sep 23 [Epub ahead of print].

About the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project

The Healthy Sleep Project addresses the sleep health focus area of Healthy People 2020, which provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. The sleep health objectives are to increase the medical evaluation of people with symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, reduce vehicular crashes due to drowsy driving and ensure more Americans get sufficient sleep. For more information, visit http://www.projecthealthysleep.org

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Sorry, the statute of limitations on assault is 219 million years

Tooth serves as evidence of 220 million-year-old attack

A tooth challenges beliefs about how ancient reptiles lived

At the beginning of the age of dinosaurs, gigantic reptiles—distant relatives of modern crocodiles—ruled the earth. Some lived on land and others in water and it was thought they didn’t much interact. But a tooth found by a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, researcher in the thigh of one of these ancient animals is challenging this belief.

Stephanie Drumheller, an earth and planetary sciences lecturer, and her Virginia Tech colleagues Michelle Stocker and Sterling Nesbitt examined 220-million-year-old bite marks in the thigh bones of an old reptile and found evidence that two predators at the top of their respective food chains interacted—with the smaller potentially having eaten the larger animal.

The evidence? A tooth of a semi-aquatic phytosaur lodged in the thigh bone of a terrestrial rauisuchid. The tooth lay broken off and buried about two inches deep in bone and then healed over, indicating that the rauisuchid, a creature about 25 feet long and 4 feet high at the hip, survived the initial attack.

“To find a phytosaur tooth in the bone of a rauisuchid is very surprising. These rauisuchids were the largest predators in their environments. You might expect them to be the top predators as well, but here we have evidence of phytosaurs, who were smaller, semi-aquatic animals, potentially targeting and eating these big carnivores,” said Drumheller.

To study the tooth without destroying the bone, the team partnered computed tomographic (CT) data with a 3D printer and printed copies of the tooth. This, along with an examination of the bite marks, revealed a story of multiple struggles. The team found tissue surrounding bite marks illustrating that the rauisuchid was attacked twice and survived. Evidence of crushing, impact and flesh-stripping but no healing showed the team that the animal later died in another attack.

The tooth that was left behind revealed who was guilty of the attacks.

“Finding teeth embedded directly in fossil bone is very, very rare,” said Drumheller of the bone obtained from the University of California Museum of Paleontology in Berkeley. “This is the first time it’s been identified among phytosaurs, and it gives us a smoking gun for interpreting this set of bite marks.”

The findings also suggest previous distinctions between water- and land-based food chains of this time, the Late Triassic Period, might be built upon mistaken assumptions made from fossil remains.

“This research will call for us to go back and look at some of the assumptions we’ve had in regard to the Late Triassic ecosystems,” Stocker said. “The aquatic and terrestrial distinctions made were oversimplified, and I think we’ve made a case that the two spheres were intimately connected.”

The research also calls into question the importance of size in a fight.

“Both of the femora we examined came from some of the physically largest carnivorous species present at both locations. Yet they were targeted by other members of the region—specifically phytosaurs,” said Drumheller. “Thus, size cannot be the only factor in determining who is at the top of the food chain.”
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The research is published online in the German scientific journal Naturwissenschaften, The Science of Nature.

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Walking is a biological imperative like eating

(Reuters) – Walking may never become as trendy as CrossFit, as sexy as mud runs or as ego-boosting as Ironman races but for fitness experts who stress daily movement over workouts and an active lifestyle over weekends of warrior games, walking is a super star.

For author and scientist Katy Bowman, walking is a biological imperative like eating. In her book, “Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement,” she suggests there are movement nutrients, just like dietary nutrients, that the body needs.

“Walking is a superfood. It’s the defining movement of a human,” said Bowman, a biomechanist based in Ventura, California.

“It’s a lot easier to get movement than it is to get exercise.”

Researchers say emerging evidence suggests that combined physical activity and inactivity may be more important for chronic disease risk than physical activity alone.

“Actively sedentary is a new category of people who are fit for one hour but sitting around the rest of the day,” Bowman said. “You can’t offset 10 hours of stillness with one hour of exercise.”

Last year researchers at the University of Texas School of Public Health asked 218 marathoners and half marathoners to report their training and sitting times.

Median training time was 6.5 hours per week.

Median total sitting time was eight to 10.75 hours per day, suggesting that recreational distance runners are simultaneously highly sedentary and highly active.

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How to Raise Boys Not to Be Total Jerks

 

This story originally appeared on xoJane.com.

