Ask Your Dentist About Your Prostate

May 28, 2015 7:59 am 0 comments

Men who are having trouble peeing may want to consult their dentist. That’s right: dentist. Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and the Departments of Urology and Pathology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center are convinced that prostatitis–inflammation of the prostate–is linked to gum disease. A Case Western news releaseimages reports that the researchers studied 27 men, all of whom had a needle biopsy within the past year that confirmed inflammation of the prostate gland, and a blood test that showed elevated prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels—possible signs of inflammation and cancer. All the men had moderate to severe gum disease, and all were treated for that, then tested again for periodontal disease four to eight weeks later and showed significant improvement. Here’s the interesting part: During the periodontal care, the men received no treatment for their prostate conditions. But even without prostate treatment, 21 of the 27 men showed decreased levels of PSA. Those with the highest levels of inflammation benefited the most from the periodontal treatment.

Which State Spends the Most Time Working Out?

May 27, 2015 8:03 am 0 comments

images-1You live where? Florida? Yikes! That puts you in the bottom half of pack, when judged on time spent exercising per week. According to the Wall Street Journal’s state by state chart, compiled with 2014 data from the workout app MapMyFitness, Florida is number 32 on the state list, with an average workout of 62.3 minutes. For the record, about 43 percent of that time is spent running, 38 percent walking, and 18 percent cycling. That’s a long way from number one California, with an averate of 87.4 minutes, with 41 percent running, 40 percent walking, and 14 percent cycling. The Journal reports that the national average is 73.2 minutes of exercise a week, less than half the 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When it comes to running, Massachusetts takes with the title, with 37.5 minutes a week. See the big picture here.

For Allergies, Try Probiotics

May 26, 2015 8:05 am 0 comments

imgresProbiotics, live microorganisms much touted for their health benefits, could help alleviate the symptoms of allergies, if researchers at Vanderbilt University are right about their assumptions. The researchers, who reviewed 23 previously published studies on probiotics and allergy symptoms, came away persuaded that there was a “statistically significant improvement in both the rhinitis-specific quality of life of those patients and in their nasal specific quality of life,” which means yes, probiotics seem to do the trick. A Vanderbilt news release reports that of the 23 studies that were reviewed, 17 showed that probiotics were linked to improvement in at least one facet of a patient’s health — either rhinitis-specific quality of life or in symptoms. Probiotics are found in many foods, such as yogurt, and can also be taken as a supplement.

Coffee Perks Men Up, In More Ways Than One

May 22, 2015 7:24 am 0 comments

coffeeOK, it takes a bit more than coffee for anything interesting to happen, but coffee does appear to help stave off erectile dysfunction, according to researchers at the University of Texas School of Public Health. Note use of the word “appear.” That’s because, while the research shows that men who consume more caffeine each day had a lower risk of erectile dysfunction, the scientists stop short of claiming any cause-and-effect relationship. HealthDay reports that the researchers studied data from more than 3,700 men, focusing on their caffeine consumption, and their self-reported (seriously) incidences of erectile dysfunction. The envelope please….The researchers found that compared to men who consumed zero to 7 milligrams of caffeine a day, men who consumed 85 to 170 milligrams of caffeine a day were 42 percent less likely to report erectile dysfunction, and those who consumed 171 to 303 milligrams of caffeine a day were 39 percent less likely to report the condition. The bottom line: two to three cups of coffee a day should do the trick.

Turning Stress Into A Good Thing

May 21, 2015 8:41 am 0 comments

Nervous about imagesa major presentation? Good. Embrace the excitement. You’ll have more fun and you’ll give a better performance. That’s the conclusion of professors at Harvard Business School, who, experimenting with 140 presenters, told some to calm down and others to get excited about the opportunity. The Wall Street Journal reports that “the participants who had told themselves “I am excited” felt better able to handle the pressure and were more confident of their ability to give a good talk. Not only that, but observers who rated the talks found the excited speakers more persuasive, confident and competent than the participants who had tried to calm down. With this one change in mind-set, the speakers had transformed their anxiety into energy that helped them to perform under pressure.” Wait, there’s more. The Journal cites a University of Rochester study in which researchers measured the stress levels and the performance of 60 students taking the Graduate Record Examination. Half of the students were given a pep talk, and told that stress has been shown to improve students’ performance on such tests. Did it work? The envelope please…. the researchers found that students who received the pep talk scored higher on the practice exam than those in the control group.

American Fitness Index Names Washington DC Number One

May 20, 2015 7:43 am 0 comments

First, the winners: The imgresWashington DC. metro area, Minneapolis -St. Paul, San Diego, San Francisco, and Sacramento, to name the top five. The entire list can be found here. Next, who are these people who attempt to rate the fitness of cities, and how do they do it? The ratings, which look at the 50 largest cities in the United States, are sponsored by the the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and they claim to reflect “a composite of personal health measures, preventive health behaviors, levels of chronic disease conditions, as well as environmental and community resources and policies that support physical activity. .. Communities with the highest AFI scores are considered to have strong community fitness, a concept analogous to individuals having strong personal fitness.” And the losers are ….Indianapolis, Memphis, and Oklahoma City.

