SportsGeezer’s Best-Read Stories of 2010

November 28, 2010 5:02 am 0 comments

1. Men: Regular Sex Cuts Heart Risks in Half

Every so often, research results at some reputable institute suggest that there is a god. First, it was the widely appreciated benefits of red wine.  Now, from the New England Research Institute, comes evidence that regular sex is good for your heart, at least if you’re a man. The researchers, who followed more than 1,100 men for more than 16 years, found that men who had sex twice a week were as much as 45 percent less likely to suffer a dangerous cardiovascular event than those who had sex once a month or less.Read an abstract of their research in the American Journal of Cardiology.

 

2. Ten Risk Factors That Cause 9 Out of 10 Strokes

OK, the risks per se are not going to surprise many readers, but the realization that nine out of ten strokes may be avoidable may persuade a few readers to change their behavior. The Lancet publishes the findings of a study conducted by INTERSTROKE, which concluded that ten easily measurable and modifiable risk factors could explain over 90 per cent of the risk of a heart attack globally and in all regions and major ethnic groups of the world. And the winning risks are: history of hypertension, smoking, waist to hip ratio, diet, lack of exercise, diabetes, alcohol, stress, depression, and a history of heart problems.

Read more in the Lancet.

 

3. Five Tips to Avoid Hip or Knee Replacement

For readers who need them, here, from the New York Times, are two reasons you don’t want to have hips or knees replaced: 1. It’s expensive. The cost of a new hip or knee is $30,000 to $40,000, and while insurance covers most of that, your out-of-pocket costs may be $3,000 to $4,000. 2. It hurts.

In this piece in the Times, Dr. David Felson, a rheumatologist and arthritis prevention specialist at Boston University School of Medicine, offers five tips to saving the hips and knees you were born with.

1.CONTROL YOUR WEIGHT The more you weigh, the more pressure on your joints, which can lead to joint damage.

2.GO LOW-IMPACT Although there is no definitive link between osteoarthritis of the knee and running (or any other sport), sports medicine doctors discourage their patients from running on hard pavement, playing tennis on concrete or activities like skiing over lots of moguls.

3.AVOID INJURY  Major injuries, typically the type that require surgery, greatly increase your risk for osteoarthritis.

4.GET FIT The better toned your muscles are, the less likely you are to injure yourself .

5.BE SKEPTICAL Don’t waste your money on specialized nutrients. Shark cartilage, glucosamine and chondroitin — popular supplements marketed for healthy joints — can be expensive and are of limited benefit.

Read more in the New York Times.

 

4. Finally: How Vitamin D Works

For years, scientists have been asking two big questions about vitamin D: Is there anything it isn’t good for?  and How does it work? Now, it seems, one of those questions has been answered, kind of. The Scientific American reports that researchers at the University of Copenhagen have learned that in order for T cells to do their magic in the immune system, they must change from so-called “naive” T cells into either killer cells or helper cells. It turns out, the Danish scientists learned, that if vitamin D is in short supply, that transition doesn’t happen. Why would the body make it hard to jump start its immune system? Sciam reports that while the vitamin requirement might seem like a handicap, the extra step might actually be a live saver: keeping T cells from ravaging healthy tissue.

Read more in the Scientific American.

 

5. Why Exercise Will Not Take the Pounds Off, And What Will

Exercise alone, the New York Times quotes one health expert saying, “is pretty useless for weight loss.” One reason for that is the likelihood that people who exercise will end up eating more calories. The mathematics of weight loss, the Times tells us, is quite simple, involving only subtraction. Take in fewer calories than you burn, put yourself in negative energy balance, and you will lose weight. The deficit in calories can result from cutting back your food intake or from increasing your energy output — the amount of exercise you complete — or both.

Read more in the New York Times.

 

6. Rye Bread More Healthful Than Whole Wheat

In addition to tasting better (or tasting like anything at all) than whole wheat bread, rye bread is better for you. That news comes from Lund University in Sweden, where researchers measured insulin and blood sugar levels in people who ate rye bread and porridge for breakfast and in those who ate porridge and bread made with wheat. The big difference? Those who ate rye had a much more “stable blood sugar curve.” AlphaGalileo reports that the researchers also found that people who ate boiled rye kernels for breakfast were fuller and ate 16 percent fewer calories for lunch.

Read more from AlphaGalileo.

7. 10 Worst Fast Foods, from Men’s Health

Men’s Health, a veritable monthly book of lists, entertains us with its annual presentation of the 10 worst fast foods that fast money can buy, as well as a more healthful alternative for each listing. Presented in no particular order, the list includes:

Domino’s Chicken Carbonara Breadbowl Pasta

KFC Half Spicey Crispy Chicken Meal with Macaroni and Cheese

Burger King Large Triple Whopper with Cheese Value Meal

and much much more.

 

 

8. For Heart Health, Try Orgasms First, Chocolate Second

Instead of doing the Chocolate is Good For Your Heart thing that seems irresistible to health writers at this time of year, Geezer chooses to point out the health benefits of something that is more fun, and yes, less expensive:orgasms. The Los Angeles Times has two things to say about that. First there is some evidence that DHEA, a hormone released into the bloodstream during arousal and orgasm, helps keeps arteries clear and hearts strong, and second, a 10-year study of Welsh men found that those who had two or more orgasms per week had half the risk of dying compared with their less sexually active neighbors.