At some level, I’ve known since before my oldest son was born that this moment would come. But when it did, it took me utterly and completely off guard. I was driving a car chock-full of boys home from a soccer tournament when my nine-year-old son piped up from the back.

“Hey Mom! I’ve got a funny joke. I’ll ask you a question and you say, ‘Ketchup and rubber buns’.”

“I’ve heard this one,” chuckled my 12-year-old son.

Snickers all around from the soccer players.

Apparently, I was the only one who didn’t know what was coming next.

My son: “What did you have for breakfast?”

Me: “Oatmeal and ketchup and rubber buns.”

My son: “No! Mom! Just say ketchup and rubber buns. Try again. What did you have for breakfast?”

Me: “Ketchup and rubber buns.”

“What did you have for lunch?” “What did you have for dinner?” Etc. etc. And then we got to the punchline:

My son: “What do you do when you see a hot chick? You CATCH UP and RUB HER BUNS!”

Peals of laughter from the boys.

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Alzheimer’s patients can still feel the emotion long after the memories have vanished

A new University of Iowa study further supports an inescapable message: caregivers have a profound influence—good or bad—on the emotional state of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Patients may not remember a recent visit by a loved one or having been neglected by staff at a nursing home, but those actions can have a lasting impact on how they feel.

The findings of this study are published in the September 2014 issue of the journal Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, and can be viewed online for free here.

UI researchers showed individuals with Alzheimer’s disease clips of sad and happy movies. The patients experienced sustained states of sadness and happiness despite not being able to remember the movies.

“This confirms that the emotional life of an Alzheimer’s patient is alive and well,” says lead author Edmarie Guzmán-Vélez, a doctoral student in clinical psychology, a Dean’s Graduate Research Fellow, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.

Guzmán-Vélez conducted the study with Daniel Tranel, UI professor of neurology and psychology, and Justin Feinstein, assistant professor at the University of Tulsa and the Laureate Institute for Brain Research.

Tranel and Feinstein published a paper in 2010 that predicted the importance of attending to the emotional needs of people with Alzheimer’s, which is expected to affect as many as 16 million people in the United States by 2050 and cost an estimated $1.2 trillion.

“It’s extremely important to see data that support our previous prediction,” Tranel says. “Edmarie’s research has immediate implications for how we treat patients and how we teach caregivers.”

Despite the considerable amount of research aimed at finding new treatments for Alzheimer’s, no drug has succeeded at either preventing or substantially influencing the disease’s progression. Against this foreboding backdrop, the results of this study highlight the need to develop new caregiving techniques aimed at improving the well-being and minimizing the suffering for the millions of individuals afflicted with Alzheimer’s.

For this behavioral study, Guzmán-Vélez and her colleagues invited 17 patients with Alzheimer’s disease and 17 healthy comparison participants to view 20 minutes of sad and then happy movies. These movie clips triggered the expected emotion: sorrow and tears during the sad films and laughter during the happy ones.

About five minutes after watching the movies, the researchers gave participants a memory test to see if they could recall what they had just seen. As expected, the patients with Alzheimer’s disease retained significantly less information about both the sad and happy films than the healthy people. In fact, four patients were unable to recall any factual information about the films, and one patient didn’t even remember watching any movies.

Before and after seeing the films, participants answered questions to gauge their feelings. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease reported elevated levels of either sadness or happiness for up to 30 minutes after viewing the films despite having little or no recollection of the movies.

Quite strikingly, the less the patients remembered about the films, the longer their sadness lasted. While sadness tended to last a little longer than happiness, both emotions far outlasted the memory of the films.

The fact that forgotten events can continue to exert a profound influence on a patient’s emotional life highlights the need for caregivers to avoid causing negative feelings and to try to induce positive feelings.

“Our findings should empower caregivers by showing them that their actions toward patients really do matter,” Guzmán-Vélez says. “Frequent visits and social interactions, exercise, music, dance, jokes, and serving patients their favorite foods are all simple things that can have a lasting emotional impact on a patient’s quality of life and subjective well-being.”

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The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (grant number: P01 NS19632), a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship awarded to Guzmán-Vélez, Kiwanis International, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, an American Psychological Association of Graduate Students Basic Psychological Research Grant, and the William K. Warren Foundation.

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Infant cooing, babbling linked to hearing ability, MU researcher finds

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Infants’ vocalizations throughout the first year follow a set of predictable steps from crying and cooing to forming syllables and first words. However, previous research had not addressed how the amount of vocalizations may differ between hearing and deaf infants. Now, University of Missouri research shows that infant vocalizations are primarily motivated by infants’ ability to hear their own babbling. Additionally, infants with profound hearing loss who received cochlear implants to help correct their hearing soon reached the vocalization levels of their hearing peers, putting them on track for language development.