Another Troublesome Thing About Testosterone

May 19, 2015 8:02 am 1 comment

First, we learned that low testoMen runningsterone can make us nicer people, or at least nicer male people. Now it looks like it can also spare us the frustration of prostate enlargement. Maybe. Researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara are convinced that an overabundance of testosterone may be the dark force behind enlarged prostates. A UC Santa Barbara news release points out that benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) — or, simply, prostate enlargement — is one of the most common diseases of aging among men in the United States. In fact, by the time they hit 80 or above, more than 90 percent of all men in the U.S. experience some degree of prostate enlargement, and 40 percent of those men require medical treatment. Yes, it’s a problem. The UC researchers reached their conclusion after comparing the rate of enlarged prostates among men in industrialized societies (us) to the rate among the Tsimane, an isolated indigenous population in central Bolivia, known to have very relatively low levels of testosterone–30 percent lower than US males. The envelope please….Among the Tsimane, the researchers found almost no cases of enlarged prostates. Too big a leap? Maybe, until we know more, the researchers advise rethinking testosterone replacement therapy.

Exercise and Irregular Heartbeats: Yes and No

May 18, 2015 11:25 am 2 comments

imagesIs it safe to exercise if you experience atrial fibrillation, commonly known as irregular heartbeat? The short answer, according to researchers at the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute, is probably, but it depends on the type of atrial fibrillation and the intensity of the exercise. HealthDay reports that after reviewing 14 studies involving 380,000 people with atrial fibrillation, the researchers are persuaded that moderate and vigorous levels of exercise are safe for women with atrial fibrillation but vigorous exercise may be risky for men. They also found that exercise reduced the likelihood of episodes of irregular heartbeat. For women, the risk of an atrial fibrillation episode was reduced by 24 percent by regular moderate exercise, and by 15 percent with vigorous exercise. For men, moderate exercise reduced the risk of an atrial fibrillation episode by 19 percent, but vigorous exercise raised the risk by 90 percent. Strange. But true.

Advice for Runners With Allergies

May 15, 2015 9:00 am 0 comments

imagesItchy eyes and sniffles no doubt seem insignificant to someone who’s pushing her body to run 26 miles, but researchers at Northumbria University are convinced that it’s a mistake for marathoners to ignore such symptoms. Why? Because, they warn, allergies that manifest themselves in itchy eyes and runny noses can lead to exercise induced asthma and inflammations of the airways. ScienceDaily reports on research involving 150 runners in the London marathon, 61 percent of whom reported nose and eye allergy symptoms. Blood tests revealed that 35 percent of those runners were suffering from an allergy and 14 percent were allergic to tree pollen. Only 8 percent were taking allergy medication. That, the researchers say, is a disturbingly low number. For runners who suspect that they have allergies, the researchers have the following advice:

  • Consider using a corticosteroid nasal spray or a non-sedating antihistamine as a preventative measure. But be aware that it can take up to two weeks for the treatment to work fully (and avoid taking non-sedating antihistamines around competitions).
  • Know your training and competition environment. Find out about typical pollen counts for the location and time of year. Tree pollen for example is usually released in the spring, grass pollen in late spring and early summer, and weed pollens in late summer into autumn.
  • Try to minimize exposure to pollens by running when the pollen count is low (cooler and cloudy days are associated with lower pollen counts compared to warmer, drier days). Shower and wash your hair after outside exercise to get rid of residual pollen. Change your clothing and rinse your nose with salt-water washes after exercise.
  • Remember that asthmatic athletes take medication regularly and according to instruction. Talk to your GP about whether you might need additional medication or to change your medication if you are training or competing in high pollen or in polluted environments.

Read more in ScienceDaily.

Hand Grip Strength Predicts Heart Risk

May 14, 2015 7:58 am 0 comments

Do you really want to know if you’re a candidate for a heart attack? Researchers at McMaster University suggest periodicallyimgres testing your hand-grip strength, keeping an eye out for any significant dip. HealthDay reports that the researchers tested the hand-grip strength of 140,000 people between the ages of 35 and 70, then followed up with more tests and a general health assessment for an average of four years. The envelope please….The researchers found that every 11-pound decrease in grip strength was associated with a 16 percent increased risk of death from any cause. Wait, there’s more: Each decrease was also tied to a 17 percent raised risk of heart-related death or death from non-heart causes. And, every 11-pound drop in grip strength was also associated with a 9 percent increased risk of stroke and a 7 percent higher risk of heart attack.

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