Jogging Keeps Our Bodies Young

November 21, 2014 7:51 am 1 comment

images-1Jogging, as contrasted with walking, really does keep us young.  That’s the verdict from researchers at Humboldt State University, where a recent study found that people who run at least 30 minutes, three times a week were less likely to experience age-related physical decline in walking efficiency than those who simply walked. Humboldt State Now reports that researchers looked at self-reported older joggers over the age of 65—those who ran at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week—and self-reported walkers, those who walked three times a week for 30 minutes. To learn exactly how much younger the joggers’ bodies were, the researchers put them on a treadmill and had them walk at three speeds (1.6, 2.8 and 3.9 miles per hour) as they measured their oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production. The envelope please…Overall, older joggers were 7-10 percent more efficient at walking than older adults who just walked for exercise. Wait, there’s more: their metabolic cost was similar to young people in their 20s.

Want Help? Wear High Heels. Want More Help? Wear Higher Heels

November 20, 2014 8:09 am 0 comments

Can the style of shoes worn by women influence the behavior of men? The French think so. Science Dailyimages reports on research conducted at the Université de Bretagne-Sud, where study author Nicolas Guéguen set up experiments in which he watched what happened when a woman in flat shoes asked people to complete a survey, and whether or not they complied more readily when she was wearing high heels. He also tested whether or not people’s spontaneous urge to help changed when the same woman — again wearing shoes with different heel sizes — dropped a glove. The answers are unsurprising. Guéguen found that men’s helpfulness increased along with the height of the heels a woman was wearing. Also unsurprising, heel height had no influence on other women’s willingness to help. “Women’s shoe heel size exerts a powerful effect on men’s behavior,” summarizes Guéguen, who, Science Daily reports, believes that more research must be done to examine whether this effect depends on a woman’s shoe heel size and on any change of gait due to wearing high heels. Over to you.

For Some, Soy Cools Hot Flashes

November 19, 2014 9:28 am 0 comments

imgresThe good news is that eating a soy-based diet can reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes. The less good news is that the soy diet only works for women whose bodies naturally produce equol, which is metabolized from the soy isoflavone diazden by bacteria in the gut. What’s the likelihood of that? Well, in a recent study involving 357 women, 34 percent were equol producers. Science Daily reports that among the equol producers, those who had the most soy in their diet were 76 percent less likely to have a higher than average number of hot flashes and night sweats than those who had the least soy in their diet. But for the women who did not produce equol, soy made no difference. How to find out if you’re an equol producer? It’s not easy. Science Daily writes that “measuring equol in urine is a test that’s only done in research centers, so it’s not realistic for women who are not participating in studies to be tested.” Of course, women could simply start eating more soy and see what happens.

Walnuts Slow Prostate Cancer

November 18, 2014 10:29 am 0 comments

Yes, it appears to be true: walnuts slow the growth of prostate cancer, at least in mice. A UC Davis news releaseimgres reports that researchers at the school had found, in a previous study, that walnuts reduced prostate tumor size in mice, but the researchers weren’t sure which parts of the nuts generated these benefits. This time around, the researchers used a mixture of fats with virtually the same fatty acid content as walnuts as their control diet. Mice were fed whole walnuts, walnut oil or the walnut-like fat for 18 weeks. The envelope please…the researchers found that while the walnuts and walnut oil reduced cholesterol and slowed prostate cancer growth, the walnut-like fat did not, confirming that other nut components caused the improvements – not the omega-3s. The researchers note that while the study doesn’t pinpoint which combination of compounds in walnuts slows cancer growth, it did rule out fiber, zinc, magnesium and selenium. What it did show is that walnuts modulate several mechanisms associated with cancer growth.

Why Men Don’t Ask For Directions. It’s About Sex

November 17, 2014 9:58 am 1 comment

travel3-130x97Ever wonder why men don’t ask for directions? According to researchers at the University of Utah, it’s about sex, maybe. A U of Utah news release reports that researchers at the school who studied two African tribes found that men evolved better navigation ability than women because men with better spatial skills  can roam farther and have children with more mates. The researchers believe that the two tribes they chose to study, the Twe and Tjimba, were good subjects because they travel over distances of 120 miles during a year, “navigating on foot in a wide-open natural environment like many of our ancestors.” The tribes also have a comparatively open sexual culture, with many men having children by women other than their wives. So how, exactly, does mating pressure favor navigation skills? “Navigation ability facilitates traveling longer distances and exploring new environments,” says Elizabeth Cashdan, the study’s senior author. “And the farther you travel, the more likely you are to encounter new mating opportunities.”