“Hearing is a critical aspect of infants’ motivation to make early sounds,” said Mary Fagan, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders in the MU School of Health Professions. “This study shows babies are interested in speech-like sounds and that they increase their babbling when they can hear.”

Fagan studied the vocalizations of 27 hearing infants and 16 infants with profound hearing loss who were candidates for cochlear implants, which are small electronic devices embedded into the bone behind the ear that replace some functions of the damaged inner ear. She found that infants with profound hearing loss vocalized significantly less than hearing infants. However, when the infants with profound hearing loss received cochlear implants, the infants’ vocalizations increased to the same levels as their hearing peers within four months of receiving the implants.

“After the infants received their cochlear implants, the significant difference in overall vocalization quantity was no longer evident,” Fagan said. “These findings support the importance of early hearing screenings and early cochlear implantation.”

Fagan found that non-speech-like sounds such as crying, laughing and raspberry sounds, were not affected by infants’ hearing ability. She says this finding highlights babies are more interested in speech-like sounds since they increase their production of those sounds such as babbling when they can hear.

“Babies learn so much through sound in the first year of their lives,” Fagan said. “We know learning from others is important to infants’ development, but hearing allows infants to explore their own vocalizations and learn through their own capacity to produce sounds.”

In future research, Fagan hopes to study whether infants explore the sounds of objects such as musical toys to the same degree they explore vocalization.

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Working long hours linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes

People working for more than 55 hours per week doing manual work or other low socioeconomic status jobs have a 30% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to the largest study in this field so far, published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Mika Kivimäki, Professor of Epidemiology at University College London, UK, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies and unpublished individual-level data examining the effects of long working hours on type 2 diabetes up to 30 April 2014.

Analysis of data from 4 published studies and 19 studies with unpublished data involving 222 120 men and women from the USA, Europe, Japan, and Australia who were followed for an average of 7.6 years, found a similar risk of developing type 2 diabetes in people working more than 55 hours a week compared to those putting in a normal 35 to 40 hour week. However, the researchers noted significant differences when the results were looked at more closely.

Further analyses revealed that individuals doing low socioeconomic status jobs who worked 55 hours or more per week had a roughly 30% increased risk of developing diabetes compared to their counterparts who worked between 35 and 40 hours a week, even after taking into account health behaviours such as smoking and physical activity, and other risk factors including age, sex, and obesity. This association remained strong even after excluding shift work, which has been shown to increase the risk of obesity and developing type 2 diabetes.

The researchers say that further research is needed to identify the underlying mechanisms for the association between long working hours and diabetes in people doing low socioeconomic status jobs, but suggest a number of possible explanations, including working disruptive schedules that leave little time to take part in health restoring behaviours such as sleeping, unwinding, and exercise.

According to Professor Kivimäki, “The pooling of all available studies on this topic allowed us to investigate the association between working hours and diabetes risk with greater precision than has been previously possible. Although working long hours is unlikely to increase diabetes risk in everyone, health professionals should be aware that it is associated with a significantly increased risk in people doing low socioeconomic status jobs.”*

In a linked Comment, Dr Orfeu Buxton from Pennsylvania State University, PA, USA and Dr Cassandra Okechukwu from Harvard School of Public Health, MA, USA write that, “Kivimäki and colleagues’ elegantly designed study provides a solid foundation for both epidemiological and intervention work on diabetes risks. The results remained robust even after controlling for obesity and physical activity, which are often the focus of diabetes risk prevention, suggesting that work factors affecting health behaviours and stress may need to be addressed as part of diabetes prevention.”

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Severe periodontitis: Sixth most prevalent health condition in the world

Alexandria, Va., USA – The International and American Associations for Dental Research (IADR/AADR) have published a paper titled “Global Burden of Periodontitis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Regression.” The manuscript, by lead researcher Wagner Marcenes (Queen Mary University of London, Institute of Dentistry, Barts and The London School) is published in the OnlineFirst portion of the IADR/AADR Journal of Dental Research (JDR).

The purpose of this study was to consolidate all epidemiological data about severe periodontitis and subsequently to generate internally consistent prevalence and incidence estimates for all countries, 20 age groups, and both sexes for 1990 and 2010. From the systematic search, a total of 72 qualifying studies involving 291,170 individuals aged 15 years or older from 37 countries were included in the meta-regression using modeling resources of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2010 Study.