Read more in the Los Angeles Times

9. Fish Oil Slows Aging

Loyal readers no doubt recall that telomeres, the strings of repeating DNA sequences at the end of chromosomes, are a surpringly reliable measure of aging. The shorter your telomeres, Geezer regrets to inform you, the sooner you will die. Hence, it makes good sense to find a way to keep telomeres long, and as it hapMackerelpens, scientists at the University of San Francisco have done just that. Science News
reports that researchers there recorded telomere length in white blood cells of 608 people with heart disease and an average age in their mid-60sThe researchers also noted how much omega-3 fatty acid was in the bloodstream of each participant. Science News reports that although some people had higher omega-3 levels than others at the outset, telomere length wasn’t markedly different, but after five years, those who started out with higher levels of omega-3s had substantially less telomere shortening than the others. Skeptical? Read an abstract from the study in JAMA.

Read more about it in Science News.

 

10. Blood Pressure Drugs May Be Best Taken at Night

When it comes to taking blood pressure meds, it may be better to be night person than a morning person. HealthDay reports that researchers at the bioengineering and chronobiology laboratories at the University of Vigo, Spain randomly assigned 2,156 men and women with high blood pressure (average age 56) to one of two treatment groups. One group took their blood-pressure medications at bedtime, and the other took it in the morning. The researchers monitored the volunteers’ blood pressure at 20- and 30-minute intervals, depending on time of day, for 48 hours at least once a year for five years. They found that, of those who took at least one of their blood-pressure pills at night, 62 percent had controlled blood pressure over the 24-hour period, compared to 53 percent of those who took all their pills in the morning. Wait, there’s more: Those who routinely took at least one of their blood-pressure medicines at night experienced only one-third of the cardiovascular events — including angina, stroke and heart attack — as the morning people.

Read more in HealthDay.

 

Leave a Reply


Recent Posts

  • Fitness Pain More Exercise = More Tolerance For Pain

    More Exercise = More Tolerance For Pain

    It’s not news, as Gretchen Reynolds writes in the New York Times, that our tolerance for pain increases when we exercise–and she means at the time we exercise. Everyone knows that. But it is news, as she reports, that exercise has been shown to increase our tolerance for pain in the long term. Reynolds directs our attention to a study done at University of New South Wales and Neuroscience Research Australia and published in Medicine & Science in Sports & […]

    Read more →
  • Fitness Pain Running For Fitness: Stop At 30 Miles Per Week

    Running For Fitness: Stop At 30 Miles Per Week

    OK, the first thing to consider is that this study was done with heart-attack survivors. The second thing to know is there are plenty of studies that contradict its findings. What ev, here we go. Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and at Hartford Hospital studied the relationship between exercise and cardiovascular disease-related deaths in about 2,400 physically active heart-attack survivors, using the National Walkers’ and Runners’ Health Studies databases. What did they find? A reduction of cardiovascular events of up to […]

    Read more →
  • Pain Women's Health How To Brush Your Teeth: Nobody Really Knows

    How To Brush Your Teeth: Nobody Really Knows

    Looking for some advice on how to brush your teeth? The more people you ask, the more different answers you are likely to get. That’s what researchers at University College in London learned when they looked at the brushing advice given by dental associations across ten countries, toothpaste and toothbrush companies and in dental textbooks. The research revealed what is described as “no clear consensus between the various sources, and a worrying lack of agreement between advice from dental associations […]

    Read more →
  • Gear How To Buy Running Shoes: An Authoritative Guide

    How To Buy Running Shoes: An Authoritative Guide

    How hard is it to buy running shoes? Slightly less hard than buying craft beer is these days, but only slightly. Fortunately, runners have the American College of Sports Medicine to turn to for advice, lots of advice. Look, here’s some now: The college recommends that a running shoe have “minimal heel-to-toe drop: This drop is the difference in the thickness of the heel cushion to the thickness in the forefoot cushion area. Shoes with no drop or a small […]

    Read more →
  • Fitness Pain Sex Cycling May Increase Prostate Cancer Risk. Or Not.

    Cycling May Increase Prostate Cancer Risk. Or Not.

    That’s right. Cycling may increase the risk of prostate cancer. Or, it may not. How helpful is that knowledge, which comes from a study at University College in London, where researchers took a hard look at the cycling habits and health of more than 5,000 male cyclists? The good news: the study appeared to disprove the suggestions of some research that cycling increases the risk of impotence and infertility. The possibly bad news: the men who biked the most, more […]

    Read more →
  • Pain Shin Splints. Funny Name, But Not Fun

    Shin Splints. Funny Name, But Not Fun

    Shin splints sound like the kind of thing that might be amusing, at least until you learn that their technical name is medial tibial stress syndrome. Ouch! That hurts, and shin splints can hurt for a long time, up to six months, according to this piece in the Los Angeles Times.  The Times tell us that the “stress” in “medial tibial stress syndrome” is exerted on the soft tissue surrounding the tibia, and that tissue becomes inflamed. What causes them? […]

    Read more →
  • Attitude Pain Men Would Rather Hurt Themselves Than Be Alone With Their Thoughts

    Men Would Rather Hurt Themselves Than Be Alone With Their Thoughts

    Apparently, it really does hurt to think. And researchers at the University of Virginia and Harvard have demonstrated just how much it can hurt, in a series of experiments that asked people to sit alone with their thoughts. A UVA news release reports that the researchers found that study participants did not enjoy spending even brief periods of time alone in a room with nothing to do but think, ponder or daydream. Most preferred listening to music or using a […]

    Read more →
  • Attitude Pain Another Medical Thing You Don’t Really Need: A Pelvic Exam

    Another Medical Thing You Don’t Really Need: A Pelvic Exam

    We are moving, slowly, toward the day when evidenced-based medicine is more than a buzzword. The latest victim of efforts to distinguish medical practices that actually do something good from those that just cost money and cause pain is the pelvic exam, declared unnecessary in guidelines issued last week by the American College of Physicians. The Wall Street Journal reports that the College examined research published from 1946 to 2014 that studied the effectiveness of the pelvic exam, and found […]

    Read more →