Cleanliness Could Really Be Next To Godliness, Or At Least More Ethical Behavior

November 14, 2014 8:03 am 0 comments

Yikes! What if cleanliness really were next to godliness? It’s possible. In fact, researchers at Rice University think it’s probable, if godliness is related to ethical behavior. Science Dailyimages reports that researchers at the school who have been studying the influence of disgust on behavior have found that people who are disgusted tend to become hyper-protective, so much so that they will lie or cheat to get out of a disgusting situation. Conversely, the researchers found, when study subjects contemplated cleanliness–they were asked to evaluate cleaning products, such as disinfectants, household cleaners and body washes– they did not engage in deceptive behaviors any more than usual, whatever that is. Why do we care? The researchers suggest that the findings could be applied to the workplace, where a cleaner environment could foster less self-interest and more cooperative behavior. Please pass the soap.

Vitamin B For Memory? Forget About It

November 13, 2014 8:05 am 0 comments

No, there is nimageso evidence that vitamin B12 or folic acid supplements can improve our memory. That’s the verdict of researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, where scientists measured the memory and thinking skills of nearly 3,000 people, average age 74. HealthDay reports that half of the study group took 500 micrograms of vitamin B12 and 400 mcg of folic acid every day for two years. The other half took a placebo. All of the participants had high levels of an amino acid called homocysteine, which has been linked to memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. The envelope please….After two years, tests of memory and thinking skills showed that those taking the vitamin B12-folic acid supplements did have larger decreases in homocysteine levels than those taking the placebo, but despite that decrease, there was no difference between the two groups on the thinking and memory tests. No, there is no evidence that vitamin B12 for folic acid supplements can improve our memory. Oops, already said that.

Exploring Why Some Lose Weight With Exercise And Others Don’t

November 12, 2014 8:18 am 1 comment

It’s true. Some people lose weight when they exercise and others don’t. In fact, according to this piece by Gretchen Reynolds in the New York Timesimages, many people gain weight when they exercise, and no, it’s not muscle weight. It’s fat. Reynolds reports on efforts by researchers at Arizona State University in Phoenix to find out why some lose and some gain. The scientists recruited 81 women, all somewhat overweight, and had them walk on treadmills three times per week for 30 minutes at about 80 percent of their maximum endurance. After 12 weeks, all of the women were fitter, but many were fatter. In fact, 70 percent had gained weight, and some had gained as much as ten pounds–in fat. A few women had lost weight, and some, naturally, weighed the same as when they started. So why did some women gain weight and other lose weight? As Reynolds puts it, “the scientists found no connection between any of the original parameters of health and fitness and the women’s responses to the exercise program.” What they did find was that women who lost weight after four weeks continued to lose weight throughout the 12-week program. What’s the takeaway for people who want to lose weight? If you are one of those people for whom exercise works, good for you. If not, think about dieting.

Ski Season Is Just Around The Corner. Are You Ready?

November 11, 2014 8:19 am 0 comments

It’s true that many midwesterners are less than thrilled with this week’s blast of winter weather, but skiers elsewhere are getting psyched. But wait, there’s something else: getting in shape. A quick review of the forest of websites offering get-into-ski-shape advice reveals general agreement on the benefits of two exercises: squats and lunges. The rest, my friends, is chatter. Livestrong.com describes squats as “the cornerstone” of your skiing workout,” and recommends that you compound the gain (and pain) by doing them with dumbells in your hands or a barbell across your shoulders. Maybe. Lunges, Livestrong points out, are particularly useful because they build strength while improving balance, which, we recall, keeps up upright all the way down the mountain. How to do lunges properly? Take a large step forward and bend your legs until your rear knee hits the floor. Push back up abd repeat, using your opposite leg. As with squats, the gain (and pain) can be amplified by holding dumbells or barbells. Your choice. For more detailed, day-by-day-of-the-week advice, read this. Or watch the video below.

Cooking Time Translates To Healthy Eating

November 10, 2014 8:14 am 0 comments

Wait, is this news? People who spend limgresess than an hour a day are more likely to eat fast food. That may be obvious, but the main findings of a report by researchers at the Center for Diet and Activity Research at the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine in England really are food for thought: people who spend more time cooking meals are more likely to eat a healthy diet. Science Daily reports on the study, which found that spending more time at home preparing meals is associated with several indicators of a better diet, such as eating more fruits and vegetables. The findings are based on responses from 1,319 people in the Seattle Obesity Study, who answered questions about how many hours a day they averaged preparing and cooking food and cleaning up after meals. The numbers please….. About 16 percent of participants said they spent less than one hour a day on meal preparation. About 43 percent reported spending between one and two hours per day on meal preparation, while 41 percent said they spent more than two hours a day on it.

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