In 2010, severe periodontitis was the sixth most prevalent condition in the world affecting 743 million people worldwide. Between 1990 and 2010, the global age-standardized prevalence of severe periodontitis was static at 11.2%. The age-standardized incidence of severe periodontitis in 2010 was 701 cases per 100,000 person-years, a non-significant increase from the 1990 incidence of severe periodontitis. Prevalence increased gradually with age showing a steep increase between the third and fourth decades of life that was driven by a peak in incidence at around 38 years of age. There were considerable variations in prevalence and incidence between regions and countries.

These findings underscore the enormous public health challenge posed by severe periodontitis and are a microcosm of the epidemiologic transition to non-communicable diseases occurring in many countries. “The results of this first global assessment of periodontal diseases underscore the healthcare burden of this prevalent oral disease on a major portion of the world’s population,” said Editor-in-Chief of the Journal William Giannobile.

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Children with autism are more sedentary than their peers, new OSU study shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new Oregon State University study of children with autism found that they are more sedentary than their typically-developing peers, averaging 50 minutes less a day of moderate physical activity and 70 minutes more each day sitting.

The small study of 29 children, some with autism and some without, showed that children with autism perform as well as their typical peers on fitness assessments such as body mass index, aerobic fitness levels and flexibility. The results warrant expanding the study to a larger group of children, said Megan MacDonald, an assistant professor in OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

“These kids, compared to their peers, are similarly fit,” MacDonald said. “That’s really exciting, because it means those underlying fitness abilities are there.”

The findings were published this month in the journal “Autism Research and Treatment.” Co-authors are Kiley Tyler, a doctoral student at OSU, and Kristi Menear of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The study was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education with additional support from OSU.

For the study, researchers tested the fitness and physical activity levels of 17 children with autism and 12 children without autism. The fitness assessments, conducted in the Movement Studies in Disability Lab at OSU, included a 20-meter, multi-stage shuttle run to measure aerobic fitness; a sit-and-reach test to measure flexibility and a strength test to measure handgrip strength; as well as height, weight and body mass index measurements.

The fitness tests were selected in part because they are commonly used in schools, MacDonald said. Children in the study also wore accelerometers for a week to measure their movement, and parents filled out supplemental forms to report other important information.

Even though they were more sedentary, the children with autism lagged behind their peers on only one fitness measure, the strength test. The results were surprising but also encouraging because they show that children with autism are essentially on par with their peers when it comes to physical fitness activities, MacDonald said.

“That’s really important for parents and teachers to understand, because it opens the door for them to participate in so many activities,” she said.

More research is needed to determine why children with autism tend to be more sedentary, MacDonald said. It may be that children with autism have fewer opportunities to participate in organized sports or physical education activities, but if that is the case, it needs to change, she said.

“They can do it. Those abilities are there,” she said. “We need to work with them to give them opportunities.”

MacDonald encourages parents to make physical activity such as a daily walk or trip to the park part of the family’s routine. She’s also an advocate for adaptive physical education programs, which are school-based programs designed around a child’s abilities and needs. Some communities also offer physical fitness programs such as soccer clubs that are inclusive for children with autism or other disabilities, she said.

“Physical fitness and physical activity are so important for living a healthy life, and we learn those behaviors as children,” MacDonald said. “Anything we can do to help encourage children with autism to be more active is beneficial.”

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14 ways to be a happier person

@goodhealth

Sometime this morning, during your shower or at breakfast, you probably did a mental run-through of your day.

You decided when you’d tackle various tasks and errands.

Perhaps you vowed to hit the gym at lunchtime.

Maybe you even plotted to get out of something.

The one thing you forgot to plan for: happiness.

With all the books on bliss and the mood-boosting technology that does everything for us but laugh, we expect happiness to show up on our doorstep, like a pizza. But we have to make it happen.

“When you’re young, other people orchestrate your enjoyment of life,” notes Barbara Fredrickson, PhD, a social psychologist, director of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of Positivity.

“Your parents keep you entertained, and in college your friends make sure you’re OK. But after that, the scaffolding of having a good day is taken away, and nobody is telling you how to provide that for yourself.”

Also tricky: keeping the glee going when you have work to do, kids to raise, bills to pay and more work to do.

Mercifully, big, costly, splashy events are not the ultimate bliss bringers. As people get older, they tend to find ordinary treats—such as a latte or a manicure—just as joy-inducing as extraordinary ones …

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Posted in Human Behavior: Happiness | Leave a comment